“It was far tougher. Temperature, for one thing, it was over 40 degrees every day, but at the end of the season it kind of switched, and during the night they had to deal with cold temperatures like 6-7 degrees every day,” he said.
“… and then the food source was an issue, they didn’t have the coconuts, bananas, papayas that they had in the tropics. So, all those things made it a difficult game for the contestants,” the 51-year-old host explained.
“It’s a double-edged sword – it’s great to be in Australia, it’s great to showcase what Australia has, and we’re also giving back to the local economy.
“But, they were tough conditions. I mean the heat, and distances between locations – we were travelling 3-4 hours every day on unpaved road,” he added.
As fans of the show will know, the requirements of Survivor go beyond coping in the extreme weather conditions.
The game requires a level of strategy to get contestants to the very end.
We saw this level kicked up a notch in All Stars with winner David Genat, who Jonathan coincidentally named as his favourite player.
“They’re all my children, so it’s difficult for me to choose a favourite, but you know, I guess David, winner of All Stars, he stands out as a great all-rounder,” he told us.
“He’s physically capable and he’s very smart when it comes to strategy, and he’s very affable and charming so he has a great social game. He kind of has it all, and that’s why he won…”
Given David’s recent game, the new cast, who are split into tribes along Brains vs Brawn, are going to have to really show their strategic skills.
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“I think we have a couple of players who are very savvy when it comes to strategy, so this season we have some gameplay that I think is quite sophisticated,” Jonathan said.
However, given the physical nature of the show, wouldn’t Brawn have a natural advantage?
“They were cognisant of that this year and they created challenges that were a little more balanced,” the actor reflected.
“We certainly see that as the season plays out, that both tribes are pretty even in terms of challenges that they win.
“It’s that age-old question – what’s more valuable in the game of Survivor? Brains or brawn?” he mused.
You can find out for yourself when the new season of Survivor airs this Sunday, July 18, 7.30pm on Network Ten.
Let the games begin.