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Wildlife Caretaker

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

Farewell Kangaroo Island for now! – BJITW (Day #4 of Challenges)

It was our last day in South Australia for the Best Jobs challenges. It is surreal to think of all the amazing experiences we had done in such a short period of time. There is so much diversity on Kangaroo Island and in South Australia that you could spend months here and not be bored 

We met up with our Exceptional Kangaroo Island tour guide and made our way to Pelican Lagoon Research & Wildlife Centre for the final “Wildlife Caretaker” challenge in South Australia. When we arrived, we met up with Dr. Peggy Rismiller an echidna tracker as she would be facilitating the challenge for the day. Each finalist was set up with a tracking device, and was required to make their way through the bushes to find a hidden echidna. It wasn’t until a lot later that I realized it was a fake echidna, and not a real, living, and moving echidna in the wild.

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The winner of the challenge was Nick Tilley (USA). He was being followed by a film crew the entire time, but after finding his echidna, he was so excited that he ran back too fast for them to capture any of the footage. Congrats Nick! If Wildlife Caretaker doesn’t work out for you I’m sure Peggy would take you on as her assistant echidna tracker!

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Following the challenge we enjoyed a delicious “bush-lunch” BBQ. The afternoon consisted of crew planting trees to help preserve the habitat of the Glossy Bank Cockatoos.

On our way back to Kingscote Airport we had a last stop at Stokes Bay for one more coastal scenic view. It was amazing.

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Kangaroo Island was an absolute blast! We saw so much in such a short period of time that it makes me wonder what could be seen in double the time! On our last night in South Australia we headed back to Adelaide later in the afternoon on a private jet. How cool is that! When we arrived in Adelaide, most people decided to go for dinner but I decided I wanted some time to myself so I ordered room service and stayed in. It was the perfect time to catch up on some things before the “Best Jobs” finals in Sydney commenced early the next morning!

I can’t wait to go back to South Australia and Kangaroo Island the next time I’m in Australia. I miss it already!

Sam Clarke

Australia Best Jobs in the World

Wildlife Caretakers Swim with Sea Lions in SA – BJITW (Day #2 of Challenges)

Yesterday was a day I had been looking forward to for a while now.  The “Best Jobs in the World” Wildlife Caretaker crew would be swimming with Sea Lions in Seal Cove off of Hopkins Island in South Australia.

I woke up to a beautiful sunrise in Port Lincoln and had an instant feeling that today was going to be a day to remember.

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Following a quick breakfast the the Port Lincoln Hotel, we took a short bus ride to meet up with Matt Waller of Adventure Bay Charters for a quick briefing. Today was going to be amazing. I couldn’t wait to get so up close with one of the most unique animals in the world. The Australian sea lion is extremely rare and they are only found in certain places across Australia. For our sea lion swim, we made our way out to Seal Cove on Hopkins Island where the landscape is essentially a playground for these pups. For an experience like swimming with sea lions, words don’t do it justice – therefore I created a short 2 minute video to sum up the day.

As you can see, it was an experience unlike anything you could imagine. The lack of fear in the sea lions to show off their tricks to humans is incredible. The interaction between the sea lion and the human is very interactive. A give and take relationship is evident and the more you put in, and the more fun you have – the more fun and playful the sea lion will be in return. I think as a collective group we had such an incredible time, no one wanted to get out of the water to head back to Port Lincoln. You don’t have an experience like this everyday and it was one you wanted to get the most out of while you were there. Absolutely amazing.

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The three finalists had a challenge associated with this experience as well. They were to use their various gadgets and cameras to capture footage of the entire experience. From boarding the charter, to the journey to Seal Cove, to the preparation before the encounter, the underwater sea lion footage and finally after the experience – everything was filmed and later put into a 2 minute promo video. In addition to the 2 minute video, a blog post summarizing the experience was required as well.  Make sure you check out the 3 finalists videos and blog and share your favourite!

