When Tourism Australia advertised for a chance to live and work in the outdoors for six months for 'the best job in the world' they were deluged with over 330,000 applications. Positions ranged from Chief Funster for the state of New South Wales to Wildlife Caretaker for South Australia. We speak to Allan Dixon, 28, who became the Northern Territory's Outback Adventurer.
Sounds like a tough job
It was a very tough job.
What did you do?
I got to experience everything the state had to offer. I visited Ayers Rock (Uluru), the tropical north and Darwin, I went to places nobody goes and experienced the mountains and local culture. I became a 'cameleer', camped wild, went on a helicopter-pub crawl and did everything there is to do with crocodiles, from feeding them and swimming with them – to eating them.
They're a bit like calamari.
Sounds like an adventure
It was a bit of a contrast to Ireland.
What were you doing there?
I was the guy sitting on his computer coding for eight to nine hours a day. I thought there's more to life than this. Australia was a bit of a change. You don't really see anything treacherous in Ireland. In Australia you live on survival mode. Wherever there's water you have the ingrained feeling there could be a crocodile. I stepped over a [highly venomous] King Brown snake once. You have to be really cautious.
You swam with crocs?
In Darwin there's a thing called the 'cage of death'. You're put in this perspex tube and lowered down into the water. I'd never even seen a croc before in my life. You're just inches from them – you can really sense they're a killing machine.
I went on a six-day day trek along the Larapinta trail across the West MacDonnell Ranges. This is pretty much in the centre of Australia, 40°C heat, red rock, completely remote. We did a 100km hike. It was that experience where you're constantly wondering, have I enough water, have I got enough sun protection, am I going to die? At one point I saw a plane overhead. I've never felt so remote in my life.
Any other highlights?
One of the most ridiculous things I did was go on a helicopter pub crawl. In Australia, things are done on a grander scale. The people are a rowdy bunch – farmers, cattlemen, the cowboys of Australia. It was too hot to drink large amounts of beer though.
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