Image: View from Hamilton Island
Laurence Grayson
If you land what Australian tourism officials are billing as “the best job in the world,” forget screensavers — this will be the view from your office for six months.
updated 1/14/2009 12:55:52 PM ET 2009-01-14T17:55:52

Position: Island caretaker. Duties: Lazing around Australia's Great Barrier Reef for six months. Salary: 150,000 Australian dollars ($100,000).

It sounds too good to be true, but it’s for real. Billing it the “Best Job in the World,” Australian tourism officials say they are seeking one lucky person to spend six months relaxing on Hamilton Island, part of the country's Whitsunday Islands, while promoting the destination on a blog.

Within 24 hours, more than 200,000 prospective applicants had clicked onto the Web site advertising the sweet gig.

The eager reaction — and worldwide media attention — delighted tourism officials, who listed the job as part of a AU$1.7 million ($1.1 million) campaign to publicize the charms of northeastern Queensland state.

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“The global response in the first 24 hours has outstripped even our expectations,” Australia’s Tourism Minister Desley Boyle said.

Boyle said the campaign had already reached some 29 million people through television and print media coverage — the equivalent of nearly $10 million in publicity.

While the advertisement is a stunt, the job is still genuine. Applicants must submit a 60-second video application, and 11 finalists will be flown from their home countries to Hamilton Island in May for the final selection process.

Slideshow: Awesome Australia

In exchange for the plush salary, free accommodation in an oceanfront villa and airfare from the winner's home country, the employee will be required to stroll the island's white sand beaches, snorkel, maybe take a dip in the pool — and post photos and videos of his or her experiences on a weekly blog.

As of late Tuesday, at least 200,000 people logged onto the Web site to check out the listing, Boyle said. Only about 200 video applications had been submitted, but officials said they expect thousands more.

Applications are open until Feb. 22. The job begins on July 1.

More on Australia | Great Barrier Reef

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