More than 18,000 people from nearly 200 countries have applied for the "best job in the world," hoping to earn good money for lazing around on an Australian island, officials said Tuesday.
The deadline for applications for the post of "caretaker" of tropical Hamilton Island on the Great Barrier Reef looms on Sunday -- and the competition is already tough, the Queensland state government warned.
"We've been really overwhelmed by the lengths people are going to to draw attention to their applications," Tourism Queensland spokeswoman Nicole McNaughton told AFP.
"Potential applicants have sent out press releases, sourced their own media coverage and established websites dedicated to their applications."
Candidates are required to create a video application in English of up to one minute explaining why they are uniquely qualified for the job.
The job pays 150,000 Australian dollars (about 100,000 US dollars) for six months and includes free airfares from the successful candidate's home country to the white sands and clear waters of Hamilton Island.
In return, the winner will be expected to have as much fun as he or she can -- soaking up the sun, swimming, snorkeling, sailing -- and report to a global audience via weekly blogs, photo diaries and video updates.
The successful candidate -- who will stay in a multi-million-dollar three-bedroom beach home -- must be over 18, a "fantastic and charismatic" communicator, and able to speak and write English.
The campaign is a key element in a drive to promote the northeastern Australian state's 18-billion-dollar a year tourism industry during the tough global economic climate, officials say.
A shortlist of 50 applicants will be announced on March 2, the final 11 candidates will be flown to the island for interviews from May 3, and the winner will be announced on May 6, Tourism Queensland said in a statement.
Job-seekers can apply on www.islandreefjob.com.