Taking up a wide swathe near the bottom of the North Island, the Manawatu-Wanganui region encompasses stunning landscapes and breath-taking natural beauty. The region supports a variety of farming, forestry and alpine communities, and within this very scenic part of the country, many smaller districts are need of GP and locum medical professionals.
Stretching from east coast to west coast across the island the region takes in beaches and large towns while southern alluvial plains rise to volcanic plateaus and ski fields in the north. There are two major towns; Palmerston North, which is a farming hub and university town, and the slightly smaller, picturesque Wanganui sited near the mouth of the Whanganui River. The Whanganui River is the largest of three rivers in the area; the other two being the Manawatu and Rangitikei Rivers. Criss-crossing the region they offer plenty of recreational adventures such as swimming, white water rafting, jet boating, fly fishing, kayak safaris, and commercial bungee jumping.
The Whanganui River is navigable by larger boats, and river cruises in the warmer months on the ‘Waimarie’ a lovingly restored paddle steamer are extremely popular.
The upper reaches of the Whanganui River and its surrounding remote and rugged land falls under the protection of the Whanganui National Park. Steeped in Maori and early settler history, the park contains a notable destination in the enigmatic ‘Bridge to Nowhere’; a bridge surrounded by dense native bush with no roads on either side. The concrete bridge is all that remains of Mangapurua, an isolated settlement that was abandoned in 1942. Cyclists, hikers and intrepid photographers regularly traverse deep forest filled with bird-song and well maintained huts to reach the scenic bridge, which can also be accessed via river boat and a shorter day walk.
The largest park in the Manawatu-Wanganui region is the Tongariro National Park, which is also New Zealand’s oldest park and a dual world heritage area. The park is a place of cultural and spiritual significance to Maori and includes three active volcanoes; Mt Tongariro, Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Ruapehu. It is a both wild wilderness and recreational playground, with ski fields, spectacular walking and cycling tracks, alpine lakes and hot pools.
Other than spending a day on one of the many ski-slopes in the area, the most popular activity within the park is the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. The crossing is a 7-8 hour alpine traverse that takes in emerald lakes, lunar-like landscapes, alpine meadows, pumice screes and incredible mountain views. For slightly less intrepid trekkers there is also a number of shorter scenic hikes, including the very delightful two hour Taranaki Falls loop walk.
If cycling is more your speed then a must-do cycling adventure can be found within the Pureora Forest Park. The Timber Trail takes riders on a two-day journey through towering native trees, across rivers and over an impressive swing bridge. Further south, there are a number of track options (both cycling and walking) situated along the Manawatu Gorge, as well as the sensational Whareama Coastal Walk.
The Manawatu-Wanganui region offers a mind-boggling array of different outdoor activities to suit different desires and abilities. Talk to your Ochre Recruitment consultant about placement opportunities within the region, and then get ready for adventure!