April 13, 2006

Second trip to Cairns

This weekend I took my second trip to Cairns – after the first was interrupted a little by Cyclone Larry! Sarah came up with me and we met up with Vicky, who is a friend from medical school doing her elective in Sydney. We stayed in a lovely apartment we had got a great last minute deal on.

We spent the first day exploring the town – showing Vicky the places and shops we liked from our last visit. Before ending the afternoon in this lovely tea shop we discovered – we all felt very English taking afternoon tea!

On the Saturday we took a tour up to Cape Tribulation; an area of outstanding beauty – where the Rainforest dates back 135 million years and is now a World Heritage Protected area. The weather held good for most of the day, enabling many photos to be taken from the various lookout points we visited. Lunch was provided at a lovely beach side resort – as usual it was delicious, so fresh and full of flavour. We were lucky enough to see a Cassowary, it stepped in front of the mini bus while we were driving along, and they are now extremely rare due to loss of habitat and being killed by cars on the roads. It is an amazing bird that really shows the sheltered evolutionary process that has taken place on Australia.

Later while cruising down the Daintree River, I saw a green tree frog, a python hiding in a tree, a large female salt-water crocodile and her much smaller infants.

We had afternoon tea by the river before returning to Cairns, the weather changed and closed in around us and we drove home in rain and thunder and lighting – which just made me appreciate the area so much more!

In the evening, after a dip in the hotel's swimming pool, we went and had a lovely meal and a couple of bottles of wine at a restaurant in town.

The next morning we again got up bright and early for our trip to the Reef! We had chosen a tour that left Cairns by minibus and drove south for about 40 min where we then got on our boat which cruised down the river before entering the open ocean, after about another 40min of sailing we arrived at one of the Islands in a group known as Frankland. We left the boat and were based on the Island for the day. Our group was only small, about 25 people and we had the Island to ourselves. There were guided walks, rock-pool tours, a trip in the semi-submersible as well as introduction to snorkelling. Though the most popular trip of the day was the 'toilet tour' a boat ride that took you back to the main ship to use the conveniences! The guy teaching the snorkelling look exactly like Dr Mark Greene off ER and he was amazing – I told him I had never snorkelled before and was unsure about swimming in open deep water, he said he would stick with me and help me all the way and we would only do what I was happy with and if this meant swimming in the shallows all day that would be fine. So with "Mark" and a floatation device in toe I took to the water – he laughed at my initial fear when he saw how easily I took to it. We went progressively into deeper water and he pointed out all the fish and sea creatures for me as we went along. It was so amazing – I can't wait to do it again now! It was a perfect day that is hard to describe, can't wait to show you the photos!

March 30, 2006


Thought I would take a moment to tell you about my placement (being as that is the real reason I am over here!).
The hospital I am based at is called the Royal Brisbane Children’s Hospital and is a short bus ride away from where I am staying. It is a modern hospital with the main building named after local big business' (as a good portion of the healthcare in Australia is private, closer to the USA than the UK, with a Medicare card system for the less-well-off).
The doctors I am working with have been kind enough to give me a lot of time off to go travelling and see what the east coast of Australia has to offer, when I have been in the hospital they have taken time to teach me and involve me in patients they are treating… in most cases they have been more approachable and supportive than the people I have worked with in the UK!
I am working mainly with a Registrar called David who is a paediatric gastroenterologist, an area of paeds that up to now has held no interest for me, however the patients I have seen and the knowledge I have acquired have made it quite a fascinating area (so much so the last few nights I have stayed up studying!).
Yesterday I put in a 12 hour shift (with no lunch break) and was able to assist in an operation to repair a young girl’s bowel, it was an amazing experience.
My time spent here has allowed me to confirm that I would like to peruse a career in paediatrics and my Registrar has given me helpful information in how to takes steps in this direction.
On that note the wards are calling so off to see some more patients!

My fourth week!

Had a lovely last few days in Sydney – weather was good so everywhere looked amazing bathed in a warm sunny glow! Spent some time on Manly beach – Cyclone Larry's effects were still being felt along the coast and the sea was in full swell; which meant no swimming for me but there was an upside in that it brought out all the local male surfers… so there was plenty to look at! Had a fish and chip lunch before catching the ferry over to Sydney, which took a picturesque route along the headlands and into the harbour… a trip that was once only possible by taking a day cruise but now can be done as many time you like in a day with a 7 pound ticket on the commuter ferry!
We ascended to the great height of Centre Point which gives panoramic views of the city.
Before flying out on Tuesday we spent a relaxed day strolling around Darling Harbour and Sydney Aquarium – where they have big underwater walkways. I decided that that was as close as I was going to get to any sharks or rays on my trip to oz!

