It's been a long journey, but Traveller, our sponsor, Geckos Adventures, and hundreds of entrants have reached the end of the road in our inaugural Young Travel Writer Competition.
After an exhausting judging process, we've identified a winner, and second and third-place getters.
On behalf of my Traveller colleagues and fellow judges, Craig Platt, Annie Dang, Ben Groundwater, as well as Geckos Adventures' Lucy Piper (see below), we're delighted to publish the winning entry by Jacqueline Dunlop, 25, of Canberra.
The second and third-placed entries, by Hugh Carveth, 27, of North Sydney, and James McQuiggin, 25, of Scarborough, Queensland, will appear on www.Traveller.com.au over the next few weeks.
Jacqueline, 25, an adviser for a non-for-profit organisation in Canberra, is a keen traveller who has hiked the Everest base camp, surfed in Sri Lanka and been a horse riding instructor in the Canadian Rockies.
For her highly evocative entry, she chose to highlight a destination closer to home – the Torres Strait, Queensland. As Jacque-line writes, it's a distinct part of our backyard that few of us get to experience. To read Jacqueline's winning story, click here.
Jacqueline has scored a remarkable prize: a 48-night (yes, 48 nights) Epic Central America holiday with return flights and a $2000 pre-paid credit card.
"I am thrilled to be chosen as the winner of the competition and to share my story about the Torres Strait," she says. "Young travellers bring a different perspective to travel writing and it is wonderful that Fairfax Media [publisher of Traveller.com.au] and Geckos Adventures have provided opportunities for aspiring young writers to get in and have a go. I look forward to sharing stories from the big Central American adventure ahead."
Lucy Piper, head of content at Geckos Adventures, part of the Intrepid Group, says the competition offered young writers the chance to "get out of their comfort zone and see if they have the capacity to write about travel" in a way that can be interesting to broader audiences.
"It is also a great way for brands and publications to provide mentoring to the upcoming generation of writers," she says. "Working as a travel writer and producer is the most rewarding career in the world as it helps you to travel better, by asking more questions and watching more closely. There is so much to learn when you get out there and start telling stories about the world."
Congratulations to our winners.
Anthony Dennis is the travel editor at Fairfax Media.
48-night Epic Central America with return flights and $2000 pre-paid credit card
28-night Epic African Adventure with return flights
32-night Epic South East Asia with return flights
THE WINNING STORY
Read the winning story of Traveller Young Writers Competition 2017 by Jacqueline Dunlop here.