Alone Australia season two takes it to new extremes

Headshot of Wenlei Ma
Wenlei Ma
The Nightly
3 Min Read
Why would anyone voluntarily put themselves in this situation, and without a full-blown zombie apocalypse to escape?
Why would anyone voluntarily put themselves in this situation, and without a full-blown zombie apocalypse to escape? Credit: SBS

If you prefer your holidays cocooned in a five-star Parisian hotel or strolling through the bustling streets of Tokyo, then even watching Alone Australia is enough to give you heart palpitations.

Being left to fend for yourself in a hostile environment with nothing but bare survivalist items and your wits is like a dystopian nightmare for anyone who prefers freshly laundered French linen to a damp sleeping bag.

Why would anyone voluntarily put themselves in that situation, and without a full-blown zombie apocalypse to escape? Oh, right. There’s $250,000 at stake and, of course, those all-important bragging rights if you outlast all your rivals.

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The documentary-cum-reality competition returns for a second season this week after a bumper first series which averaged 1.2 million viewers per episode across SBS’s broadcast channels and streaming platform.

The first season’s winner, Gina Chick, won after 67 days in the eerie Tasmanian wilderness, and became a hero to fans. Many of this year’s contestants have set themselves the goal of 100 days. Good luck to them.

The action takes place this season on New Zealand’s South Island, a picturesque holiday destination to be sure, but the Alone experience is much more terrifying than practising yoga on the shores of Lake Wanaka on your last getaway. There’s no Fergburger for lunch.

As the 10 contestants are dropped off in isolated spots tens of kilometres away from any humans, infrastructure or each other, audiences are warned the area is known for its deadfalls, earthquakes and flash flooding.

Alone Australia is back for a second season.
Leanne is a world heritage Aboriginal programs officer. She can fish and track and wants to use the winnings to buy her own piece of land. Credit: SBS

A rainbow appears in the sky for 60-year-old Mike, a resilience coach and former rugby player, and he becomes emotional and declares it the “most incredible thing I’ve ever seen” but you know the moment will not last. What lies ahead for Mike and nine others is harrowing.

Adapted from an American format that’s been running since 2015, Alone Australia markets itself as the ultimate survival game. The important distinction is to win, you don’t need to strategise against or manipulate anyone else. It’s a battle against yourself.

Trying to influence someone’s else fate is difficult but being confronted with only your own is even harder. There are no distractions or diversions, only your own thoughts and actions. That’s tougher than standing on a log for hours on end or trying to outpace a competitor on a wall-climb.

Can you sit there and let the vicious sandflies swarm and bite you, no reprieve in sight? Will you give in and hunt and kill an animal for food, breaking eight years of vegetarianism?

Alone Australia is back for a second season.
Rick is a former SAS soldier and a survival educator. Credit: SBS

As Chace, 27 and a defence force engineer, says after finally succeeding in building a fire, the flame wasn’t necessary for his practical survival that first day, but it was important for his mental state, knowing he could overcome that challenge.

It was like during the dark throes of COVID lockdowns and for those who found themselves floundering the most, even doing one load of laundry was a big deal because it meant you accomplished something, as small and insignificant as it may seem.

The physical strain may beat down your body but Alone Australia knows the truth that in life, what happens in your mind is what really matters.

Alone Australia season two starts on SBS and SBS On Demand on Wednesday, March 27

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