The bow & arrow season of Alone Australia

When they got the tick to use a bow and arrow, Alone producers had their heart set on a New Zealand location.

When Alone producers learned they could use a bow and arrow at a New Zealand location it soon became very clear where a second season of the hit SBS series would film.

“It’s a lot trickier in in parts of Australia to be able to hunt with bow and arrow freely on on land, whereas in New Zealand hunting is done a lot by locals,” says Executive Producer Riima Daher.

“There are lots of people, especially on the South Island, who sustain themselves in an urban environment who will go out and hunt deer and basically have that entire deer butchered and it will provide their food source until they run out and hunt again. And same with fishing. So it’s quite accepted.

“It’s legislated and run really well and because of that it’s a lot easier to get a bow and arrow licence and go hunting in New Zealand that is in Australia.”

Daher won’t disclose exactly where on the South Island (Aotearoa’s Te Waipounamu) filming took place last winter, but confirms an inland freshwater and “stunning, stunning location.”

“We are generally looking for a connected waterway, so that we can easily access all 10 people but also spread them out far enough that they’re not going to bump into each other and that they are truly isolated,” she explains.

“We’re looking for somewhere that offers enough resources”

“We’re looking for a large piece of land that sits around a large lake. Then we’re looking for somewhere that offers enough resources so that a survivalist can keep themselves fed and warm and dry, and build a shelter, hunt and fish.”

She adds, “I can’t say exactly what the land tenure is. But the land is accessible to the public that we’re on.”

10 more Australian survivalists are stripped of modern possessions, contact and comforts, to self-document their experience – the last one standing winning $250,000. With no camera crews or help from the production team, they must fend for themselves, sourcing food, water, shelter, and warmth using only their wits, 10 survival items, and the natural resources at hand.

“Even the word ‘cast’ feels weird when you’re referring to these participants because these are almost the anti-cast and the anti-TV person. They’re all in it for the experience rather than the Instagram followers or the fame. Even something like a media launch (last week) is really foreign to them and really quite uncomfortable,” says Daher.

“There’s a good age range in there. But generally speaking, there’s a lot of older people and I think that’s because this is an experience or an experiment that really benefits from experience, wisdom, life experience…. from having tried and done it and tried again.

“The money almost feels like a bonus”

“I often asked myself if we didn’t have prize money attached to the series would we have as many participants? I honestly think that we would! There’s a kudos that comes with being part of this series and there’s a kudos that comes with winning. The money almost feels like a bonus, rather than the goal for most of these people.”

While New Zealand may be famously snake-free, there are still local perils to test the participants.

“I don’t think anything compares to Australia in terms of dangerous wildlife when it comes to the small things. In New Zealand you do have the boars, you’ve got wild deer going through the place, you’ve tahr and goats,” she continues.

“But in terms of really dangerous things honestly, the sandflies are probably the most frustrating, difficult thing to put up with. And don’t underestimate them. They’re tiny but they form in the hundreds and thousands and they don’t make a sound. So you don’t know you’re being attacked until they’ve done their job.

“It becomes a mindset to have to get over the fact that you’re being attacked by these things around the clock”

“It’s a nasty bite and it itches for weeks and weeks afterwards. It’s never just one. They’re unrelenting and it’s not like the sun goes down and they go away. They’re there around the clock. They’re nasty and they don’t respond to swatting. So it becomes a mindset to have to get over the fact that you’re being attacked by these things around the clock.

“But the landscape is providing the biggest dangers. Your chances of deadfall go up when you’re in this environment. Large branches and entire trees are just dropping because of the wet soil. As soon as you get wind you’re more likely to have a tree fall over. There’s tree avalanches, mudslides, landslides, and we’re in New Zealand so earthquakes we were also worried about.”

“The unexpected just happens so often throughout this series”

But the drama from the participants begins from the very first episode.

“It is so unpredictable. The unexpected just happens so often throughout this series and Episode One is the episode to launch that,” she teases.

“This series just keeps turning itself on its head. We had no idea which way it was going to go, all the way through to the end.”

Alone Australia premieres 7:30pm Wednesday on SBS.

2 Responses

  1. Redditors have identified the locale as Lake Te Anau. It’s beautiful, and I love hearing the native bird calls (these things make me a bit homesick for NZ even though I haven’t lived there since 1996).

  2. that’s interesting…i wonder how that worked?i’m guessing all the contestants were told about the bow and arrow thing far in advance,so they could include that in their 10 items and maybe get a licence if they didn’t already have 1.we should find out tonight.and another thing..maybe i’ve been living under a rock…but…no snakes at all in nz?amazing what i/we learn by reading david’s stuff…lol.

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