Tim had a yarn with Gina Chick (@gigiamazonia) the day after she came off the first season of Alone Australia. They talk about Ugg Boots, the right way to cook an eel, and how to connect with the earth and each other.


This article contains spoilers for Alone Australia Season 1.


The finale of Alone Australia was a wild ride as two serious outdoors-people with often very different approaches battled it out for over a month. It was the longest time in Alone’s many seasons that the final two have spent blindly trying to outlast each other, 34 days to be exact, before Mike was eventually extracted on medical grounds.

This article is all about Gina, the nature-frothing rewilding facilitator who captured Australia’s heart with her dancing, sun-bathing, grit, and determination, both on the show and through the challenges she’s faced in life.

My favourite Gina quote? ‘I’m not alone out here’. It was midway through the season and for me, it solidified Gina as a frontrunner in the contest. To become a part of nature, instead of fighting against it, seemed like a powerful approach. But would it work in the harsh winter of lutruwita Tasmania?

Obviously, yes, it did, so I asked her all about it.

Read more: Alone Australia: Where is Alone Australia Filmed?


Interview with Gina Chick – Winner of Alone Australia, promo photo, SBS

Gina was an imposing figure before the series began

Tim Ashelford: Gina! It must be a crazy day for you right now.

Gina Chick: Oh my god, my mind is well and truly blown. But I think that’s been happening by degrees.

There’s a lot to cover in my recap, the final two episodes covered so many days!

Yeah, a long time. I think people thought it would only go for another three or four days, not another 40.

100%. I thought that as well. How long do you think you could have stayed out there?

I was in for the long haul. I just caught six eels about three or four days before and all in one night. And it was the most hectic, amazing night. They were pretty much throwing themselves, it felt like they were jumping out of the water. I’d eaten one of them and I’d smoked the other five. I still had wallaby left too. 

So I probably had a good two weeks left of proper food, at least ten days. And I was confident enough about my food production that I wasn’t really worried about finding more, especially after hacking how to get the eels, and there’s just so much fat in them. 


Interview with Gina Chick – Winner of Alone Australia, screenshot, fish, infrared

Turns out Gina was eating eel too, in addition to salted pademelon, trout, worms, and saw sedge grass

The only thing that I think would’ve really taken me out would’ve been an injury or scurvy or something. Not enough greens. I was eating the saw sedge, but I didn’t really like it very much. So yeah, I was just like, ‘Give me the eel’.

Yeah, I was wondering about that, because I don’t think we saw you eat an eel once on the show.

No, which is a shame because the way I ate eel was I didn’t skin it. I was watching them skin it going ‘Oh my god, that’s the best bit. That’s where all the fat is!’. I just cut a section and then fried it on the lid of my pan with heaps of salt. And the oil then deep-fried it so the skin turned into this crispy batter.


Interview with Gina Chick – Winner of Alone Australia, screenshot, worms

Gina famously ate fried worms, but it turns out she also unlocked the secret to the perfect eel fillet

Oh yum.

It was amazing. I was just lying there in front of the camera going ‘Oh my god, help me now’. I’m just eating these incredible feasts of what tasted like a chicken burger.


You know you get those fancy chicken burgers where you get the kimchi? It tasted like the chicken out of them.

Amazing, like katsu! What was it like watching your experience and the edit, especially watching Mike and the 34 days where you were the only ones out there?

All in all, I feel like I’ve had such a dream run. The edit really did show my personality. I basically kicked off my shoes and danced in the moss the first moment I got there, and I played every day. I was having a ball, and every now and then some emotional storm would come through and I’d just ride that. I feel really lucky and blessed to have had my story told with sensitivity.

For the last 34 days that Mike and I were both out there, I’d extrapolate what I did in that first 30 and then double it. And that’s basically what was happening for the last 30 days. 


Interview with Gina Chick – Winner of Alone Australia, screenshot, pademelon

Gina tackled a pademelon while going for a wee, she was the only contestant to catch a mammal

Mike and I probably would have kept going to Christmas if we could have. I really, really love and respect Mike and his refusal to quit. The way that no matter what got thrown at him, he was just like ‘Oh, okay, well where was the thing that went wrong in that one? Let me just figure that out so that I can try and fix that’. And gradually he problem solves his way down to efficiency. 

I think that if he had had some more body fat on him to start, or if he had caught just a few more eels, it could have been a very different result.


Interview with Gina Chick – Winner of Alone Australia, screenshot, pademelon

Roo jerky in a suitably terrifying Midsommar-esque arrangement

Totally right. Mentally as well, I think that was the biggest difference between you two. He would think intelligently, but get quite frustrated. And you only seemed to get angry once that I saw, but I guess you got upset a bunch of times? What pulled you through those tougher alone moments when you were missing your village and your family?

