The Australian version of the reality game show Survivor, two series were attempted in 2002 (on Nine Network) and 2006 (on Seven Network) without success. In 2016, Network Ten rebooted the series to huge acclaim and success, and has attracted a big international following with an average of two episodes airing each week.
The post-2016 format varies from most international versions as it features 24 castaways competing for 50-55 days for the title of Sole Survivor and the $500,000 prize, and features a few non-elimination rounds.
The series is hosted by Jonathan LaPaglia.
WARNING: Spoilers ahead are unmarked. You have been warned.
Australian Survivor 2016
- Location: Upolu, Samoa
- Number of castaways: 24
- Starting tribes: Aganoa, Saanapu and Vavau
- Merged tribe: Fia Fia
- Winner: Kristie Bennett of Sydney, New South Wales
Australian Survivor 2017
- Location: Upolu, Samoa
- Number of castaways: 24
- Starting tribes: Asaga and Samatau
- Merged tribe: Asatoa
- Winner: Jericho Malabonga of Melbourne, Victoria
Champions vs. Contenders (2018)
- Location: Savusavu, Fiji
- Number of castaways: 24
- Starting tribes: Champions (made up of public figures from fields such as sports and entertainment) and Contenders (made up of everyday Australians)
- Merged tribe: Koro Savu
- Winner: Shane Gould of Bicheno, Tasmania
Champions vs. Contenders (2019)
- Location: Savusavu, Fiji
- Number of castaways: 24
- Starting tribes: Champions (made up of public figures from fields such as sports and entertainment) and Contenders (made up of everyday Australians)
Previously on... Australian Survivor!
- The Ace: Henry from 2017 was good-looking, athletic, and very good at making friends. It worked well early on, but when he switched over to the other tribe, he took it too far - one of his first moves was to stage a fake game show for his new fellow tribe members, quizzing them on subjects of their choosing and playing the hammy announcer. It was the most fun anyone on the show ever seemed to have outside of a reward prize, but two people immediately marked him as one to be careful of because he was just too good.
- Affectionate Nickname: Mat in Champions vs. Contenders gets 'The Godfather,' due to his central role to the tribe, but despite the implications, he was very well-liked. Less harmless was Fenella and Shonee's nickname of 'Grubby' for Brian, a teasing reference to his less than active work around camp, and deliberately targeted to stoke his ego. Shane points it out in the finale, saying she admired the way Fenella used the nickname to 'mess with his head.'
- Also, Mark H from 2017 got 'Tarzan', due to his impressive beard and physique.
- Ascended Fan: Many, but most notably Kristie, who used the fact that she'd been a megafan of Survivor since she was a little kid to guilt Lee into letting her win the final immunity challenge.
- Bad Liar: Benji from Champions vs. Contenders had a tendency of making up any lies that would get him to the next day, usually about who was gunning for who. Sometimes it worked - when he told practically everyone in his tribe that Tegan was after them, they didn't seem to hold it against him much even when Tegan came back and made it clear she'd been happy to vote with the tribe. But it works out less well post-merge when he tells Brian that Sharn was planning on voting him out, in an attempt to get him on his side... while Brian was literally wearing the immunity necklace around his neck. Shonee's Surrounded by Idiots reaction is priceless. And sure enough, Benji goes out very soon, with Brian playing one of the turning votes.
- Brick Joke: At the merge episode of the 2017 season, Jarrad instructed Jericho to vote for Luke and put an underline on it so that Jarrad would know it was his. At Tribal Council, Jericho does indeed make sure to put an underline on his vote... with Jarrad's name on it, sending him to the jury. Fast forward to Final Tribal Council, Jarrad brings this up when addressing Jericho and states that "what goes around, comes around" and he will use his jury vote to send him a message, with an underline. As it turned out, it was the winning vote that secured Jericho the title of Sole Survivor.
- Comic Relief: After his ally Jackie was voted out (partly thanks to his other ally Shane), Brian tried to establish himself as this, hoping that if he could make people laugh they would want to keep him around.
