Resilient doesn’t even cut it. Anyone who saw Gina Chick dancing on the moss in Tasmania’s unforgiving wilderness for two months in the first season of Alone Australia knows the so-called barefoot hippy was “just getting started” when she won the $250,000 prize.

Chick won over her audience in what has become one of SBS’s most popular shows of all time. Her openness, joy – and, yes, resilience – has set the benchmark for this year’s contestants. The second series of Alone Australia lands on March 27 with 10 new participants, this time battling cold winds and rain in Aotearoa New Zealand.

As part of the new series, Chick will be hosting a podcast with SBS presenter Darren Mara about the highs and lows of every episode of Alone. “It’s going to be epic, and I’m super chuffed to be hosting it,” she tells Broadsheet from an Aurora Expeditions vessel in Antarctica, which she’s boarded as a guest speaker – one of many such gigs she’s taken on since her win.

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We asked her how she spends her time in Sydney between all her hosting, writing and dance teaching duties.

Hey Gina, you’re pretty busy at the moment. What are you working on?
I’ve had so many wonderful opportunities since winning Alone Australia – too good to turn down. I just filmed three episodes of Great Australian Walks for SBS, which was my first foray into presenting (I had to learn pretty fast!). I’ve handed in the first draft of my memoir to my publishers at Allen & Unwin – the book comes out in October. I’m prepping for the weekly Alone Australia season two companion podcast for SBS Audio. I also teach a dance meditation class. And right now I’m in Antarctica, on an Aurora Expeditions vessel as a guest speaker, which is one of the most mind-blowing things I’ve ever done. I figure I can sleep in 2027.

You spend a fair amount of time in Sydney. What’s your ideal day in the city?
Hanging out in Bondi at Gertrude & Alice bookstore cafe – ideally sitting in one of the green velvet chairs, drinking the best chai in Sydney, simultaneously chatting to locals and snatching a few blessed moments to read. I also love falling into our beautiful ocean, catching up with mates and finding every possible Vinnies or other thrift store to buy some ridiculous dress from the ’70s that I can wear on the red carpet – barefoot. The dress has to be long enough that it can hide my feet from security, otherwise I end up getting chased around all night being told to put non-existent shoes on.

What’s one of Sydney’s most underrated places?
The Royal National Park. It’s a vast paradise of waterholes, walks, native animals and phenomenal wild coastal beaches. You’d never know the city is a stone’s throw away.

Do you have a favourite place to eat?
Chaco Bar in Potts Point. It’s Japanese to die for. I would take a red-eye flight if it meant I’d arrive in time to eat the spanner crab chawanmushi.

Where do you go when you’re trying to impress someone?
If they’re visiting, I’ll blow their minds with the sandstone cliffs along the eastern suburbs, such as Vaucluse or Middle Head. Or we’d go up to Whale Beach, Avalon and Barrenjoey Lighthouse. If they’re so inclined, I’d take them to a 5Rhythms class, or dancing to live Afro-Cuban music. And if they’re up for an adventure, we’d paddle a sea kayak from Rose Bay to The Spit and back – but that can get a little adrenaline-spiking when you’re dodging ferries.

What do you love most about Sydney?
I spent my twenties immersed in the fabulous, creative, deliciously defiant queer scene around Oxford Street, and for me Sydney has never lost that feeling of full permission to express myself and a community to call home. I find that whatever someone is into, they can find it somewhere in this city – from mainstream to counterculture, from the sexy and salacious to music or food, you name it. Sydney is also stunningly beautiful, with endless pockets of forest and parks and places to swim or gather.

Who makes Sydney a better place?
All the creatives, freaks, weirdos, musos, poets and queer folk. The melting pot of multicultural wonder that brings new foods, sounds, culture, art and theatre keeps shaking the city up, so we keep growing. Dyed-in-the-wool local colour. Anyone who gives way in traffic. And, even better, anyone who gives a wave when someone lets them in. It’s not that hard and it completely changes the vibe of everyone’s day. Spread the love!

Where do you go to escape the city?
Ah, now that would be telling. I have a whole host of secret wilderness getaways, which are going to stay secret. Top hint, though: drive an hour in any direction from the city centre and you’ll probably end up somewhere gorgeous, because this is Australia, and we do wild places so very well. Go exploring, you won’t be disappointed.

Alone Australia season two premieres March 27 on SBS and SBS On Demand. The new podcast, Alone Australia: The Podcast, launches March 29.


My Sydney” is a regular column discovering the places and spaces that captivate and entice Sydney’s well-known residents.