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Australia Best Jobs in the World

A Quick Stop in Melbourne

 June 24th 2013 – Day #1

After spending 5 months living in Melbourne during my academic exchange, it was never in my wildest dreams that I would be returning within the next year! As an add-on to my “Best Jobs” itinerary, I planned to spend 2 days down in Melbourne visiting a friend. It was the perfect amount of time to get a refresher of the city and spend some quality time with Sara.

I arrived on my Virgin Australia flight from Sydney at 12.30pm and was picked up by Sara at the airport. It has only been a year since we have seen each other, but when you spend so much time together in such a short period of time (5 months), the distance makes it seems like forever! Before heading straight into the city to take full advantage of the time I had, we headed to her house in a small suburb outside of the city. Her family is so welcoming to me, and it is always nice to see them when I am in town.

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We picked up her brother at her house and we headed to the Melbourne CBD (Central Business District) to grab a coffee at our usual meeting spot; the Starbucks outside of Flinders Train Station. Flinders Train Station is the oldest train station in the Southern Hemisphere, and it is truly a building of beauty. The bright yellow/gold colour draws in attention to tourists, and has become a very iconic stop for those who visit Melbourne.

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After grabbing a coffee at Starbucks, we made our way to Melbourne Central (another train stop) and grabbed a bite to eat. Melbourne is extremely easy to navigate as it is in a grid pattern. It has a very different layout than Sydney as everything is generally in one central area (CBD), whereas in Sydney, there are attractions all over the place: Sydney Harbour, Bondi Beach, Manly Beach, etc. Following Melbourne Central, we did a bit of shopping and since it was getting late we headed back to her house. The night was spent hanging out with her family and watching the movie Playing For Keeps. We headed to bed early to ensure a productive and early start the next day!

June 25th 2013 – Day #2

It was my last day in not only Melbourne, but also Australia for this trip! Sara and I headed to the city right away with a quick stop at the Flinders Station Starbucks… of course. People laugh at the fact that we choose Starbucks in Melbourne, because Melbourne is world-renowned to have some of the best coffee. I think it has become more of a tradition than anything else and we don’t really want to break it.

Our afternoon was spent checking out some of Melbourne’s many alleys and laneways. We were on a hunt for street art. When I say “street art” I don’t mean big posters or paintings in frames, or any sort of traditional art – I’m speaking of graffiti art.

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Hidden amongst many of Melbourne’s little alleys and laneways you will find some of the world’s best graffiti. The city realizes that it is a huge tourist attraction and it is actually encouraged for those graffiti artists with a real talent. It was really neat that when we went down one of the laneways a graffiti artist was in action.

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I was blown away by the caliber of art found in these laneways – it was incredible. I definitely recommend that if you are ever in Melbourne for a couple days, make sure you head to the Melbourne Travel Centre on Federation Square and ask for a map of Melbourne’s street art. There were about 9 different locations recognized on this map that have very diverse and unique street art that were all within walking distance from the CBD.

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We spent the rest of the afternoon doing some souvenir shopping and grabbing lunch at Grill’d in the “Degraves” laneway. This laneway must have had at least 20 cafes and restaurants in a row! I was surprised how busy it was on a Tuesday afternoon – It’s really nice seeing people out and enjoying themselves throughout the week and during the “winter” season. 

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Melbourne in the winter isn’t as bad as many people make it out to be. Yes it does get to about zero degrees in the morning, but with a light jacket during the day you are set. I found it to be the perfect exploring weather and definitely beats the Canadian winter!

My visit in Melbourne was definitely short and sweet. It was the perfect amount of time to catch up with Sara, as well as provided a refresher of the city I called home for 5 months last year. With Melbourne being only an hour flight from Sydney, or a 9 hour drive – it is the perfect stopover if you have a few spare days in Sydney and don’t know what to do. I have noticed that many travellers don’t make it down past Sydney when they do the East Coast. It is definitely worth the trip!

