Alone Australia winner reveals 'game-changing' item that helped her win

Alone Australia's Gina revealed she didn't want to leave the competition despite winning.

Viewers of Alone Australia were ecstatic to learn fan-favourite Gina Chick won the competition after outlasting runner-up Mike Atkinson by three days, with her experience being wrapped up by production on day 67.

Gina's victory makes her the first winner of Alone Australia and one of only two women to win in the entire Alone series. She will also take home $250,000 in prize money.

Alone Australia winner Gina
Alone Australia winner Gina reveals to Yahoo Lifestyle what surprising item helped secure her win in the competition. Photo: SBS

'My biggest concern'

Mike and Gina surprised fans by lasting over twice as long as their nearest competitor Michael Wallace, who left on day 30, however, the rewilding facilitator tells Yahoo Lifestyle she wasn't ready to leave on day 67 and wanted to stay until at least day 90.

"I went in there with a plan to go to 90 days and as far as I was concerned, that was completely non-negotiable," Gina tells us. "I was not going to accept anything else other than 90 days minimum or them pulling me out because I'd hurt myself with a catastrophic injury."


Gina joked that getting injured was "actually a big risk" going in because she's prone to injuring herself in regular life.

"Traditionally when I'm carving spoons, I will often you know, give myself some pretty nice cuts on my fingers, which doesn't bother me, I just kind of glue them up," she shares. "But I know that a medic would be a little less cavalier about things like that."

Alone Australia's Gina when she first entered the competition
Gina when she first entered the competition. Photo: SBS

"And on the very first day, I nicked myself with with my very sharp saw and had to like deal with a whole bunch of blood, and I think I did a piece going, 'Oh my god guys, it's day one, I'm already tapping myself out with an injury!' So that was probably one of my biggest concerns, that I would hurt myself and have to get tapped out or that I would starve and they would have to drag me out.

"But apart from that, 90 days was going to be my minimum, and my birthday was going to be in another 10 days. So I was actually cracking for 100."

She adds that she would have even preferred if they'd let her get to 70 days so she could have a round number and be able to say she lasted 10 weeks.

Mike was taken out of the competition after a medical team decided it was unsafe for him to continue in the competition as he hadn't been able to find much food and his blood pressure was too low.

"I still had food, I was really happy and finding a deeper rhythm there," Gina explains. "There's a part of me that wishes that Mike had been able to hang on or get some more food so that we could duke it out for 90 to 100 days, because that would have been an epic competition."


Alone Australia's Gina uses salt on her food
Gina reveals her secret weapon was a block of salt, which she could use to make her food taste much better. Photo: SBS

Gina tells us that she left the competition as a "wild person", adding she was "bemused" by comments from viewers who claimed she was able to find so much food due to "luck", sharing that it was actually due to her "scientific" approach to sourcing food.

Her ability to catch fish was certainly one reason she was able to last in the competition for so long, however, Gina had another secret weapon that she claims played a huge role in her win.

While every other participant brought a sleeping bag with them, Gina chose to use a possum-skin coat she brought as a blanket to keep her warm at night, this meant she could choose one more item that would end up being incredibly useful.

So, what was that item? It may surprise viewers to learn the item that helped Gina win was a simple one – salt!

"In retrospect, I would say that was probably one of the most important items," she explains. "I mean, things like a saw and a hatchet were absolutely vital, but the one thing that probably kept me there, that wasn't just purely practical, that actually made a huge difference in keeping me there was salt.

"Because to be able to salt food when you're starving is a game changer. To be able to catch an eel and fry it in its own fat and then salt it and so it becomes like this deep fried incredible flesh that melts in your mouth and it's salty – I felt like I was eating a chicken burger. And that like to be able to look forward to that was a huge thing. It was an absolutely massive thing."

Gina continues, "I did have a moment, the first time I used the salt, when I probably used a little bit too much and ended up vomiting spectacularly on national television up close and personal so sorry everyone about that. But apart from that, yeah, the salt was a game changer."

What actually happens when you leave Alone Australia

Alone Australia's Gina with a fish
Gina was ecstatic when she caught her first of many fish. Photo: SBS

Gina also shares that when you leave Alone Australia, even though you are starving, you are not allowed to eat whatever you want.

"When we left the spot we would be taken to a staging area and in that staging area there would be like the final interview and just the all of the wrapping up things and then they gave us our first meal," she says. "And when we're out there on this kind of a challenge, we didn't know that there was a refeeding programme when we came out."

Gina explains, "So I think everyone probably had these food fantasies like 'Oh, I'm gonna have this fabulous steak, I'm gonna have chocolate ice cream, I'm gonna have this, I'm gonna have that.' And what actually happens is there's a very precise and strict programme of what calories are allowed in what ratios because if too much sugar hits the system in starvation, you can have a heart attack apparently."

Speaking of her first meal, Gina jokes she was like a 'banshee' when it was brought to her.

"I sat down on the stairs of this little building, because I couldn't go inside it, and they brought me my first meal," she begins with a laugh. "I was like a banshee – I was still in my possum coat, I was filthy, like my hands were black, my face was black and then they give me a lasagna and I'm surprised I didn't eat the hand of the woman who gave it to me, because once I smelled it, it's like, 'Cheese you're giving me cheese! Oh my goodness!' So yeah, the first meal which was a lot smaller than I probably would have wanted turned me into a ravening animal."

And while she's had nine months to consider how she will spend her $250,000 prize money, Gina tells us she's actually not sure how she'll use it yet!

"I have had this secret now for nine months about winning and the money has been part of that secret and it's not like I've had the money like I don't have the money yet, either. So for nine months, I've just been hanging on to this, this amazing thing that I haven't been able to talk about," she says.

"And I buried it, I buried it deeply in myself and almost forgot that it even existed, which is the way I've been able to cope with it. I haven't really spent the money in my head yet, and I'm looking forward to, when the dust settles and I actually get it, thinking about what I might want to do with it. But at the moment, I really don't know."

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