Hayley Leake was crowned the sole survivor of Australian Survivor: Brains v Brawn with the academic receiving five votes, narrowly beating George Mladenov, who received four.
The winner receives a huge $500,000 prize money, with Hayley saying the cash would change her life greatly.
"I am in complete shock at what's just happened. I am the Sole Survivor. I have learned that I can do way more than I think I can. I survived for 48 days," she said. "I made massive blindsides. I was a physical beast out here and I never thought I would be."
The academic admitted the game was harder than she could have imagined, "I'm proud of being able to come out here and play a really big strategic game. I didn't want to hide in the shadows."
"I wanted to make big moves from the start and I did that. I think the relationships surprised me most about this game. I thought I could come in here and deceive people and vote them out and I wouldn't feel bad about it.
"But the truth is, you make really close friendships here and it really is difficult to vote someone out of this game."
She continued, "I have wanted to play this game for so long and half a million dollars is gonna change my life. And just never, ever, ever giving up, I think is the secret to winning."
Taking to Instagram, Hayley added, "Playing Survivor was a childhood dream that I never thought was possible. I have always been that person, sitting on the couch at home, yelling to the players through the TV to make a move. It is surreal that now I am the Sole Survivor!
"Thanks to all the fans that keep this show alive. Your support has been unbelievable and I am so grateful. A huge thanks to all the incredible players this season. Although Survivor is a cut-throat game, I have no doubt I am walking away with lifelong friends.
"King George, Survivor has never seen a player like you. I am so proud to stand by your side, to call you a friend, and to have shared this incredible journey together."
Host Jonathan LaPaglia shared a Photoshopped photo of Hayley as a queen, writing, "ALL HAIL the QUEEN! Congrats on fulfilling your childhood dream HAYLEY. You are undeniably a well rounded and worthy champion of this game. You are SOLE SURVIVOR BRAINS v BRAWN!"
Fans agreed with one user writing, "Congrats Hayley, you played such a great game, incredible to watch."
"Such an icon. Humble, but firm. Congratulations Hayley!" another wrote.
"SHE DID IT!! We have been truly blessed to watch her play. This couldn’t have happened to a bigger fan or a better player. I believe she’s the best to ever play and I will forever be forcing people to watch this season to witness her greatness. Queen Hayley forever," someone else added.
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