Al's Australia Trip – A Question of Perspective (Part Three)

Al's Australia Trip – A Question of Perspective (Part Three)

Alasdair Spinner, one of our Senior Recruitment Consultants, is currently travelling across Australia meeting with healthcare providers around the country. He’s writing a series of blogs detailing his journey, sharing his experience, knowledge, and useful insights into how to achieve the dream of living and working as a Doctor in this fantastic destination.

Time: 0552
Location: Departure Lounge, Townsville Airport, Queensland

I’m in Townsville, which is in the tropical coastal region of Queensland. I have visited healthcare providers in Adelaide, Sydney, the NSW Central Coast, Noosa in QLD, Gladstone, Rockhampton and Mackay. I’ll be on board a flight to Mount Isa soon. Mount Isa is a town close to the western border of the state. The flight there takes one hour and forty minutes, and I’ll still be in Queensland – but very close to the Northern Territory – when I land. 

Next to my gate, subdued workers are boarding a flight to the Cannington Mine airstrip at the end of their FIFO shift.

Communicating a sense of the scale of distance between communities in Australia – including changes in culture and lifestyle – is very important when discussing job opportunities to IMGs (international medical graduates). Even after living here, I still find some of the distances and remoter parts of Australia mind boggling. The changes in mind set and characteristics of people can be subtle and they can also be obvious. The charms and joys of regional areas can be as attractive as the major metropolitan cities with doctors rewarded in many ways and not just with extremely lucrative salaries.

Mount Isa is one of the more remote locations we have recruited Consultants to. One of my meetings today will be with an Emergency Medicine Doctor from the UK who my colleague Caroline sourced for the hospital.

Other remote destinations we have placed Consultants in include Katherine (8 hour drive from Darwin) in the Northern Territory, and Kalgoorlie (2 hour flight from Perth) in Western Australia. People who have not travelled to Australia before can often struggle to picture the distances involved. One doctor in the UK told me he had plenty of experience working in very rural areas – it took him 20 minutes to drive there from their metropolitan home. When I discussed an 8 hour drive to a referral hospital in Australia, there was a stunned silence on the end of the phone. Consider this: Darwin is closer to Jakarta then it is to Canberra. It takes 5 hours to fly to Sydney from Perth.

I drove from the Gold Coast all the way up to Townsville. Mackay to Townsville took 4 hours in itself. The petrol station coolers are full of iced coffee drinks. Audiobooks in CD format still sell well as impromptu purchases as drivers realise they are more tired than they thought. I once knew a radio DJ in the late 1990s who hosted an all-night show in Sydney, funded by the government, whose sole purpose was to keep truck drivers awake all night to prevent them crashing into expensive civil infrastructure on their long drives. She did this by playing cheesy classic rock and holding phone in trivia quizzes.

Thankfully, since the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and the mining boom, domestic air travel and airport upgrades have transformed how people travel in Australia (and internationally) for fun and work. Whilst not as cheap as your budget airlines in the UK, flights are affordable and very convenient. I only drove to Townsville as I was stopping off in a lot of hospitals on the way.

Read Part One – Working in Australia

Read Part Two – The Important Stuff

If you’re interested in working overseas, why not take a look at our Doctor's Guides. Alternatively, you can search all of our current job opportunities.

For further information on Consultant opportunities in Australia, contact Eunan O’Brien on +44 (0)131 240 5271 /, or Caroline O'Hagan on +44 (0)131 240 5252 /

For further information on GP opportunities in Australia, contact Vicki McLaren on +44 (0)131 240 5263 or email

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