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Park Ranger

Best Jobs in the World

What an ENDING! – Best Jobs Finalists are Announced!

The big day has finally arrived! After over 2 weeks of challenges, interviews, media appearances in Sydney and in each of their respective states – the 7 winners of the Best Jobs in the world were being announced TODAY! I woke up this morning in complete awe that today was the day. Everything that all the finalists had been working towards the last couple months was on the line today. I couldn’t even begin to imagine how they were all feeling.

The last couple days in Sydney have been used to recover from the various challenges, interviews and events they all underwent in their respective states, as well as go through many more challenges, interviews and events in Sydney. It was also time to get the group together to see how they work as a team. It was really nice to finally be able to meet some of these people who I have truly idolized, and in a non creepy way stalked the last couple months. Nick Tilley describes it the best as, “a big reunion of people you have never actually met before.” It is absolutely true. These finalists have been watching each other’s Facebook, twitter, instagram and blogs seeing what they were all up to since the start of the contest. It was definitely surreal to have them all together vying for these “Best Jobs.”

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Going back to the announcement which happened today – all spectators and media crew entered the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney earlier than when the finalists arrived. We had the opportunity to view the boards, which displayed pictures and quotes from all the finalists’ time in Sydney and respective states. We loaded into the auditorium and waited amongst the many film crews, photographers and news reporters for the arrival of the finalists. When the finalists arrived I got instant chills. This was it!

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First to be announced was Chief Funster (NSW). The winner was Andrew Smith from the USA! Congrats ANDREW!

Second to be announced was Lifestyle Photographer (VIC). The winner was Roberto Seba from Brazil! Congrats ROBERTO

Third to be announced was Outback Adventurer (NT). The winner was Allan Dixon from Ireland! Congrats ALLAN!

Fourth to be announced was Park Ranger (QLD).  The winner was Elisa Detrez from France! Congrats ELISA!

Fifth to be announced was Taste Master (WA). The winner was Rich Keam from England! Congrats RICH!

Sixth to be announced was Wildlife Caretaker (SA). The winner was Greg Snell from CANADA!!!!!! Congrats GREG!

LAST but definitely not least, was the newly added position of High Flyer (AUS) offered by Virgin Australia. The winner was Cameron Ernst from USA! Congrats Cameron the comeback kid!

The 7 winners are official!

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It has been such a buildup of nerves and excitement from everyone that I think everyone is happy the announcement is complete. I know everyone is looking forward to the Wrap Party tonight to let loose a bit and enjoy our time together.

It’s been an absolute blast the last couple days and it is really starting to sink in that my time in Australia and time with “Best Jobs” is coming to an end… for now. All I have to do is enjoy the rest of my time here and live it up!

Once again, congrats to all the winner and FINALISTS for all the hard work! You should all be so proud of yourselves!

Time to party!

Sam Clarke,

Best Jobs in the World

Ready, set, finals week!

After many tweets, TV appearances, newspaper articles and overall anticipation, the time has arrived! The 18 finalists from 12 different countries have arrived in Sydney, Australia to begin the final stages of the “Best Jobs in the World” contest. With over 600,000 online applications from 196 countries worldwide, and 45,000 video submissions, the top 3 for each position have been chosen to compete against each other for one of the six “Best Jobs” titles.

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The most sought-after job has been NSW’s Chief Funster (20.2 per cent), closely followed by South Australia’s Wildlife Caretaker (19.9 per cent), Queensland’s Park Ranger (17.5 per cent), Western Australia’s Taste Master (14.7 per cent), Northern Territory’s Outback Adventurer (14.3 per cent) and Victoria’s Lifestyle Photographer (13.4 per cent).

For a better understanding of the six available jobs, follow the link here.

The finalists have been making their way to Sydney over the last couple of days, with some of them arriving early to settle in, catch up with fellow Australian friends, and to check out some of Sydney’s attractions before all the craziness begins. I have been following the various contestants on their social media channels and you can feel the excitement beaming off each and every one of them as they enter the next stage of the competition. With so much energy, commitment and passion put into achieving their specific “Best Jobs,” the competition is going to be tight.

The winners of the six jobs will receive a six-month contract with Tourism Australia, which will include a $100,000 package – $50,000 salary and $50,000 to cover living expenses. It is quite evident amongst the various contestants that the money is the last thing on their minds. The passion and love for the jobs they are applying for is the prime reason for competing. The drive and want to inspire others to consider travel in Australia is a huge motivator behind the contestants’ efforts. Once Australia is on your mind, you are hooked and that is apparent amongst the finalists.

