Our patients are from the local area including Twizel, Mt Cook, Tekapo, Omarama and Kurow. Many of our patients travel a long way to attend their appointments and we are mindful that the timing of these visits is important for their return travel.
The local people are a mix of all ages from children to a large proportion of retired folk. Many people are financially independent but many struggle financially and we encourage those who are eligible to have Community Service Cards, High Use Cards or to enrol in the Care Plus Programme.
We attract thousands of visitors in the summer season, and increasingly in the winter season too. Many of our visitors have different needs and expectations to our local patients. They come from all over the world and many of them do not speak English.
Throughout the year, as well as the growing numbers of international visitors, we attract New Zealanders who come from all over the country to enjoy our mountains, lakes, cycleways, fishing and boating.
Lake Ruataniwha is an international rowing course that brings huge numbers to the area when there are rowing regattas such as Maadi Cup, and the South Island Rowing Championships.
Another attraction drawing large numbers of visitors is the Mackenzie's amazing night sky. In 2012, the 4300 square kilometre area was declared the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, with light pollution strictly controlled in the area. It is the only one of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, and one of only eight in the world.
Wintertime attracts those keen to enjoy our magnificent mountains. We have three ski fields on our back doorstep, all employing seasonal workers, and we have many seasonal workers employed at Aoraki Mt Cook.
As a rural community, our nearest hospital is Timaru Hospital, which is two and a half hours away. Dunedin Hospital is three hours away, and Christchurch Hospital is three and a half hours away. We have access to a rescue helicopter if the weather allows, and our helipad is available for helicopters to land right outside the back door.