Whistle Stop Tour of New Zealand and Australia - part one

Whistle Stop Tour of New Zealand and Australia - part one

Two members of our GP Team have just returned home after a trip around New Zealand and Australia meeting our clients and catching up with our candidates, developing their knowledge of the locations they work in and the current concerns of the local healthcare systems. Debbie will be sharing their journey over the next couple of weeks, so be sure to keep an eye on our blog. Here is part one of the Whistle Stop Tour.


Our Whistle Stop Tour started at Edinburgh Airport on a grim Thursday at 6 am. The journey to New Zealand took us (Debbie and Nicky) 32 hours with a flight route from Edinburgh to Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi to Perth in Australia and then Perth to their final destination of Auckland.

Landing at 6 am Saturday 12th April, we had the weekend to recover from jet lag and explore Auckland before embarking on a jam-packed schedule travelling south through Tauranga, Rotorua, Taupo, Napier, Hawkes Bay, Hastings and finishing up in Christchurch.


Standing at the carousel waiting for my suitcase, I couldn’t believe I had actually been traveling continuously for 32 hours, been on three planes, officially been in two other countries and was now finally here in New Zealand.

I didn’t feel remotely tired and after a few hours rest in my hotel, I was ready to get exploring.

Auckland was busy with people and traffic as we headed down to the marina. The sun was shining and the city was glistening as we walked. The marina is very well equipped for the good weather with outside seating areas at the many bars and restaurants. Being a typical red head with fair skin, I was delighted to see that the businesses promote the use of sunscreen if you are sitting outside and even have sunscreen available if you need it. Now that’s customer service.

Debbie in Auckland

There is a really fun, family feel around this area. As we walked along Auckland Central, the walkway was busy with families out for the day on their bikes and scooters enjoying the sunshine. We passed a play park where families were happily playing in the sand and paddling pool. There was a small food festival further along which led to a local market rich in hand crafted delights. It was my first experience of New Zealand and I was very impressed.

Auckland Skytower

That evening we went to the Skytower which has stood tall in the Auckland skyline for the past 19 years. With a number of resturants, bars and a casino, this is a landmark that is worth seeing.

With Sunday being our only real free day, we decided to take the boat to Waiheke Island.

Waiheke Island is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. With a population of over 8,000 residents this island is definely a must see. With over 20 vineyards to visit, breathtaking beaches and a wide range of outdoor activities for all the family, it’s easy to see why it was voted the fifth best destination in the world to visit in 2016 by Lonely Planet. I could feel that I was starting to fall in love with New Zealand.

Waiheke Island

Day One

After a wonderful two days exploring Auckland, it was now time to get my work focus on. After picking up our hire car, we were off to meet with a client I have been working with. Over the years they have worked for some of the largest PHOs (Primary Health Organisations) in New Zealand. It was great to get some expert insight into the New Zealand medical system and also to hear what requirements they have and how we are going to play a key part in their recruitment.

From there it was a short drive to see a client who is in contact with our Consultant team. We had the pleasure of being given a guided tour round their flagship premises and hearing about how they wish to expand their staff base.

Then we bid fair well to Auckland and drove south to see a clinic in a semi-rural location. It was lovely to see the contrast from a large flagship city clinic to a community practice. The practice had a warm, friendly feel about it and we got to see how they cater for general practice needs of the community while also running a minor injuries and emergency facility on site.

It was then back in the car where our travels took us on a two hour drive down the main Highway 2 to Tauranga. It feels effortless to drive in New Zealand. The roads are very well maintained and don’t have the volume of traffic I’m used to here in the UK. The rolling landscape we drove through reminded me of driving in the highlands of Scotland.

On arrival in Tauranga, we made a quick visit to one of the clients I’ve been working with who was also going to join us for dinner that evening. It was then a short drive to our hotel to get checked in and freshened up and then off to dinner.

We met at a lovely little Italian restaurant by the waterfront. We were joined by my client and one of the GPs I had recently placed in Tauranga. It was lovely to spend an evening hearing how life had been so far for him and his family after making the move from Sweden. It was so great to hear how he has made the transition from one healthcare system to another. He had come from working to 30 minute appointments back home in Sweden and was now working to 15 minute appointments here in New Zealand. It was great to hear how the practice has been supporting him and he told us some of the ideas he was keen to implement to help the practice run more smoothly. We talked about how he and his family had settled into the New Zealand way of life and all the places they had visited in the short time since they had arrived.

All in all, it had been a fantastic first day.

Day Two

It was another early start for us as we wanted to see some of Tauranga before we started our meetings and travels for the day.

Mount Manganui

We made the short drive over to Mount Manganui and the scenery was stunning. It was a beautiful sunny morning, busy with all walks of life. From mums out walking with their children, to joggers getting their exercise in before the day starts, to the more mature generation who were enjoying a leisurely stroll along this gorgeous beach while chatting away as they walked. The place had a really relaxed, friendly feel to it and I only wished that we had more time to enjoy it.

Mount Manganui

From there it was back in the car and off to our first meeting of the day. We went to the local hospital to meet with another client for our colleagues in the Consultant team. Then we bid farewell to Tauranga. Next stop…. Rotorua!

Read part two of Nicky and Debbie's Whistle Stop Tour.


If you would like further information on GP opportunities in New Zealand, contact Debbie Kirk on +44 (0)131 240 5279 or email debbiek@headmedical.com.

If you would like further information on Consultant opportunities in New Zealand, contact Laura Sanders on +44 (0)131 240 5265 or email lauras@headmedical.com.

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