Alone Australia is set in paradise with hunting gear

These 10 contestants face dehydration, starvation, relentless rain, snow, freezing subantarctic fronts, Roaring Forties winds ... these are just some of their challenges in their mission to win.

These 10 contestants face dehydration, starvation, relentless rain, snow, freezing subantarctic fronts, Roaring Forties winds ... these are just some of their challenges in their mission to win. Photo: SBS

Following its history-making ratings win in the wilds of southwest Tasmania, the self-documented survivalist series Alone Australia returns with a surprise new location, and some new hunting and gathering rules.

An average of 1.24 million people tuned in every week to watch bush craft teacher Gina Chick make history and survive 67 days in the wild in 2023.

The SBS series became the break-out television hit of that year.

Now, another 10 new contestants vying for a $250,000 prize have been dropped into a secret location, and this time it’s across the ditch on New Zealand’s South Island.

“We don’t give that [the location] away … it’s a mystery … it’s on a beautiful lake … Tasmania was ruggedly beautiful and where we are is classically beautiful – she’s a supermodel every way you look, [but a place] where you are easily tricked, she can turn on you very quickly,” executive producer Riima Daher told The New Daily.

Sounds like a Lord of the Rings location?

“Very much … the first time I went out there I expected a dinosaur to come around the corner. It’s truly remote, spectacular and beautiful but it tricks you into forgetting it can be dangerous as well.

“You’re living in the land of earthquakes, tree avalanches … it’s formidable as much as beautiful,” Daher says.

And the big drawcard for choosing an off-shore location for season two?

Proper tools for hunting and gathering wild pig, possum, tahr and red deer.

Unlike in Tasmania where survivalists were not permitted to use crossbows and arrows, these contestants – who Daher describes as an “eclectic mix” – will be armed with what looks like state-of-the-art 21st century weaponry.

“New Zealand has a strong hunting culture, so there’s a lot of practice around the use of hunting equipment there, a lot of people hunt their own meat in New Zealand … [there are] a lot of wild animals available for hunting.”

‘The whole game is a mental game’

Alone Australia has been billed as the most authentic reality series on Australian television.

It follows the success of the US version, which started in 2015 and is going strong 10 series later.

Roland Welker, who made the cut from 40,000 applicants for season seven and survived a hundred days in the Canadian Arctic, took home the largest cash prize in the show’s history – $US1 million.

Daher describes Alone Australia‘s first winner, Chick, as “relatable”.

“Everyone has asked themselves could I survive a plane crash? What would happen if I did? And what would I do?

“You’re getting to watch people play that scenario out with all the hypotheticals.

“What was great about Gina – and all of them – was the fact we had authentic humans who were having a go.”

So who’s in this year?

Contestants are dropped into a wilderness location alone, they have to build shelters, have no contact with the outside world, catch their own food and self-document their experience.

They have 10 survival items.

There are only three ways to exit – voluntary tap out, medical extraction or as the winner.

  • Andreas, 42, NSW personal trainer and Swedish-Australian subsistence hunter, a former model living the inner-city life.
  • Chace, 27, Queensland Defence Force combat engineer, he can think tactically and pivot quickly – critical skills for adapting to the foreign land he’s about to be dropped into.
  • Jack, 55, Victorian tradesman and wild game hunter.
  • Jason, 36, NSW youth worker, former rugby player and coach, a proud Yanyuwa, Waanyi/Garawa man and Jungai.
  • Krzysztof, 39, Victorian aquaculturalist, Polish refugee family with a rich history of rebellion and resilience in his genes.
  • Leanne, 41, Victorian World Heritage Aboriginal Programs Officer.
  • Mike, 60, NSW resilience coach, former Waratahs player and rugby union coach.
  • Rick, 58, Queensland survival educator and former SAS soldier.
  • Suzan, 54, Victorian wilderness adventure guide.
  • Tamika, 51, Queensland off-gridder and former police officer.

Daher says the team are “gagging” at how series two will be received, adding that Chick will be narrating a podcast so fans can follow all the twists and turns.

Alone Australia returns March 27 on SBS and SBS on Demand

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