- Cool Old Lady: Shane Gould, gold medal winning Olympian swimmer and 61-year-old. And the oldest contestant ever to win the title of Sole Survivor.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Kristie is the prime example. Her freakouts and oddball antics meant that she wasn't taken seriously by the rest of the cast, to the point where the jury were shocked that she somehow won the Final Immunity Challenge. Come Final Tribal Council, she is able to eloquently explain her under-the-radar game in such a way that what seemed like an easy win for Lee was suddenly flipped on its head and she convinced the jury to vote for her to win in a landslide.
- Curb-Stomp Battle
- The post-swap of the 2016 season was essentially this, as a twist resulted in the new Saanapu tribe being significantly stronger than the new Vavau tribe. And sure enough, Vavau got crushed in the challenges, and by the time the two tribes finally merged, Vavau was reduced to a tribe of three. With the exception of eventual winner Kristie, the remaining post-swap Vavau members subsequently got Pagonged after the merge.
- A similar occurrence happened in Champions vs. Contenders, where the Contenders were left with four original members at the merge.
- Damn You, Muscle Memory!: A fatal one from Brian in Champions vs. Contenders - the final immunity challenge was slightly different than in previous years in that contestants were supposed to keep both hands on the idol, not just one. Three hours in, Brian took off his hat without thinking... taking his hand from the idol in the process, and inadvertently handing the necklace to Sharn. However, he did admit immediately after that Sharn hadn't budged at all in that time, and the he really didn't stand a chance, and considering Sharn's previous history with endurance challenge, he was probably right.
- David vs. Goliath: the Champions vs. Contenders series, which pitted a team of champions of many types (including many sports heroes but also an astrophysicist, a barrister, and a Miss Universe Australia winner) against a team of more ordinary people. In the end, while it wasn't a total blowout, the Champions definitely had the advantage in tribal challenges, and not many Contenders made it to the merge stage of the game.
- Diabolus ex Machina: Anneliese in the 2017 season got voted out after correctly playing her Hidden Immunity Idol, before Ziggy suddenly stood up and played a Super Idol - which had the power to nullify a regular idol.
- Digging Yourself Deeper: When Zach's sexism was raised in a Tribal Council, he tried to defend himself, but only made himself look even worse, so badly that he was voted off almost unanimously even though that hadn't been the plan before that point. At the reunion, Jonathan even asked if he didn't think maybe it was better just to stop talking, and he agreed - but then claimed that there was only so much 'stupidity' he could put up with; from reactions, that comment didn't exactly do him any favours either.
- False Friend: Most obviously, Sharn allied with Benji during the tribe swap, and he seemed to consider her a close ally. However, he partnered more closely with Shonee and Fenella later (the people Sharn was generally trying to send home), and abused their seeming friendsip in one of the ballsiet moves ever, when Sharn tried to play her idol to protect Mat, and Benji spoke up to convince her to play it for herself, acting as though he was betraying his teammates to defend her due to their friendship. She trusted him and changed her vote... and Mat was sent home. She was not happy, and was able to convince enough people to send him home next. Shonee was also this to an extent with Brian - after Fenella was sent home due to Brian's mistake, she continued to act as friendly to him as ever, though she was secretly plotting for him to be sent home in revenge.
- Friendly Rivalry: Mat and Robbie in Champions vs. Contenders had a casual rivalry for immunity challenge wins, though Mat was the pretty clear winner.
- Game-Breaking Injury: Jenna from Champions vs Contenders suffered a painful but not debilitating leg injury in an early challenge, but it became much harder to deal with when she later insisted on also taking part in a wrestling challenge and massively aggravated it. She was taken away in helicoptor and came back with her leg in a cast, but wasn't eliminated just yet. She was visibly very upset and pleaded with her team-mates not to vote her out at Tribal, but practicality won out and her tribe reluctantly sent her home.
