It was the job no one wanted. A $150,000 tourism role in the King Country.

The catch? Well, there was none.

Forgotten World Adventures, based in Taumarunui, went on a worldwide search to find the right person for the role of General Manager at the company.

It took seven months and made headlines around the world - but eventually Aucklander Tracey Goodall was the lucky one to land the job no one appeared to want.


For most city slackers leaving Auckland isn't an attractive prospect even with the likelihood of a wage increase. But for Goodall and her husband Michael Mudroncik, it was a leap of faith that paid off.

"My partner was a driver at the time and would drive for 12 or 13 hours a day, plus another hour and a half on each side to get home," Goodall told the Herald.

"We couldn't get through traffic and over time that type of lifestyle begins to impact you. I told myself I'd only live somewhere that was within a one hour walk to work.

"Auckland is a great city but we'd spend every second week getting out of the big smoke to go mountain-biking or hiking. To make the most of it you need to leave work early on a Friday.

"It may have been different if the trains were operational and getting out of the rural parts of the North Island were more accessible. But we didn't want to waste our weekends having to travel to just escape Auckland for a few days."

For many families in big cities, making a move to small-town New Zealand comes with many risks.

"I was doing the Timber Trail and me and my partner said 'Wow, what a beautiful part of the world'. I made a throwaway comment saying 'Imagine if we lived somewhere like this'."

But their dream would soon become reality when a surprise job advert offering a tasty $150,000 per annum was doing the rounds on social media.


"When I went back to work someone mentioned the $150,000 job being advertised in Taumarunui and it was just half an hour down the road from the place I had fallen in love with the week before.

"It also suited my partner's lifestyle and meant we wouldn't spend our time commuting for work or for getting out of the city just to do the things we love.

"I hadn't been looking for another job. But it was [about] choosing a lifestyle at the end of the day."

After discussing the move with her husband, the 41-year-old took the job no one wanted.

The pair said goodbye to Auckland and welcomed in Taumarunui - population 3500.

The Forgotten World Adventures Owner struggled to attract a manager to the $150,000 position at his Taumarunui business. Photo / Forgotten World Adventures
The Forgotten World Adventures Owner struggled to attract a manager to the $150,000 position at his Taumarunui business. Photo / Forgotten World Adventures

Forgotten World Adventures offers numerous tours of New Zealand's changing North Island scenery, including railway and jet boat tours.

Popular among Kiwis, the company, under Goodall's leadership, is now attracting visitors from around the globe.

"We believe we can go international. We have amazing staff who have incredible local knowledge and we're going to the next level."

Goodall loves her shopping, but she's happy to swap the mall for the Tongariro Crossing and lives close enough to walk to work every day.

Mountain biking, hiking, and regular trips to numerous tourist locations are just minutes away, along with the change of pace of living in a small town.

"I can't imagine living in Auckland anymore. New Zealand is such a beautiful country, especially out of the big cities.

"The community has more than exceeded my expectations, actually. People are just way too friendly down here.

"Walk down the street and people talk to you. It's totally different to Auckland in that regard."

The couple now own their own three-bedroom home and can live the lifestyle they have always wanted.

While the dream job was a big factor driving Goodall to move out of the city and into rural New Zealand, she says anyone contemplating such a move shouldn't be fearful and instead embrace the lifestyle change.

"Think about what you want. If you want the cafe lifestyle then Auckland isn't a bad place at all.

"But if you would prefer an outdoor lifestyle and you want some of the stresses that come with city lifestyles taken away from you then it's definitely a great option.

"I understand there are not as many jobs out of the big cities but there are so many lifestyle benefits to making such a move."