It takes courage to set off across Australia solo, as one of the Blugibbon locums can attest to.
Dr Nathaniel took his adventure seriously and invested in a solid vehicle before setting off, a 2010 Toyota LandCruiser Prado complete with a rooftop tent to keep you away from the elements and comfy.
Although technically a seven-seater, this one has five with drawers and places to keep all his equipment and utensils and even cooking facilities powered by a dual battery (the second battery charged by solar).
One battery runs the car, the other for all the electronics, such as the fridge.
The beauty of the car is that technically any bush mechanic can fix it and Toyota’s are of course known for their reliability and have relatively good access to parts.
However, just to keep the car on the road it did cost $14,000 for the year! This was not helped by the clutch giving up at one unexpected stage and the alternator taking its last breath on a 10-hour drive, limping into Broome.
Forgetting these mishaps, and previously being minimally mechanically minded before the trip, there were some memorable moments such as crossing a one metre deep El Questro River in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.
Overall the trip took in starting in Brisbane with a dry season in Far North Queensland, spending the Aussie winter in the Northern Territory, the Spring and Autumn in Northern Western Australian and summer down in the southern part of the state.
Planning the trip was all about the weather, avoiding the wet season(s) and the build-up to it. The humidity in some areas at these times is intense.
While on the Larapinta Trail in Alice Springs, Nathaniel did not realise his sleeping mat was cut on a rock and the sleeping bag was not as warm as it could have been.
The howling of dingos and scuttling of mice keep Nathaniel firmly awake!
Even having a mouse join him in the sleeping bag. Despite this, the sunrise on the trail was superb, unforgettable in fact.
Nathaniel’s top three spots were a canoe trip through Katherine Gorge, a visit to the Litchfield and Kakadu National Parks and Exmouth in North West Western Australia (this can however get incredibly busy).
Thankfully COVID did not affect the trip at all, and getting locums was easy. Once he knew he was heading into town he got in touch with Blugibbon to arrange the next assignment.
Of these locum jobs, Katherine was the favourite. With interesting, good medicine, supportive teams, friendly Consultants, solid clinical support and strong communication with Royal Darwin Hospital.
Not only was the locum a good experience, Nathaniel met some cool people there too.
If he could do something different next time, he would make sure he had two spare tires on the car!
Also missing the Gibb River Road between Derby and Kununurra and making sure he had a hard-shell rooftop tent.
Are you looking to head off in a four-wheel drive and pick up locum work along the way? Get in touch with the Blugibbon team on 02 8960 6445 or email [email protected] to plan your trip today.