- Genius Bruiser: It's fair to say that Jonathan is pretty stacked. He's also a qualified doctor.
- Griefer: Henry from 2017 deliberately elected to be in the final, puzzle part of a tribal challenge so he could deliberately tank, because at the time he had the votes to take out someone he wanted to send home and didn't want to risk things changing if they didn't go to tribal council immediately. However, by the time it came for him and his partner to perform, his team already had such a huge advantage over the other that he wasn't able to lose even on purpose. He does manage it however in a later challenge which he lost for the same reason.
- He-Man Woman Hater: Zach from the Contenders tribe, who constantly claimed that his tribe's difficulty with challenges was a result of the women on his tribe being inferior to those on the other tribe. While he had a point, his tendency to ignore his own failures, and his condescension - once he claimed they would only win if they faced a 'dishwashing challenge' - made him so obnoxious that even his own allies ended up joining in on voting him out.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: In the 2016 season, when it came down to the final 7, Flick seemed to have it made. Brooke has stepped up as the premier power player of the entire game, a veritable master of building up alliances and controlling which way the game was going. And Flick was her right-hand woman, her 'bestie' who had stuck by her side the entire time. At this point in the game, Brooke was already planning out the very end stages, organising with Flick who they should take to the final 5, 4, and then 3 - of course, Flick was to be standing with her in the final 2. While Brooke was great at the game, she was never known for backstabbing - Flick had no reason to think she would honour her word, and the plan was a good one. First action: vote off Lee, by far the biggest threat, a challenge-winning powerhouse who was well-liked and had made it clear he intended to take El and no-one else to the final 2. However, for reasons unknown, Flick decided not to follow - she said that players should have to earn their place in Survivor, and Brooke had grown complacent. So she ultimately arranged to blindside Brooke, in the biggest upset so far. However, Lee was still there - and more powerful than ever, with Brooke's previous alliance now totally ripped apart. Flick tried to keep up her original strategy by voting off relative outsider Sam next Tribal, but once they reached the final 5 and she realised how much trouble she was in, Kristie had already made her decision to align herself to Lee. (To be fair, it was widely agreed that this was gameplay suicide. Though she, in fact, knew exactly what she was doing.) Flick was voted out next Tribal Council, only reaching fourth.
- Honesty Is the Best Policy: Became a big issue with Lee in the 2016 season. He stated many times that his reason for joining the game was to prove to his young sons that the game could be played honestly and morally - which to him meant honouring party loyalty and refusing sneak attacks or backstabs. However, as the game went on, this became progressively harder, culminating during the endgame, where he was left with a very difficult choice. He and El had been very close for quite a while (many jury and audience members suspected a romance), and had all but explicitly stated they would take one another to the final two. According to his stated principles of loyalty, he should have stuck to that. However, when it came down to the final five, the other three members - Flick, Matt, and Kristie - all formed an alliance to vote them off. Rather than stick to his word, he starting talking to Kristie, and talked hard, telling her that he had never said that he would definitely take El to the final 2, that the others were trying to manipulate her by saying that, and that they were untrustworthy where he was not. He even tried to defend her, telling Matt that he was sick of people pulling her left and right when he tried to speak to her. In the Final Immunity Challenge, Kristie seriously pressed him on this, telling him she believed him because he reminded her of her dad, and that if he let go she would take him to the final two, giving him a chance to prove his words to her at the expense of his alliance with El. He slipped, but it's not clear whether it was deliberate or not. It's not clear how much of what he said was truthful and how much was a last-minute ditch to defend himself, but in the Final Tribal Council, he admitted that he'd been wrong: he hadn't found a way to play the game with honour, the way he understood it. He also admitted, when Jennah-Louise pressed him, that he'd been too judgmental when he'd implicitly called other players selfish for playing to win this game for the money, because he didn't know why they were going after the money - they might've had good reasons.