March 25, 2006


After arriving back in Brisbane on Wednesday night and spending Thursday in the hospital it was time to leave again, this time we were going to Sydney! Got here late in the evening – Sydney is an hour ahead of Brisbane so was later than in actually felt – and we were met by Sarah's cousin. He is about our age and he drove us through Sydney and showed us the Opera House and Harbour Bridge on our way over to their house near Manley.
On Friday we took a bus into the city and met up with a friend called Vicky who is out here from Warwick doing her medical elective. She came with a lady called Jo who she had met while out here. Jo is from London but living out here for a year. The four of us went off to see what the city had to offer – this started with the Opera house, Circular Quay and Harbour Bridge before going up to an area called The Rocks which is the original site of the settlement of Sydney (now full of expensive restaurants and tourist themed shops). This area was made up of the oldest buildings in the city which looked positively youthful in comparison to 'old' buildings in the UK. We had lunch at The Rocks and then caught a ferry over to Taronga Zoo; we got to see the Opera House from the water with a beautiful backdrop of Sydney's business district. The zoo was fairly small, it was set up on a piece of land over looking Sydney’s harbour so there were lovely views to entertain when you had seen all the animals. After catching the ferry back we walked along Darlington Harbour to China Town where we ate dinner.
On Saturday Sarah's cousin became our tour guide and we did the beaches and look out points around Sydney and Manley by car – which meant that we got to see a lot. Even had time to squeeze in a quick trip up to Bondi beach… though it was a bit cold and blustery to be doing any swimming! Took many photos to show you all!
In the evening her cousin had got us tickets to go and see a comedian performing in Sydney's comedy season. He is a Scottish comedian called Danny Bhoy. I have not laughed so much in ages – he was filming he debut DVD so I may be famous!

March 23, 2006

Cyclone Larry

Hello! I am now back in Brisbane after an extended stay in Cairns due to the untimely visit of Cyclone Larry! Didn't get to go out to see the reef due to all the bad weather they cancelled the trips! Which is good in away as wouls have been a bit choppy I think!
Had to sit out the cat.5 cyclone in my appartment, watching all the debris fly passed my window! Cairns was lucky as it was not hit as badly as other places further down the coast – though the 200km/hr winds and torrential rain was enough for me! There was little structural damage around where I was staying, though many large trees had been uprooted and the streets were covered in debris! My flight was delayed by two days so only got back last night and am flying out to Sydney today for the weekend – came in the hospital today to show my face as I will be away till Wednesday now!
Sorry I have not e-mailed you all back, didn't have access to the internet in Cairns and only have a quick 10 min to write this today – will be intouch either when I am in Sydney or after I return!

March 13, 2006

My first week in Oz!

I am sitting down to write this after a busy day in the hospital – it's not all fun in the sun!
My first week here started with me in a bit of a daze. I was very jet-lagged till mid week and while in the hospital found it hard to recall anything but my name! Still attempted to work in the hospital on Monday and Tuesday – though had to admit defeat and was sent home at lunch both days! I decided it was probably a good idea to take Wednesday off and I went in to Brisbane to have a look around. It is a really nice city that sits on the river. It has a busy bustling laid back vibe and feels much calmer than if you where to compare it to a similar sized city in the UK. That is probably due to the continuous sunshine they have here….it would put a smile on anyone’s face!

I was feeling much better by Thursday and colour began to return to the world around me. I had a good day in the hospital and started meeting the patients on the wards. The Children's Hospital itself is modern and airy, with good air conditioning which I am pleased about as the outside temperature is too hot to work in! The people are friendly and willing to teach and also to give me time off to travel!

I took a long weekend and explored the area around Brisbane; I went to a local koala sanctuary – which is apparently 'The World's largest and ONLY Koala Sanctuary'! Hmmm… well it would be the largest then…. Anyway, was good saw loads of koalas, kangaroos and various birds and reptiles (including a taipan the worlds deadliest snake!).
"If you click on the link you can see a photo taken on the day": link

I also took a trip up the river and walked around the city. Things are much cheaper here about half the price of England, so don't have to feel too guilty if I partake in any retail-therapy!

I have lots more to write but it will have to wait for now as I have to get a bus in a few min! Will write again soon!


March 02, 2006

Passed exams!! Off to the other side of the WORLD!!

I passed both of my University exams so am now scarily on my way to becoming a real Doctor – eek!

Am currently trying to pack, which at the moment is quite a half-hearted effort…. so may take a while! I'm sure I can plan an eight week trip in one night though…. can't I?!?

Sarah is driving us down to her house in Surrey tomorrow and we go from there to Heathrow on Saturday. We fly first to Singapore (which takes 12hrs 40 min!!!) and then on to Brisbane (another 8hrs!!!) where we land at 7.30pm their time – so should be truely disorientated when it comes to what time/day it is!

I am now off to 'try' and finish packing – will write again when in Oz, speak to you all soon!

February 14, 2006

My first entry!

Have just created this blog with the aim of having somewhere to write down the things that happen to me on my trip to Oz in just over three weeks! I am going to Brisbane to do my medical elective in their childrens' hopstial.
I am trying to not count the days down just yet as I have two exams before I go – one the end of this week and the other two days before I fly out – and the slower they come the better!

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