Tomorrow I would be leaving to head back to Canada after three unbelievable weeks in Australia. It has flown by… but I guess that is what happens when you are having fun, right?

Here’s to a 30+ hour travel day!

Sam Clarke

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,

Australia Best Jobs in the World

Discover Noosa – June 12th (Day 10)

The life of a backpacker is non-stop. Moving from city to city, hostel to hostel, attraction to attraction – always changing, moving, learning and exploring. It gets exhausting at times but what keeps backpackers going is the lust for wandering, exploring, discovering and experiencing new experiences. The feeling of arriving at a foreign destination and not knowing exactly what to expect is electrifying. It keeps people who love to travel, hooked and creates the impetus behind a lot of travellers wanting to make travel their career. I recently have discovered that adventure, exploring and travelling is my passion and I can’t imagine a life without it.

 On June 12th, I was on the move again and was headed to Brisbane in the morning via Virgin Australia. When I arrived at the airport I found out my flight had been delayed about and hour, which was a slight inconvenience but nothing to fuss over. We ended up landing in Brisbane just after 1pm and I was pleasantly greeted by my bus shuttle compliments of SunAir Bus Service. It is always such a pleasure and relief to have someone waiting for you when you land in a new destination. It takes off a lot of the pressure of finding a shuttle when you are already flustered about just landing. SunAir Bus Service does airport transfers from the Brisbane Airport all the way up to Noosa Heads, and everywhere in between. With great thanks to my wonderful driver, I made it to my next stop, the Australia Zoo in no time. Don’t worry, when I say “no time,” I don’t mean he was speeding – he was just very efficient from the airport pick-up to the Zoo drop off!

When I arrived at the Australia Zoo, I didn’t know what to expect. I had been to various zoos in my life with some of them including; the San Diego Zoo, Toronto Zoo, and Singapore Zoo. I had only heard good things about the Australia Zoo from my peers and various online sources I have read, but I questioned “how is it really that different from all the other zoos I’ve been to.” It only took about 5 minutes of being in the zoo and meeting Saira for my expectations to be surpassed.

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My experience at the Australia Zoo sparked an idea for the development of a section of my blog called, Add “this” to Your Bucket List. Add “this” to Your Bucket List plans to be a compilation of experiences you really have to do. Plain and simple, if you are in the area, make the trip. They may include anything from visiting a certain country in the world, to a unique town or city, or a restaurant or bar with an exceptional dish or drink. Anything that sticks out as something you don’t want to miss will be highlighted. I am excited to see where this section takes me, and what new experiences I can find and share with you.

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The first experience I have discovered that I am proud to make my pilot post for Add “this” to Your Bucket List is Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo.  To find this story about the Australia Zoo, please follow the link here. <– You don’t want to miss this! Seriously!

Following the Australia Zoo, I was picked up by SunAir Bus Service again and transferred to my accommodation in Noosa. Noosa is a beautiful little beach town on the Sunshine Coast. It is located about an hour and a half north of Brisbane, QLD. When I arrived, the Mantra French Quarter in Noosa had set up quite the spectacular room for me. Included in my room was a complimentary spa kit, wicked glass water bottle, chocolate covered cherries (I obviously ate them before I was able to capture them on camera), and an assortment of teas and coffees. I had my own bedroom with a king size bed and TV, a living room with a kitchen, couch and TV (I know 2 TV’s in one room – CRAZY!) as well as beautiful bathroom.

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Chocolate covered cherries nowhere to be found…20130612_17582520130612_17582020130612_17583420130612_175847

I merely cried when I saw the washer and dryer. The luxury of washing your clothes is really taken for granted. 

My suite backed out onto a patio, and further onto the resort pool and hot tubs. Not only are their various things to do while on the resort, it is with close proximity to the main Noosa “strip” which makes getting to the beach and restaurants quite easy. I ended up being so comfortable at the Mantra when I arrived, that I stayed inside for the night and caught up on my sleep. Nothing left to say here but goodnight Noosa.

Sam Clarke