Greg Snell (Canada) – http://vimeo.com/68472626

Nick Tilley (USA) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPtViltM9uw&feature=player_embedded

CC (Taiwan) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6bkgUTbMHU

It was such a unique and effective challenge that helped to show off the finalists skills and creativity! It is becoming more clear that the finalists all have their strengths and I think it is becoming harder for the judging panel to chose a winner. The passion and knowledge for Australia and wildlife is vast amongst the group of finalists and I think the next couple days will be a huge deciding factor in the outcome of the competition for Wildlife Caretaker.

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

Best Jobs in the World

The Lone Canuck vying for the Best Jobs in the World.

The 18 finalists in the “Best Jobs in the World” campaign have been chosen and they are all in preparation for an intense weeklong interview process in Australia this upcoming June. Throughout the time the finalists will be in Australia, they will undergo various challenges, interviews, and media events to test their every angle. How far will these competitors go to achieve their dream? Will they crack under the pressure?

Over the last couple of weeks I have been closely following all my social media networks and have observed the finalists and their ability to effectively rally support for their submission. Through various social media tactics, newspaper articles, and T.V appearances – the quality of talent is astonishing.

As Tourism Australia’s Canadian Travel Guru who will be heading down to Australia on June 3rd 2013, I have established a strong connection to one of the competitors and luckily had the chance to speak with him a bit further.

Greg Snell, a 27-year-old adventure tour guide from Oshawa, Ontario is in the running to secure the position as South Australia’s Wildlife Caretaker.

“As Wildlife Caretaker you’ll swim with sea lions, come face to face with great white sharks and assist with conservation projects. Your duties will allow you to explore our amazing environment by foot, kayak, bicycle, and boat, taking only photographs and leaving only footprints. On Kangaroo Island you’ll talk to wallabies and cuddle koalas, sunbake with seals on the pristine beach at Seal Bay, feed echidnas in untouched bush land, and play with dolphins in the crystal clear waters.”

Seems like a dream job to me? Keep reading to see first hand what Greg had to say about the job and his position in the “Best Jobs in the World” contest.

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Hello Greg! How are you doing?

G: Hi, I am well, cheers!

Care to tell me a little bit about yourself?

G: Sure thing, I am a traveller who lives for the moment and dreams of the future.  I am one who relishes in the experience. I smile and laugh, cry and bleed. The greatest parts of life are the people you meet, the places you see, and the friendships you create. The world is in constant motion, and I will never get caught standing still. I was raised to take full advantage of every opportunity that crosses my path. I love life, and live in a way that embraces patience, compromise, and acceptance of another’s culture, habits, needs, and addictions.

If you could describe yourself in 3 words what would they be?

G: Adventurous, Ambitious, and Confident …..can I add Rugged?

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Congratulations on making it to the final round of the “Best Jobs in the World” campaign! How does it feel to make it so far and to be the only Canadian selected?

G: Thank you. I feel absolutely elated. I am extremely excited to be a top three finalist for the position of Wildlife Caretaker. It feels amazing to be the only Canadian left in the race. Australia and Canada have a close knit connection and every year there are literally thousands of Working Holiday Visas granted to young Canadians looking to work in Australia and vise versa. I am excited about representing young Canadians working in Australia in the sector of travel and adventure tourism. There’s nothing like Australia and this Canuck wants to put that to the test!

How did you find out about the “Best Jobs” contest put on through Tourism Australia?

G: I was aware of the campaign that Tourism Queensland launched in 2009, but unfortunately missed the deadline to apply. Since then I have always hoped that a similar contest would re appear in the future. In the mean time I continued to follow my dreams of travel and exploration, and what do you know, almost four years later we once again have the opportunity to apply for the ‘Best Job in the World’.

What makes you the best candidate for the Wildlife Caretaker position?

G: I took a look at the six job vacancies and picked the one that best suited my professional career and personal interests. I work in an environment that resembles a zoo with no fences. I am in constant contact with wildlife from all corners of southern South America.  From the caimans of the Brazilian Pantanal to the penguins in southern Patagonia, I have researched, and been immersed in, the natural wildlife and habitat of the Southern Cone – gaining a deep appreciation for its diversity and fragility.  My personal travels revolve around visiting national parks, searching out rare and endemic wildlife and photographing their beauty at every opportunity possible.

