Across Australia there are 11 training regions, managed by nine Regional Training Organisations that deliver the AGPT program on behalf of the Commonwealth Government. NTGPE delivers a diverse range of GP training opportunities across the Northern Territory; see the profiles below to get a better understanding of what it’s like to live and work in each of the distinct regions of the NT.
- Darwin and surrounds
Darwin is well set up for young families who enjoy the outdoors and tropical lifestyle. This beautiful city has a median age of 37 and 20 percent of the population are aged under 14. Water parks, playgrounds, Asian-style markets and outdoor entertainment are a priority for this friendly, easy-going community. Darwin is closer to Asia than any other Australian capital city, so there is a distinct South-East Asian influence on this peaceful, tropical city.
Darwin is the capital city of the Northern Territory and home to about 130,000 people. It has all the facilities you would expect in a city: shopping centres, bars, cafés, libraries, public and private schools, international airport, private and public hospitals and its own university.
Food is a big deal in Darwin, particularly market food of the Asian variety, which is served up at various markets that run throughout the year. Prepare your tastebuds because eating excellent Asian food is a coveted part of Darwin culture.
Sport plays a big part in the lives of Darwinites, particularly AFL, fishing, netball, bike riding, soccer, running, rugby and bush walking.
The Larrakia people are the traditional owners of the Darwin region, which runs from Cox Peninsula in the west to Gunn Point in the north, Adelaide River in the east and Manton Dam in the south.
Darwin and surrounding towns have a tropical climate with two seasons: the wet season (November-April) and dry season (May-October). During the wet season it’s very humid with heavy monsoonal rainfall, and an average temperature of 32°C.
In the dry season the humidity level drops but the day time temperatures don’t change a great deal. The nights are cooler, with temperatures dropping to around 16°C.
Health facilities and MMM ranking
There are lots of health centres in Darwin that offer a diverse mix of Aboriginal health services and mainstream GP clinics. Darwin is classified as MMM2 in the Monash Modified Model as an indicator of remoteness.
Outside of Darwin, health facilities become more geared to Aboriginal health and they increase in their MMM ranking from 5-7 (7 being the highest classification of remoteness).
- Katherine region
Katherine and the surrounding regions are ruggedly beautiful. Traditionally owned by the Jawoyn, Dagoman and Wardaman people, this region has beautiful gorges, waterfalls and thermal springs, and sits on the edge of famous Kakadu National Park. If you’re into adventuring among nature, you will love Katherine.
Built on the Katherine River, Katherine town is home to about around 10,000 people and services a region of just over 24,000 people.
Katherine is about three hours’ drive south from Darwin and is well equipped as a regional town with shopping centres, supermarkets, sporting grounds, airport, gyms, restaurants, banks, primary schools, a high school and a university campus.
Katherine has a strong sense of community and impressive arts culture led by Godinymayin Yijard Rivers Arts and Culture Centre. Market gardening is popular and so is bushwalking and camping in the vast bushland and national parks. Sport clubs play a big role in people’s extra-curricular activities and their social connections. The Barunga festival is very popular as is the Katherine Show. The median age is 35 and is a popular place to live with young families.
The tropical seasons mean it’s very hot and humid in the wet season and it’s normal for temperatures to get into the 40s (November–April). Humidity drops in the cooler months from May–August). Year round, the temperature doesn’t get below 30°C during the day, but the nights can drop to a minimum of around 15°C at its coolest.
Rain in the wet season can mean that towns in the Katherine region get cut off by road. Ngukurr, Urapunga and Minyerri can be isolated for up to a month and Wugularr and Jilkminggan are regularly flooded. Light aircraft is used to access these places if needed when water levels are high.
Health services and MMM ranking
Katherine town offers a mix of mainstream GP and Aboriginal health services as well as the Katherine Regional Hospital. Katherine town is classified MMM6 in the Monash Modified Model as an indicator of remoteness. Surrounding towns like Ngukuur, Urapunga, Jilkminggan, Minyerri, Timber Creek and Lajamanu are classified MMM7 (the highest possible classification of remoteness).
- Arnhem Land
To say Arnhem Land is stunning doesn’t even begin to describe this truly unique part of the world. Famous Australia-wide as a prime fishing destination, Arnhem Land boats some of the most pristine coastlines in the country.
There are two ways to get to Nhulunbuy, the central hub in Arnhem Land. By road (only accessible in the dry season by a 700km 4WD track from Jabiru) and by air from Darwin. There is a barge that leaves from Darwin twice weekly, but this is for cargo only.
This very social town that was originally set up in the 1960s to service a bauxite mine and is home to just over 3000 people. The refinery is closed these days, but Nhulunbuy still offers many services: schools (primary and high), swimming pools, sports clubs, airport, hospital, library, supermarket, pharmacy, banks and hairdresser.
Nhulunbuy is surrounded by about 100,000 square kilometres of unspoilt wilderness with rugged coastlines, remote islands, rivers teeming with fish, rainforest and savannah woodland. Wildlife thrives throughout East and West Arnhem where you can find all sorts of saltwater aquatic life like crocodiles, turtles and dugong.