Though I am not currently in Sydney, Australia at the moment, I have been following the arrivals and first day of finals week via social media. The first day consisted of a group breakfast where all the finalists had the chance to meet each other, followed by a “meet N greet” at the Tourism Australia head office in Sydney. The “meet N greet” allowed for the finalists to meet the people who have made this entire contest possible, as well as allowed them to be showered with gifts. Not your ordinary welcome gifts I tell you; they received some really wicked stuff. From Nikon cameras, to a Nokia smart phone, Dell computer and heaps of “Best Jobs” clothes, they have all been “swagged” out for the week ahead. Not a bad gig if you ask me!

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In addition to the “meet N greet” at Tourism Australia’s head office, they each underwent a media interview, and a photoshoot under the Sydney Harbour Bridge. There is no time to waste, the finalists are getting right into the Aussie lifestyle.

Throughout the day, tonnes of tweets, Instagram photos and Facebook posts have been uploaded regarding the status of the competition and it is evident it is really starting to heat up. I think the contestants are starting to feel the pressure, and they can really taste the prize. I find it interesting to think about how the finalists’ other competition is sitting either beside them or across from them at meals and meetings. As much as everyone is here to have a good time, there can only be one winner per job. Sizing up the competition is bound to happen. I wish I could have been there to see the first interaction amongst the group.

From the various finalists I have connected with recently, an anonymous reaction has been made; each finalist is extremely diverse, and the competition is going to be tough. This will definitely make for an exciting finals week!

The rest of the week in Sydney for the finalists will include various media appearances and training sessions, sight-seeing of some of Sydney’s biggest attractions (Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge), a visit to the Taronga Zoo, and a training session with the Australian Football Leagues (AFL) premiers, the Sydney Swans. These activities will take the finalists up to Friday June 14th, and on the following day, the finalists will fly to their respective state or territories to participate in “job-specific” challenges. You don’t want to miss this part!

Where in Australia will each contestant be during the final challenges? Check out the map below provided through Tourism Australia:

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I am lucky enough to travel to South Australia this upcoming Saturday to follow the finalists vying for the Wildlife Caretaker position. Hsin Hsuan Hsieh (Taiwan); Greg Snell (Canada); Nick Tilley (USA) are all still in the running to claim this dream job. While they are in South Australia, they will be put to the test and required to create captivating video footage, talk to local media, conduct a guided wildlife tour of the Seal Bay Conservation Park and track echidnas while sharing their experiences with their social media networks. It’s going to be a busy few days for the finalists and I am looking forward to them being put to the ultimate test.

After wrapping up the finalists time in their respective states or territory, they will all join again in Sydney for a couple days before the final announcement event on June 21st when the six winners are chosen.

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Only 9 days until the winners are chosen, and I’m certain it’s going to fly by. Make sure to stay tuned for updates on the “Best Jobs” finalists and contest. This is going to be the ride of their lives – what a dream come true!

Ready, set, finals week!

Sam Clarke

Australia Best Jobs in the World

Mowgli? Tarzan? Park Ranger? – June 11th (Day 9)

The Daintree Rainforest has got to be the most peaceful places on the Earth to wake up to. On Tuesday June 11th, I was to checkout of my rainforest cabin at the Cape Trib Beach House Resort, and head to Cape Tribulation’s Jungle Surfing Canopy Tours!

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Jungle Surfing is a unique rainforest tour where your feet don’t touch the ground. Fly through the trees on zip lines, with a bird’s eye view into the canopy and out to the reef. Jungle Surfing is the adventure activity for all ages and the flight choice is yours – slow, fast, upside down.

Jungle Surfing picked me up at my accommodation and we headed to the middle of the rainforest to begin our tour. When we arrived we were fitted for harnesses and helmets and put our belongings into the lockers. That’s it! We were ready to surf!

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Amongst the Jungle Surfing course were five tree platforms with bird’s eye views over the treetops, down flowing streams and out to the Great Barrier Reef.  

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The highly skilled group of leaders led us through the course and ensured we participated in various flight styles, while they allowed time for several photo opportunities and Daintree Rainforest information segments. Not only was it Jungle Surfing an intermittent adrenaline rush through the rainforest, it was informative and engaging.

20130611_105455Afternoon at the Resort

Following Jungle Surfing, I made my way back to the resort to spend my afternoon before being picked up by “Go Wild” Jungle Tour to return to Cairns. I grabbed a gluten-free buttermilk chicken salad from the resort bistro, and spent some time writing. The bistro has created a very welcoming environment for travellers to eat and just “hang out.” I ended up spending my entire afternoon in the bistro, and was joined later on by a university class studying conservation throughout the Daintree Rainforest. They were being provided a guest lecture from an expert on the Daintree, and the state of the rainforest. I think I paid more attention during that lecture than any lecture I was ever given in university, and it wasn’t even meant for me!