I am also a certified dive master and have scuba-dived in the Caribbean, Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans, as well as the Strait of Magellan (incredibly cold). Through these experiences I have developed a strong commitment to understanding and preserving marine environments and their fascinating inhabitants.

How do you feel about the adventure you are about to take part in in the next couple of weeks, and hopefully the next year if chosen for the position?

I am very excited to be one of the final three for the position of Wildlife Caretaker. My education, work experiences, and travels for the past nine years have fully qualified me for this job. Since I began travelling, I have documented my experiences and adventures through photographs and videos, becoming more proficient with focus and time.  I fully understand the value of photo-journalism and am expecting to share this experience in Australia with the world. The next couple of weeks are going to put these skills to the ultimate test. Producing engaging content in a short period of time with limited resources in remote locations, sounds perfect! If I win the position this position I will share the experience with the world!

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How do you feel about thousands of Australian applications being submitted and not one being selected? Are you surprised?

G: I feel that the out of the top 150 there were outstanding candidates with outstanding campaigns, including all of the Australians. I think that one of the main concepts behind the ‘Best Jobs’ campaign is to promote travel to Australia abroad. What better way to that then having internationals come work in Australia and promote their experience back home (most likely via social networking). I am looking forward to traveling to Australia and promoting Australia back in Canada, and around the world.

What’s your most memorable “wildlife” encounter during your many years of travels?

G: Ohh, nice, that is a good question! Tough one, seriously. If I were to pick one it would be Great White Shark Cage Diving off the coast of South Africa.

The best places in the world to view and study Great Whites are coastal South Africa and South Australia. There is relatively little known about Great White Sharks and these marine communities are continually observing the sharks and trying to monitor their behavior.  There are apparently only about 1000 Great Whites left on earth, which is a staggering statement considering they have been in existence for 220 million years.  The population around the Cape of Good Hope is the most prevalent with an average of 300 sharks visiting the coastal waters at some point during the year. The sharks are apex predators and it was amazing to view them in their natural environment, truly awe inspiring to be face to face with such a powerful creature.

Once the shark catches the scent of the dive boat, the crew pulls a massive rotting tuna head towards the cage enticing the shark to follow. If it works they consecutively yell, “Down!” right as the shark crosses the face of the cage.  At the exact moment I heard the yell I took a deep breath and dropped to the bottom of the cage. Looking up quickly I let my eyes adjust to the figure of a giant Great White passing within a foot of my face.  I caught the eye contact a couple of times and couldn’t help but think it was looking straight at me. After two sessions I had seen four different sharks, was extremely cold, and well impressed with the morning. This species is something we know so little about and yet are destroying its habitat at an abominable rate. Great Whites are some of the most misunderstood creatures on earth and I am saddened to know that there existence hangs in the balance. If you ever get the chance to go Great White Cage Diving, I would highly recommend it.

How far will you go to became South Australia’s Wildlife Caretaker?

G: If there was a box to think inside of I would think from the outside, then convince you that the box doesn’t actually exist. There is absolutely no limit to how far I will go to obtain this job. The trick is staying focused on the information that matters and continuing to live my life to the fullest. The world is in constant motion and I will not get caught standing still.

Thanks for your time Greg and I wish you the best of luck in the final stages of the competition, also… see you in Australia!

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If you haven’t seen Greg’s application video to make it into the top 3 finalists for the Wildlife Caretaker position – make sure you check it out here! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4n4PMWkIcaA

Also, make sure you join his Facebook Fan Page to support him in his quest as Wildlife Caretaker.  https://www.facebook.com/GregSnellWildlifeCaretaker

The competition is heating up and I can confidently assume they are starting to feel the pressure. It’s going to be a close race to the finish line, but for the lucky 6 who secure the “Best Jobs in the World,” it will be without a doubt an experience of a lifetime.

The passion and commitment all the contestants have shown to achieve their dreams is extremely inspiring and has made me reconsider what is important to me in life. Living life to the absolute fullest and having no regrets.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”  - Mark Twain