- Honor Before Reason: Brian was highly disliked by the jury when it came down to the final three, due to his gross habits, lack of help around camp, and letting a few players such as Fenella go home due to his own mistakes. If Sharn had taken him to the finale, it seemed pretty likely she would have won. But she had been partnered with Shane for a long time, and chose to take her to the final two instead, based on their friendship (and a less-selfless desire to see Brian go home first). And unfortuntely for her, she lost out on the grand prize by a single jury vote.
- I Am Not Left-Handed: Kristie in 2016 deliberately held back in endurance challenges so nobody would suspect she'd be a threat in the Final Immunity Challenge.
- Informed Ability: Matt from 2016 claimed that he job as a professional magician would impact his play - that he'd be a master of deception and that people would never see him coming! In reality, he played a very straightforward and honest game, and was left out of the big late-game blindsides.
- Intergenerational Friendship: Shane developed a fondness for Shonee and Fenella once the merge came, due to their vulnerability as two of the few remaining Contenders. In the reunion show, Fenella also said that when the game began Shane was the only one she recognised, as she'd done a report on her in year five!
- It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time: In Champions vs. Contenders, Benji set about orchestrating the elimination of the two swing votes in the Contenders tribe, Heath and Tegan. His blindside of Tegan was successful and she was sent to Exile Beach, and after the Contenders lost the next Immunity Challenge, his plan to send Heath next in order to permanently eliminate Tegan in the Redemption Island-style duel seemed perfectly in place. What he didn't count on was Heath playing a Hidden Immunity Idol, sending the physically weakest player in the tribe to Exile Beach in his place. Predictably, Tegan won the duel and returned to the game, exposing Benji as a snake in the process. Oops.
- Laser-Guided Karma: After Benji pulled off his insane move of talking Sharn out of playing her idol for Mat while acting like he was defending her, all so he could betray her alliance and vote out Mat, Sharn became immediately intent on getting him out, and succeeded in the very next Tribal Council.
- Lazy Bum: A common complaint against Brian among the Champions. Funnily, when the merge came, Shonee complained to Fenella that she might actually have to work around camp now, since she never had before, but nobody ever seemed to notice.
- Ms. Fanservice: Monika from Champions vs. Contenders was a clearly deliberate example, being a former Miss Universe Australia winner. However, she said that she wanted to be known for more than just that, and did indeed play a decent social game that took her to the final 5.
- Muscles Are Meaningful/ Muscles Are Meaningless: An interesting case in Champions vs. Contenders - post-merge, the biggest physical threats were acknowledged to be Steve, Mat, Robbie, and Lydia. In the case of the latter, this was entirely justified - as an Olympic skiier, she was incredibly powerful in relation to her weight making her a beast at endurance challenges. However, the former three, while heavily muscled, never really did very well in immunity challenges. Far bigger threats were Brian, who while chubby is a former Aussie Rules footballer, and Sharn, a marathon runner - altogether, the two managed four immunity challenge wins each.
- Naked People Are Funny: The editing team rather cruelly used this trope on Robbie in Champions vs. Contenders. During a confessional where Fenella was talking about how much of an idiot Robbie is, it immediately cut to a shot of his uncensored backside as he tried to put on some pants.
- Non-Gameplay Elimination: Moana became ill early on and felt so bad that at tribal council she requested to be allowed to leave. However, other members of her tribe insisted that she let them go to a vote and let the tribe decide. This was very deliberate: Shane was on the chopping block, but she had an idol. The plan worked - Shane played her idol, but the votes went to Moana, allowing her to leave and flushing out Shane's idol in the process.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Shonee in Champions vs. Contenders deliberately played up a performance of being a ditzy Dumb Blonde to hide how deliberate she was in choosing her alliances and votes and how much careful attention she paid to every other player.
