Posted in August 2009
Grab yourself THE BEST EXPERIENCE IN THE WORLD in Queensland, Australia
By Emma Gregg, author of The Rough Guide to East Coast Australia

Lucky old Ben Southall. He's the chirpy Brit who landed the job of exploring the islands of Australia's Great Barrier Reef, and raving about them to a global audience. His title is Island Caretaker, billed by Tourism Queensland as "The Best Job In The World". Now that TQ have launched a follow-up competition, do you reckon you're in with a chance?

East Coast Australia seaplane

No video-making skills required this time!!!
Contenders for the post of Island Caretaker, advertised earlier this year, had to present their pitch in a one-minute video. The response was so enthusiastic that the organisers ended up with hours of footage to wade through – some of it snazzy, but much of it just plain bizarre. This time round, they've made things a lot easier for themselves. The search for four Island Caretaker's Helpers is a prize draw. All you have to do is answer a basic question and type your email address, and those of at least three mates, into the competition website. The more addresses you hand over, the more chances you have of winning. Anyone of any age or nationality can enter - one entry per person.

I'm OK with that - so what's on offer?
One huge holiday with a fixed itinerary, kicking off on 11 November 2009. If you win, you and three friends will be flown to Brisbane from anywhere in the world. You will then be treated to a seven-week, expenses-paid jaunt down the coast, hopping out to several Great Barrier Reef islands along the way. You'll get to go hot air ballooning, diving and turtle-watching, sampling some of the coast's swankiest resorts and spas. Finally, you'll celebrate Christmas and New Year in the Brisbane area, Aussie-style – expect spectacular fireworks and heaps of luscious seafood.

Any arduous duties to perform?
Unlike Ben the Caretaker, who has to make so many public appearances his flipflops must be worn to a sliver, the Helpers (otherwise known as the Best Mates) will get an easy ride. All they're expected to do is to make a few guest postings on Ben's blog, and agree to be interviewed.

So what's in it for Tourism Queensland?
The "Best Job In The World" campaign generated record-breaking volumes of publicity for Queensland. But since Ben took up his post, interest has waned. Some say he's over-worked - his schedule is so crammed, he doesn't really have time to make his blog and video diaries as slick and enticing as they might be. Others feel he's just not a natural for the role. Either way, Tourism Queensland have decided it's time to give the campaign a boost.

How much time do I have to join the scramble?

The competition closes on 7 October 2009 at 1200 UTC.

And then?
The draw takes place on 9 October 2009 and the result will be published immediately. So you'll have two months flat to cancel all your plans for November and December, and get packing.

Please respect the copyright of the text and photos on this website.
Emma Gregg. All rights reserved.