The Australian state of Queensland is now taking applications for "the best job in the world": Being paid huge sums of money to lounge around a Pacific island paradise.
The state is looking for a "caretaker" for Hamilton Island on the Great Barrier Reef, the government announced yesterday. The job lasts six months and requires no formal qualifications, and will eat up about 12 hours a month - yes, that's 12 hours each month - involving such chores as feeding fish and collecting the mail.
But that's not all. During off-hours, the employee will be allowed, and expected, to swim, snorkel, dive and sail in the warm, crystal-clear waters. The successful applicant will live rent-free in a three-bedroom villa with its own pool, in case he or she gets tired of splashing around in the sun-drenched Pacific I suppose, and will earn - get this - $105,000 for doing it.
"It doesn't sound too bad, does it?" asked Tourism Queensland Chief Executive Anthony Hayes. "We are looking for someone to tell the stories of the Great Barrier Reef and we have come up with what we think is the dream job." And therein lies the catch, albeit a tiny one: Whoever gets the job will have to maintain a blog, a photo diary and post video updates detailing his or her time on the island. There will also be occasional interviews with the media, added Queensland Premier Paul Lucas, "So they can't be too shy."
"There are hundreds of islands scattered along the Great Barrier Reef," Hayes continued. "We are looking for someone who can go and explore all the different islands, then report back to the world on what they see. We need a special person. They are going to be pretty busy having a good time."
Applications in the form of online video submissions are being taken at islandreefjob.com until February 22. On May 10, ten potential candidates and one "wildcard" chosen by visitors to the Tourism Queensland website, will be invited to the islands for a four-day final interview process. Predictably, the massive influx of applications has brought the site to its knees; an estimated 850,000 people tried to access it on Monday, leading to crashes and slowdowns, and Hayes himself said, "I'm having to beat my staff off with a stick at the moment because most of them want to apply too."