- Oh, Crap!: So, Sharn finds a hint about a hidden immunity idol, and it'll be at the final leg of the next challenge. Unfortunately, she doesn't make it, so she's left skulking around the area when the challenge is over. Somehow, nobody notices that she's left the group... but when the idol she's shoved into her shorts suddenly falls out once she reunites with the group, there's really no denying it. The group even jokes when she plays the idol later that it wasn't really a 'hidden' immunity idol from that point onwards.
- One Steve Limit: Champions vs. Contenders had both a Mat and a Matt, but they were on different tribes and the latter was eliminated early on. More confusingly, the final four included Shane, Sharn, and Shonee, which made the complex alliance structures even harder to follow (notably, it was a big joke on Gogglebox). But the most obvious example is that the same season had two Steves (though on opposite tribes, with one being eliminated early the two never met).
- The Quiet One: Steve from Champions vs. Contenders, a big meditation fan, who very rarely spoke, to the point of coming across a Living Prop. It didn't help that he visually looked very similar to Mat, a much more active player, making him even easier to overlook.
- Reality Show Genre Blindness: Champions vs. Contenders had a couple: neither Brian nor Shonee was able to make fire, which basically gave up one of their immunity idols to the Sharn and Shane alliance, and might have sent Shonee home if it came down to a fire-making tiebreaker challenge between her and Shane (though in the end, she was voted out wholesale anyway). This season also featured a grand total of three contestants who went home with an idol in their pocket - Russell who severely overestimated his game-playing abilities and tried to pull off the most obvious bluff possible by making people think he wouldn't play the idol he'd already shown everyone; Mat, because he had no idea he was under threat until Sharn tried to play her idol for him, and simply didn't think quickly enough to play his own in time when she took it back; and Benji, who thought that since Brian and Monika seemed on his side and Shonee was playing an advantage giving them an extra vote he'd be safe (Brian and Monika were not in fact on his side this time).
- Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Paige was on the chopping block early on in the Contenders, and responded to this by letting slip some details about the alliances to the other tribe. She escaped being sent home then, but as merge approached, the relationship she'd started to build with those from the other side, and the way he had betrayed her teammates by giving the other tribe an advantage, came to the fore, and she was sent home. Notably, this was done so the same weak Benji's lying about Tegan was revealed - speading fake rumours within the tribe was one thing, but helping the other tribe? A far worse crime.
- Rule of Cool: The "taking the votes back to Australia" sequence before the final vote reveal in Champions vs Contenders involved Jonathan suddenly stepping into a Jeep with the urn in the middle of the Outback, and driving all the way to Sydney. Never mind that, logistically, the only way to get to the Outback from Fiji would involve connecting from a major Australian city, it still looked pretty damn cool.
- Sibling Rivalry: It never came up in the show itself, only in the Jury Villa episodes and Reunion show, but Benji from Champions vs Contenders is the older brother of Anneliese, who competed in 2017. And at the reunion, Benji was quick to inform everyone that while she lasted 38 days, he managed 39. Although she quickly rebutted that unlike him, she actually played her idol.
- Smug Snake: Russell Hantz, a previous American Survivor contestant, played this role deliberately and to excess, boasting every few minutes about what a great game player he was and how dumb everyone else was for trusting him, and how he'd show the Australians how to do it. The problem was, he was so obnoxious that the Champions voted him out the first chance they got. To make it even worse, he found a Hidden Immunity Idol early on, and then presented it to the entire tribe. He insisted all through Tribal Council that he was going to play it, only to remain silent when the time came. The tribe called his bluff and he went out unanimously on the revote.
