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Tourist board offers £72,000 position comprising snorkelling, kayaking and having fun on paradise island  Jan 13, 2009

As terms and conditions of employment go, they're hard to beat and are sure to have job hunters across the world updating their CVs.

At £72,000 for just six months, the pay is enough to entice many. But consider too the free return flights from anywhere in the world, free accommodation, the flexible working hours, the minimal experience required and even a dose of prospective internet fame.

Oh, and the location is the Great Barrier Reef.

Tourism Queensland has called the position of caretaker for the reef's beautiful Hamilton Island a "once in a lifetime" opportunity as it searches the world for the right candidate.

The live-in position requires posting a weekly blog, creating photo diaries and video updates to let the world know about the unique life on the island. But that is only when there is time in the busy schedule of sailing, kayaking, snorkelling, diving, picnics, bushwalking and more.

Living in "Blue Pearl", a three-bedroom modern home on the privately-owned island, the caretaker will have their own private plunge pool and spa with stunning views over the reef, large balconies, sun lounges and a "traditional Aussie barbeque". There will also be access to a computer and the internet to complete assignments, as well as transport around the island and ferries to take trips to the north-east coast of Australia.

The island and has its own airport and marina, according to the website boasting "the best job in the world". More than 800 people live there and 70 per cent of it is still protected bush land. The average temperature is 27.4C (81F).

Tourism bosses are running their campaign in 18 countries, seeking one-minute video applications as to why each should be the successful caretaker for Hamilton Island.

Ten finalists will be chosen by Tourism Queensland, with a "wildcard" candidate picked by an online vote. All 11 will then compete on the island during a four-day marathon interview process in May before the winner starts on July 1.

The Great Barrier Reef stretches for 1,600 miles, comprising more than 2,900 individual reefs and 600 islands. It is the world's largest coral reef system, supporting a wide range of wildlife including whales, dolphins, sea turtles and more than 1,500 species of fish. The reef is an extremely popular destination for tourists, sustainably managing about two million visitors each year.

Assuming you choose paradise over the rain-soaked Scottish "rat race", what sort of skills would a caretaker require?

Tourism Queensland said it would consider a broad range of applicants, but was ideally looking for people with excellent communication skills, good written and verbal English skills, an adventurous attitude, a willingness to try new things, a passion for the outdoors, good swimming skills and enthusiasm for snorkelling or diving.

A spokeswoman said: "Is this a real job? Absolutely. This is a genuine position with Tourism Queensland. There'll be a thorough recruitment process – this isn't a competition based on luck. There is no catch. We're looking for someone to experience Queensland's unique islands and report back to us, and the world, about the adventures they are having."

The selection process, which begins after the deadline for applications on 22 February, will also include a medical exam and psychological testing, as well as a police background check.

It's tough finding somewhere to park your golf buggy

EVEN Adam and Eve had trouble in the Garden of Eden, so don't believe everything they tell you about Hamilton Island, at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef, being paradise on earth. For a start, I found that eating breakfast al fresco on the veranda attracted squadrons of yellow-crested cockatoos anxious to share my meal.

Then there is the traffic. You get around the island – the biggest holiday resort on the Whitsunday Island archipelago – by golf cart. OK, everyone is going at 5mph and the views are panoramic, but finding a place to park at your favourite restaurant down by the marina can be a chore, especially if there is a big yacht race. To get away from it all, I hired a floatplane and headed out to a deserted island with a magazine. Hiring a floatplane is just like getting a taxi, except the chatty pilot will wait for you while you wander off down the beach in search of total seclusion for a few hours.

So I was annoyed when my idyll was interrupted by someone arriving in a 40-foot boat and proceeding to swim in the perfect turquoise sea. There are enough deserted islands in the Whitsundays so why couldn't he get his own? I found another pristine, white beach and drank my chilled sauvignon blanc (Australian of course) hoping the interloper had encountered a local irukandji jellyfish. This kills you by injecting a toxin that makes you anxious and depressed.

I warn you: Hamilton Island is not for the lazy, so don't go there unless you are into swimming, golf, conversing with Japanese honeymooners, sailing, snorkelling, and eating far too much at the ubiquitous restaurants. The skies are irritatingly blue, though there is a bit of a wind in winter (that's our summer) to break the monotony. I heard people complaining about the dreamy ocean which is so clear you can see the fish deep down. If you want waves go to Bondi Beach.

Hamilton Island is advertising for a "caretaker" at £72,000. Have I got this right? They pay you the money, not the other way round

Tourist board offers £72,000 position comprising snorkelling, kayaking and having fun on paradise island
Hamilton Island marina / Image via

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