Ben Southall is a presenter, digital journalist and adventurer. His achievements include beating 35,000 to win the Best Job in the World in 2009 and became the ‘Caretaker of the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef’ in Australia.
In 2008 he climbed five of Africa’s highest mountains and ran five marathons during his circumnavigation of the continent with his Afritrex expedition. During 2011 he kayaked 1600kms along the Great Barrier Reef retracing Captain Cook’s ‘Voyage of Discovery’ with the Best Expedition in the World.
Ben has set a number of world records in the last few years; the Aussie 8 – the fastest ever ascent of the tallest mountain in each state in Australia, and the New Zealand 9 – the fastest ever completion of New Zealand’s Nine Great Walks – totalling 545km in 9 days.
In 2016 Ben and his wife Sophee completed their Best Life in the World expedition – a 55,000km, 12-month drive through 33 countries from Singapore to London. They both run successful travel websites that have become portals for would-be travellers from around the world.
He has presented his own series The Best Job in the World on Nat Geo’s Adventure Channel, which aired in more than 315 million homes in 165 countries and 34 languages. Ben works with the television networks in Australia and writes for a number of print and online communities. He is an Ambassador for Alton College, Tourism Queensland, the University of Queensland Business School, Alpina Watches, and a Patron of Sailabilty, a disabled sailing charity.
Ben’s production company Cinomad creates digital video content and offers social media consultancy for a number of industries. He uses these skills to document and publicise his own adventures around the planet.
The long version
Ben Southall was born in 1975, the son of Margaret and Duncan Southall. Educated at Ropley and Perins Schools, Ben went on to study his A levels at Alton College before moving to Kingston University where he gained a BSc in Automotive Systems Engineering.
Ben spent the next few years swapping the northern and southern hemispheres on a mission to follow summer around the globe, working for Mumm Champagne as an Events Manager, promoting the brand at major sporting events – Cowes Week sailing, Lords cricket, Wimbledon tennis, Henley rowing, Ascot racing and Silverstone F1 and the Round-the-World Yacht Race in Cape Town.
From this posting in South Africa his love of the African continent grew, with extended travels along the coastline being the best place to spend the UK’s winter…and his hard-earned cash. Having found a base in the town of Port Edward, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Ben worked as a tour guide for Wild Coast Tours taking backpackers and tourists on local adventures.
In 2000, Ben embarked on his first overland expedition to witness a total solar eclipse in Mozambique, followed by another a year later in Botswana – enough to whet the appetite for later expeditions Whilst working at the Royal Star & Garter Home in Richmond as an Event Manager, Ben developed a love of running and endurance events, creating the Charlie Hankins 24hr Challenge in 2006.
In 2008 Ben departed on his solo adventure, Afritrex. An ambitious overland expedition to circumnavigate Africa in his trusty Land Rover – Colonel Mustard. Together they travelled over 65,000 kilometres through 38 countries. Returning to the UK was short lived however. Ben won Tourism Queensland’s internationally-acclaimed Best Job in the World beating 35,000 other applicants from around the world to the title of Island Caretaker. He spent six months living on Hamilton Island whilst exploring every metre of Queensland’s coastline and diving the length of the Great Barrier Reef, filming, photographing and blogging about his experiences.
2011 saw Ben embark on his next challenge; the Best Expedition in the World – a four month, 1600km kayak along the Great Barrier Reef retracing the route of Captain Cook back in 1770.
In 2013 Ben, Luke Edwards and Pat Kinsella set a world record for the fastest ascent of the tallest mountain in each state in Australia - the Aussie 8. The subsequent 42 minute documentary aired in Australia on the 7 Network and can be viewed here.
As a follow-up to the Aussie 8, in 2014 the team of set off on another world record challenge, this time in New Zealand. With the backing of Tourism New Zealand and the Department of Conservation they took on the 9 Great Walks of New Zealand and completed the 545km in 9 days. Their documentary aired on both sides of the Tasman Sea and can been viewed here.
2015 was the year when Ben and his wife Sophee took to the road in Colonel Mustard once again, with their Best Life in the World expedition - a 55,000km drive from Singapore to London, through 33 countries. Find out more here.
Ben has worked with television, radio and print media from around the world including the BBC, CNN, Sky, ABC and Oprah Winfrey. He holds the unofficial world record for the most interviews in a 24 hour period – 124!
Ben has completed over 19 marathons to date in Morocco, Kenya, Australia, the US, Japan and Scotland and England, including two 90km Comrades races in South Africa. Ben is an Ambassador for Alton College, University of Queensland Business School, Tourism Queensland and Alpina Watches, and the Patron of Sailability.
He is a keen supporter of the Royal Star & Garter Homes, FARM-Africa, IDE-UK, ZigZag Foundation and Sailability. Ben married his sweetheart, Sophee in 2012 after meeting her whilst emceeing an awards ceremony in the Whitsundays, Queensland in 2010.
Named after the Cludeo character of the same colour, Ben’s 1986 Land Rover Defender has been his home, office and sidekick on numerous adventures since he restored it in 2004
On moving to Australia Ben brought The Colonel across to join him ready for the next overland adventure. Watch this space!