Ben Southall is a happy ambassador after diving around the wreck of HMAS Brisbane yesterday.
Ben Southall is a happy ambassador after diving around the wreck of HMAS Brisbane yesterday. John Mccutcheon

Ben has the best job in the world

HE has definitely got the best job in the world.

Ben Southall always gets to visit the best places – but how did his two-hour dive on HMAS Brisbane yesterday rate?

“It’s definitely one of the best dives in the world,” he said.

His summary has to be taken with a grain of sea salt, though. He has dived about 60 times, but HMAS Brisbane was only his second wreck dive.

The 35-year-old Englishman won a State Government competition last year to have The Best Job in the World, cruising the Whitsunday Islands and blogging to the world about it.

Now he has been given a new job – convincing the Kiwis that they need to cross the ditch to soak up the Sunshine Coast lifestyle.

Judging by his enthusiasm yesterday after he stepped off the Sunreef dive boat, he should have no problem convincing anyone.

Being able to “go inside” a warship, rub his fingers on the green moss and make eye-contact with a turtle were “shine” experiences this world traveller is unlikely to forget.

Ben was guest of Sunshine Coast Destination Limited for a 24-hour taste of the Coast to write a feature article in a special Queensland edition of the glossy magazine Let’s Travel.

A Destination spokesman said it was hoped the article, to be published next year, would be read by high-income New Zealanders who are 40-plus and well-travelled. With New Zealand officially out of recession, the Kiwis might just have some spare cash.

“It’s part of our strategy to show the depth of experiences on offer on the Coast and the magazine is a perfect platform from which to do it,” the spokesman said.

See Finda's guide to diving spots on the Sunshine Coast.

See Finda's Sunshine Coast diving image gallery.

WHY THE KIWIS ARE WHERE THE MONEY IS:

• The New Zealand economy is technically out of recession and showing signs of recovery.

• The New Zealand market holds significant value to the Australian tourism industry – because of proximity and high repeat visitation rates

• New Zealanders see Australia as a particular type of holiday – Fly and Flop, Visiting Family and Relatives and Events.

• New Zealand Empty Nesters are a growing market: time rich, wealthier and looking for new experiences – both high and low budget – both close and far away.

• Events remain extremely popular at motivating New Zealanders into booking Aussie holidays.



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