Set where the Gulf of Carpentaria meets the Arafura Sea, the climate is tropical, with two distinct seasons: the wet (November–April) and the dry (May–October). As with most of the Top End, the average daytime temperate will not drop below 30°C year-round, and the coolest nights will be in the mid-teens (June). There is lots of monsoonal rain from December to April and cooling sea breezes all year round.
The Yolngu people are the traditional owners of this region and are one of the largest Indigenous groups in Australia. Yolngu are renowned for strong connection to culture and speak Yolngu-Matha as the primary language. This region is famous for Aboriginal bark paintings, ancient rock art and the didgeridoo.
Health facilities and MMM ranking
Nhulunbuy and surrounding towns like Yirrkala and Alyangula are all classified as MMM7 in the Monash Modified Model as an indicator of remoteness (7 being the highest classification of remoteness). In Nhulunbuy there is a mix of mainstream GP services and Aboriginal health services, as well asthe Gove Regional Hospital. Outside of Nhulunbuy, all services specialise in Aboriginal health delivery, which are all classified MMM7.
- Barkly region
The Barkly region is classic Aussie outback country – dry, red, dusty and ruggedly beautiful. It’s known as the Golden Heart of the NT and hosts an intriguing mix of ancient Aboriginal culture, cattle stations and mining.
The Barkly’s biggest town is Tennant Creek which is 500km north of Alice Springs and 990km south of Darwin. The population of Tennant is 3500 people, but services a huge area of more than 300,000 square kilometres.
You can expect the usual facilities of an established outback town, such as a primary and high school, banks, shopping strip, supermarket, post office, petrol stations, pubs and clubs, restaurants, gymnasium, sports grounds, library, airport and a swimming pool.
The traditional owners of the area surrounding Tennant Creek are the Warumungu people who speak lots of different languages (Warumungu, Warlmanpa, Warlpiri, Jingulu, Garawa, Mudburra, Kaytetye, Alyawarr, Anmatyerr and Wambaya). English is frequently a third or even fourth language.
December to April are the Barkly’s hot months and temperatures can get up into the 40s during the day and mid 20s at night. From May to November things do cool down, dropping to the mid-20s in the day and early teens at night. It’s rainy from October to March, but being on the border of arid country, there is less rain in the Barkly than in the Top End.
Barkly has a rich pastoral history and many community events are focussed around camp drafting, rodeos and family-friendly bush races. The arts scene in Tennant is thriving and coordinated through the Nyinkka Nyunyu Art & Culture Centre. Touch football, cricket, volleyball, netball, soccer, softball and basketball are all popular in Tennant and offer a social platform for people to connect. It’s a tight knit and friendly community.
Health services and MMM ranking
There is a small hospital in Tennant Creek, a mainstream GP practice and an Aboriginal health service that looks after Tennant Creek and the surrounding Barkly region. All Barkly health services are classified as MMM7 in the Monash Modified Model as an indicator of remoteness (7 being the most remote classification).
- Central Australian region
The Central Australian region is affectionately and aptly known as the Red Centre because it sits right in the centre of Australia and the desert soil is a vibrant hue of red.
Uluru, Kata Tjuta, Yulara and Alice Springs are the best-known parts of the Red Centre. Alice Springs, the largest town in the region, is nestled between the East and West MacDonnell Ranges and has about 28,000 residents.
Alice Springs services a huge area and accordingly has lots of facilities like primary and high schools, shopping centres, hospital, swimming pool, world-class cricket grounds, churches, cinema, university campus, golf course, youth centre, rugby, netball and football facilities, botanical gardens and a casino.
Alice Springs culture
It’s a great place to raise a family with primary and high schools to choose from. Sport plays an important part in people’s social lives. Surrounded by hundreds of kilometres of amazing national parks, walking, running, mountain biking and camping in the bush is a big part of how locals stay fit and pass the time.
People consistently say Alice Springs is a very social town where being open and friendly is normal. It’s a laid-back part of the world, where in 10 minutes you’re in the beautiful bush, leaving all of your stresses behind.
Arrernte people are the traditional owners of Central Australia including Alice Springs and the MacDonnell Ranges. Languages include Arrernte, Warlpiri, Amatjere, Alyawarra, Pitjanjatjara, Luritja and Pintupi. Aboriginal people in Central Australia are often speakers of one or more Aboriginal languages, and English as a second or third language.
Being a desert; hot and dry with brilliant blue skies during the day is the norm. During the hot months (November–March) temperatures can reach well into the 40s in the day and the 20s at night. In the colder months (June–September) temperatures drop significantly (0°C at night and 19°C during the day).
Health centres and MMM classification
There is a mix of mainstream GP clinics and Aboriginal health clinics in Alice Springs as well as the Alice Springs Hospital. Alice Springs is classified MMM6 in the Monash Modified Model as an indicator of remoteness. Outside of Alice Springs health centres are Aboriginal specific services and are classified MMM7 which is the most remote classification possible.