British man wins Australian island dream job
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SYDNEY – A bungee jumping, ostrich-riding British charity worker was named Wednesday the winner of what’s been dubbed the “Best Job in the World” — a 150,000 Australian dollar ($111,000) contract to serve as the caretaker of a tropical Australian island.
Ben Southall, 34, beat out nearly 35,000 applicants from around the world for the dream assignment to swim, explore and relax on Hamilton Island in the Great Barrier Reef for six months while writing a blog to promote the area.
He was selected for the gig by officials from the tourism department of Queensland state.
Southall and 15 other finalists spent the past four days on the Queensland island for an extended interview process, which required applicants to snorkel through crystalline waters, gorge themselves at a beach-side barbecue and relax at a spa.
The finalists also had to demonstrate their blogging abilities, take swimming tests and sit through in-person interviews.
In his application video, Southall expressed a love for adventure, and featured photographs of himself riding an ostrich, running a marathon, trekking through Africa and kissing a giraffe.
The job is part of a AU$1.7 million tourism campaign to publicize the charms of northeastern Queensland, and officials say it has already generated more than AU$100 million worth of publicity for the region.
Southall will live for free in an airy, three-bedroom oceanfront villa with a private pool and sweeping views of the surrounding islands.
The job begins July 1.