 As 4pm struck, I was picked up by the “Go Wild” Jungle Tour and was brought back to Gilligan’s Resort for my last evening in Cairns. The night was spent grabbing dinner, packing my bags for my flight to Brisbane in the morning and heading to bed before 9pm.

Until next time,

Sam Clarke

Australia Best Jobs in the World

A Slight Change of Pace – June 9th (Day 7)

It’s time to tune in my inner Park Ranger and head north to the tropical land of Cairns, Queensland. After meeting up with Astra Limousines outside of the Sydney Central YHA, I was straight to the airport to pick up my 8.55am flight to Cairns. When I arrived, I checked in, crossed my fingers my bag weighed less than 50 lbs, and went straight through to security.

My flight took off about 10 minutes late, which normally I don’t fuss over, but I was in a small time crunch for catching my white water rafting tour that afternoon. On my flight to Cairns, I was seated beside a really nice guy from Michigan who was with a group tour focused on medicine. They had been to Melbourne and Sydney and were visiting various hospitals, clinics and participating in several medicine based activities while overseas. They were finally flying up north to enjoy some R & R in Port Douglas while enjoying the beach and the hot weather.

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When our flight landed, I immediately ran to baggage claim as it was pressing 1 o’clock and I was being picked up at 1.45pm at my hostel for my rafting tour. The Cairns domestic airport is very tiny, and to be frank slightly disorganized. Trying to identify the carousel that my luggage would be coming out of was impossible as nothing was properly marked and hundred of flights were arriving at the same time. It took me over half an hour to find my bag which led it to being 1:15 before I left the airport. To make matters worse, Cairns was hosting an Ironman during the day and some of the major highways going into the city were blocked off. That caused my shuttle to my hostel being late and me starting to panic. It wasn’t until 1:25 that my shuttle arrived and once again another thing not in my favour, Gilligan’s Resort and Bar was the second last drop off. At this point I had come to terms with it that I wasn’t going to raft and that’s that. My perfect trip streak was coming to an end…

Raging Thunder White Water Rafting

But maybe the gods listened to my prayers, I arrived at Gilligan’s just after 2pm and the bus for rafting was gone. However, the tour guide had called me seeing where I was and was kind enough to loop around again and pick me up!!! This would never of happened back in Canada – you snooze you lose! Just another example of how Australians are fabulous people!

Following that small mini crisis of almost not making the bus, I was able to relax a bit while we made our way to Lake Placid (about 20 minutes away from Cairns). Tim who worked for Raging Thunder Rafting led us to the Barron River. Similar to many of the Cairns tour guides, he was awesome! Full of energy and passion for where he lives and works.r1

When we arrived, we got put into our rafting groups, ran through some safety protocols and were ready to go. My group consisted of myself, 4 USA exchange students currently studying in Sydney as well as Tim. We hopped into the raft and started our way down the Barron River. They say a picture speaks a thousand words, so in that case I will let you gage my rafting experience via these pictures…

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As you can see, I was having the time of my life. It makes me wonder why I had never rafted before, even in Canada!

Ironman Cairns

Despite the bitter taste I had in my mouth about the Cairns Ironman that almost made me miss out on rafting, I was very interested in checking out the finish line which was right on the Cairns esplanade. Amongst a crowd of thousands and thousands cheering on their loved ones, I found a good spot to stand to cheer on complete randoms as they finished the last 100 metres of their run after the swim, 190 km bike and 42 km run. Even saying that makes me tired; imagining having to complete those lengths would probably kill me. I don’t understand how people can get themselves into that fitness level to be able to be standing after completing an Ironman. It almost put me into tears when I saw the top finisher in the Women’s 18-24 ages range complete it in 12.5 hours.

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Other than my self-esteem plummeting and exploding on the floor, it made me reconsider how fit I was… kind of kicked me in the butt to consider getting into better shape. Maybe I will start small and train for a 10km in the New Year? Hmm… Well I’ll think about that later, as for now I’ll just travel the world.

It was another early evening for myself, as I had to be awake at 630 for my “Go Wild” Jungle Tours pick-up at 7am the next day. There has been no down time for this lady – on the go, nonstop. I go from attraction to attraction, city to city while exploring anything and everything that presents itself to me in between. Extremely exhausting, but I love it and wouldn’t have it any other way. I can’t wait to spend the next 2 days in the rainforest as I tune in my inner Park Ranger and Mowgli from the Jungle Book.

I won’t be having Internet access while in Port Douglas, the Daintree Rainforest or Cape Tribulation, so my posting will come to a hault for a short period of time. Hold tight though, my wanderful life will be updated as soon as I am back!

On to the next adventure,

Sam Clarke