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Australia & New Zealand

How One Would-Be Traveler Won His Dream Job

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Think the job market here is tough? Try vying for a position among 40,000 other applicants.

That’s what Andrew Smith of Costa Mesa had to do when he applied for the position of Chief Funster as part of Tourism Australia’s Best Jobs campaign.

Up for grabs were six positions, each running six months long and paying a handsome stipend of AU$100,000 (about US$105,000). The winners were selected from 620,000 applications.

Smith’s job as Chief Funster will be based in Sydney and involves promoting and reviewing New South Wales festivals and events.

A seventh, last-minute position, Virgin Australia’s new High Flyer, was awarded to Cameron Ernst from Texas, who will fly around the country campaigning for Australia’s best customer service experiences.

The two finalists, along with 16 others, spent a week completing a series of challenges in Australia, including culinary, social media, and photography assessments.

The remaining jobs and their winners include Wildlife Caretaker Greg Snell, from Canada, who will travel around South Australia for six months caring for all kinds of wildlife, from kangaroos to koalas; Outback Adventurer Allan Dixon, from Ireland, will travel through the Outback to be immersed in the culture and to get up close with Australian wildlife; Park Ranger Elisa Detrez, from France, will spend her time on the beaches and in the forests down under; Lifestyle Photographer Roberto Seba, from Brazil, who will work in Melbourne; and Taste Master Rich Keam, from England, who will tour the state’s best wineries, breweries, restaurants, and pubs.

The competition is designed to promote tourism opportunities provided by Australia’s Working Holiday Maker program. So far, the program has contributed AU$2.5 billion to the Australian economy. Click here to watch the winners’ videos and keep up with their progress.

By Katharine Rooney for