I’m not afraid of my emotions, so a tough emotion for me isn’t really tough. It’s just an emotion. What makes it tough is the story that I would tell about it. So if I’m feeling loneliness, that’s just a feeling. That’s loneliness. If loneliness means I don’t want to be there, now we’ve got a problem.

But for me, loneliness didn’t mean I didn’t want to be there. It just meant that I was feeling loneliness. And it was the same thing when I was grieving for Blaise. They handled that so beautifully when I had my little vigil. That was grief. Grief demands to be felt, and it has a story and a song. And then by feeling it all the way through, the next day, I was in gratitude. So I’m very confident with that.


Interview with Gina Chick – Winner of Alone Australia, screenshot, crying

There were heartbreaking moments on the show where Gina grappled with her emotions


Getting upset, actually, was probably harder than the grief or loneliness. Like when I was making that rock stove and it kept collapsing! I’m so sad we didn’t get to see it in operation because that thing was amazing. It would just glow from inside and my whole shelter would just be so warm. That was divine.

But the thing that was probably the hardest was the mud. To walk in mud is like walking with a ten-year-old with their arms wrapped around your legs and every step it’s like someone going ‘No!’.

Every day swamping into these acres of mud, which gets more and more chewed up, just to get to the fish, to then fall in the mud because my boot would get stuck, to then get my hands dirty again, and my hands are black and I’ve just got them clean and now they’re black again and everything’s filthy. Yeah, that was probably one of the most challenging parts of it.

By the end of it, I haven’t actually told anyone this bit, I was like I never want to see mud again. Do not send me a mud mask. Do not take me to a mud bath. I don’t care how beautifying mud is. I never want to see mud again for the rest of my life, and I still hold by that.

[Laughs] It was great to see, actually, that you had a limit. I thought you’d just go and walk in barefoot to the mud and dance around in it.

Actually it would’ve been easier if I could, but because there were so many snags and sticks there’d be something that would puncture my foot, and that would be it. If I put a hole in my foot, I’d be out. I’d much prefer to be barefoot in the mud because you can squish your way through it. But that wasn’t mud that I could be barefoot in, sadly.


Interview with Gina Chick – Winner of Alone Australia, screenshot, mud

The mud was relentless


In terms of the ancestral way of being that you were demonstrating (and proving) on the show, what are some things people can do in their lives to put that into action? Especially if they live in the city – our audience is mostly urban people who want to get outdoors– what are some things you think people could do?

It’s so accessible, it’s so easy. There are parks. Every city has parks. Great. Go and find a park and kick off your shoes and close your eyes and squish your feet into the grass and let the sun hit your face. Take a couple of deep breaths. And all of a sudden you’re plugging into the battery of wild nature and allowing energy to come up through your bare feet, which is traditionally how our hunter-gatherer ancestors would spend a large part of their time walking on the Earth, with a footprint, with direct contact, that’s how we’re designed. 

I think that the more we can allow the natural arches of our feet to do their job and not make that first point of disconnection our feet, the more that we can start to connect with our feet into the Earth. I mean, that’s something that people can do just around the house, or even get barefoot shoes and try them.

Another thing is to find a sit spot. Sit spot practice is, across most of the nature connection practices, a very beautiful and simple way of building a relationship with nature. And it can be anywhere, it can be in a park, it can be a beach, but it’s somewhere that you go and it’s the same spot that you go. And you sit and let your vision go soft focus. And then you be, and notice. 

What happens when we get out of the doing and into the being is we start to allow the hamsters on the wheels of our mind – well they probably initially speed up – but then eventually, they start to slow. And once our mind gets out of the way, what can arise is the deeper wisdom in our, I would say, DNA and in our instincts, in the birthright of our hunter-gatherer ancestors and in our connection with the interconnected web of life that is nature. I would say it is alive in all of us, but we just don’t know how to listen.


Interview with Gina Chick – Winner of Alone Australia, screenshot

‘You sit and let your vision go soft focus. And then you be, and notice’


So just to go and sit somewhere regularly and don’t do anything, just don’t do anything. And see what happens. Because after about 15 or 20 minutes, the birds come back and suddenly you might see a bird feeding its baby, or you might see an goanna just wiggling its way through. Or you might notice that the clouds have a green tinge underneath them when there’s an island over the ocean, or just all of the things that are part of us learning how to listen to wild nature. 

That’s so wonderful, that idea of actively slowing down. In a world this fast paced, how are you finding that balance of nature and your fame and your social media presence? For you it seems like it must be especially challenging.

I keep saying that the jungle in lutruwita was the easy thing. That’s a jungle I understand. 67 days out there had some challenges, but that was the easy part. This jungle is a jungle that I don’t understand at all. And luckily, I’ve got some amazing people guiding me. SBS and NITV have been incredibly supportive. The rest of the cast are incredibly supportive as well. We all adore each other, especially beautiful Kate, who I know you guys love almost maybe as much as I do. Kate and Beck, they’re just beautiful. All of them are.

Listen now: Chat with Kate Grarock – What Does it Take to be on Alone Australia?