- Surrounded by Idiots: Matt in the 2016 season somehow ended up on both sides of this. When the last two tribes were finally merged, he fancied himself as being totally in the inner circle of the biggest alliance at the time, standing as an equal with Brooke and Flick, even though it was clear to most of the rest of the cast that he very much wasn't. The night she was voted out, Jennah-Louise even dispensed subtlety and told him outright that he was not in the inner circle and would not make it to the final 2 with them; he challenged her passionately, defending his position, while she shook her head in disbelief. Though the other alliance members didn't defend themselves this way, they all also should have known the score, but made little or no attempt to build their own alliances. However, by the time they reached the final 7, he was the only one outside Lee and El who seemed to be consistently thinking through his strategy. When Brooke was suddenly voted off, he was shocked - because he hadn't been told, yeah, but also because it was so pointless. From that point on he realised that he, Flick, and Kristie would have no choice but to vote together to vote off Lee and El if they wanted a chance. For each upcoming Tribal Council, he genuinely believed in Flick and Kristie's ability to vote reasonably with him - and was left shocked every single time. By the time it was left to the final four, he steepled his hands to plead with Kristie from the jury box to vote off Lee and give herself and Flick a chance. Though the only truly bad move was Flick voting off Brooke and then Sam; Kristie simply had her own game plan, which totally paid off. It sure didn't seem like it at the time, though.
- Shonee also had this on multiple occasions through Champions vs. Contenders, due to her under the radar, Obfuscating Stupidity game. First, she, like the other Contenders, was forced to be on a tribe with Zach, who was so obnoxiously sexist he was voted out despite being a useful asset in chalenges. Then she allied with Benji, despite his compulsive and often blatant lying, because the Champions were determined to keep the tribe together. And finally she ended up with Brian, who was taken in by Shane and Sharn's lying to not realise that the latter had an idol, sending Fenella home. It's that final mistake that convinces her to give up on him and ally with Shane and Sharn in the 'Shh Alliance'.
- Talking Your Way Out: Michelle in 2017 managed a very impressive version - in a Tribal Council where it seemed she was clearly going to be voted out, she suddenly brought up Ben, pointing out that he had floated through the game so far and had barely done anything at all. The guy was so shocked and flustered to be put on the spot that he could barely respond as she argued why he should be sent out instead. And sure enough, he went home that night.
- Tall Poppy Syndrome: Extremely prevalent in Australian culture in general, so it's no surprise it shows up here. Any player who acts too confident will likely soon find themselves on the chopping block, and usually even characters in rock-solid alliances who know exactly who's voting for who will tell Jonathan at Tribal Council that they merely hope they're safe that night. And all of this is very likely part of why Russell Hantz was voted out so very quickly.
- Tragic Mistake: Sharn seemed to have a very good case for herself going into the finale of Survivors vs. Contenders. But it became clear that her winning or losing would revolve around one big mistake of hers: when she was on the chopping block, but heard last-minute that Mat would be too, she didn't tell him, instead carefully watching the Council talk to see who she needed to try and save. She decided in the end to play her Idol for Mat - but when she stood to give it to Jonathan, Benji piped up pleading with her to play it for herself. Flustered, she decided to do so. Unfortunately for her, the votes were on Mat, and he went home. She was not pleased, as she and Benji had been allied since before the merge, and he was the next out. But the mistake haunted her into the finale, and might have cost her the win entirely.
- Unknown Rival: Occasionally a player will get fixated on sending home another without the other realising. A good example is Benji deciding that Tegan and Heath were the king and queen of the Contender tribe (in reality they were swing votes making them powerful but not really decision-makers) and devoting all his energy into getting Tegan in particular out. He eventually got his wish, but attracted a lot of attention to himself in the process.
- Wham Line: Little awkward, overly emotional, flip-flopping Kristie, who had snuck into the final 5 by being so obviously a goat, and had seemingly only managed a place in the final 2 by sheer force of luck after some of the most gob-smackingly bad tribal council decisions in Survivor history, sits down at Final Tribal Council and laughs: "You guys thought I was crazy!"
- Wild Card: Luke from 2017, who reveled in chaos and bold moves, and went so far as to build himself a makeshift hiding place near the well so he could listen in on secret conversations.
- Worthy Opponent: After Mat was blindsided by Benji, he was genuinely really impressed he'd pulled one over him and the two became friends once Benji joined him in the Jury Villa after the next tribal council (and joked more than a few times over their mutual mistake not to play their idols).