Best Job in the World Winner Ben Southall on Life in Queensland
Unless you were living under a rock, you probably heard about the Ďbest job in the worldĎ contest launched by the Tourism board of Queensland Australia. It was a media frenzy and has been called one of the biggest PR campaigns in history. But beyond the nuts and bolts of the campaign, I went to the source Ben Southall to ask him about his experience in Queensland and find out some secrets for the best things to do in Queensland. Hereís what Ben had to say.
Have you travelled much prior to your winning the best job in the world? What were your favourite places?
I have been lucky enough to travel quite a lot yes and most of my travels have been throughout Africa which I loved due to the rawness and real people who I met over the years. During the Best Job I was lucky enough to get up to the far north of Queensland and visit the Torres Strait islands which are very similar, full of culture, history and really fascinating characters. I will be going back there sometime soon as Iíd love to take my girlfriend Bre there to witness the dancing, music and pure laughter.
Now that you know the area really well, can you share with us any local secrets about the best things to see/do in Queensland?
Wow thatís almost an endless question but being someone who loves the water Iíd have to recommend sailing around the Whitsundays and out to the Great Barrier Reef itself Ė it really is an incredible world out there. Diving down below the water drops you into a world which we know so little about and every dive is different.
Have you had an experience in Queensland that was truly inspirational, mesmerising or otherwise unforgettable?
Thereís a couple I can think of! Whilst diving off Lady Elliot Island, the most southerly of the islands of the Great Barrier Reef, I was filming an underwater section for one of my movies and a Loggerhead turtle approached me from a long way off, swam right up to me, I ran my hand along its shell and it looked at me, turned and swam off Ė simply amazing to be so close up with nature like that.
You were recently stung by a jellyfish, an unfortunate reminder that no holiday is perfect, even in paradise! Any tips for timid travellers on how to deal with adversity when far away from home?
I think that having a fear of the unknown and being put off by things such as the jellyfish musnít get out of control, there are dangerous things all around the world and if we try and hide away from them we limit ourselves as humans and travellers on what we do and where we can go. Saying that we should also take precautions to avoid situations such as that which I got into!
Now that you are headed home, how do you think having the Best Job in the World will affect your style or pattern of travel in the future? Will you be back in Queensland anytime soon?
Iím not going anywhere quite yet in fact I have just signed a new contract with Tourism Queensland for a further 18 months work exploring the area and travelling around the planet telling my story and why this area is so worth visiting as a holiday destination. It has become the Best Career in the World for sure!
Thanks Ben for those tips and insights! We appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule (pun half intended) to let us know how things are in Queensland and congrats on your new contract. I am so keen to explore Queensland further, and reading your story really makes me want to see it NOW!