But yeah, I find it very strange to be learning the language in the same way that I learn the language of wild nature.

I’m having to learn the language of the oceans of social media and the creatures that swim in them. And some of them are little duckies on the surface, and some of them are sharks. And so I’m having to, in that same way, pay attention to those currents and let this teach me, and hopefully not end up with too many scars along the way.

It’s definitely tricky. It’s human interaction, but hacked.

Yeah. But the really interesting thing that I’m finding, and I’ve found this ever since my daughter Blaise died, I blogged on Facebook as a way of dealing with the grief. And also, because people didn’t know what to say. What do you say when someone loses a child? It’s like, ‘Oh god, I’m sorry for your loss’. I didn’t want ‘I’m sorry for your loss’, I wanted to be able to talk. And so I would write these posts that were absolutely honest and from my heart about grief. And in the process, what happened was that people started sharing their own stories of grief and their own experiences. And it became this forum for real interactions on social media. 

What I learned was that by being really open and honest and vulnerable, and being able to write well, being able to turn a phrase, you bypass so many of the jagged edges of social media interactions and connect with the deeper yearning that we all have to connect in a way that’s real. It’s there. We all need it, and we all yearn for it.

When I do write one of these pieces the responses that I get are so beautiful and so real, so genuine and so heartfelt, that I’ve ended up with a community that goes all around the world. And I think that one of the things that I’ve seen from this show is that honesty and vulnerability, everybody on the show has it, and they want it. 

This is the antidote to the reality shows where everything’s contrived and people have to wear their masks for safety. Here we are taking them all off and underneath, we all bleed red. We’ve all got the same stories underneath. So I think that social media can actually be an incredible tool that connects us.

That’s a really cool way to look at it. I’ve dealt with loss recently, and people just say, ‘Hope you’re okay.’ And I’m like, well, I’m not, but do you want to know? Because we can talk about it?’ But there’s this disconnection.

They don’t know what to say, and until we tell them, until we show them what we need, they will just go for ‘I’m sorry for your loss’, or not say anything. I find that by showing that this is the conversation I want to have, people are like, ‘Oh God, thank you. Thank you for telling me. Yeah, I do want to talk about this. And how are you really with that? How are you today? What’s going on for you today? Do you want to talk about it? No, today I don’t.’ But then it might be ‘Yes, actually, I just need someone to listen’.

And you don’t have to fix it. You don’t have to give me platitudes or advice or tell me that this person’s in a better place now, or any of that crap. You can just be here as a human with me and not say anything but be catching my story. That’s ultimately, I think, what we need, someone to see us and hear us and understand.


Interview with Gina Chick – Winner of Alone Australia, promo photo, SBS, all contestants

Gina outlasted nine others who left for mental and physical reasons, not all by choice


That’s such a lovely way to look at it. On a less serious note, do you have any gear regret? Would you have changed anything you took with you on Alone Australia?

Well, there was a thing that I wasn’t allowed to take, and that was Ugg Boots.

I had to take waterproof insulated boots. I went in to bat for just waterproof Uggies, because I knew that one of the hardest things for me out there would be wearing shoes. I knew that I had to wear shoes so that I didn’t get a foot injury that would take me out, because that would be foolish. But for me, wearing shoes is torture. It really is.

So I was like, if I can have Uggies that I can just slip my feet into around camp, then I can deal with putting shoes on to go out and do all the things. But I wasn’t allowed because they ‘weren’t appropriate for the conditions’, which I was very sad about.

Read more: Our First Reactions to the 41 Approved Gear Items for Alone Australia Contestants

Apart from that, oh, my poncho. I took a poncho as my rain jacket. And it was a very expensive, very fabulous poncho. But in those conditions where it’s thick rainforest, everything is full of water. And those little Myrtle beeches catch water. If you hit one, basically half a bathtub falls on your head. The thing with ponchos is there’s so much room. If there’s not much undergrowth, they’re amazing. But crawling through rainforest, it just meant that I ended up saturated a lot, and I just wanted a raincoat. It was a pain in the butt.

Very good to keep in mind. And finally, will we be getting an album?



Yes, you are! I wrote so many songs out there, but I actually recorded my album in 2020 in lockdown, and I’m a singer-songwriter and it’s my first album. But it’s very different to those songs. It’s kind of like Massive Attack meets Sia meets Annie DiFranco. Hopefully that’s going to be dropping later on in the year.

But I do write fireside songs for our rewilding camps. I write songs in three part harmonies for around campfires. They’re all songs for nature connection. And I’m going to be putting recordings of them up on my website as well, so that people can just sing them around campfires or sing them at home or whatever. 

I’ll have a chat with the powers that be and see if I can get any of the songs that I wrote [on Alone Australia] up there as well.


You can follow Gina over on Instagram @gigiamazonia or her website. For more info on rewilding courses check out Wild Heart and Bluegum Bushcraft.