‘One Of The Most Difficult Seasons’: Jonathan LaPaglia Sets The Stage For Australian Survivor Brains V Brawn

“We had a snake wrangler that’s constantly pulling snakes out of the camps, challenges and tribal.”

For the last five seasons, Australian Survivor has thrown a handful of castaways on the beaches of Upolu and Savusavu, but this year things are going to look and feel very different.

With the upcoming season, Brains v Brawn, located in Cloncurry, Queensland, the show’s host Jonathan LaPaglia told 10 play that the contestants had no idea what was in store for them.

From the outset, the season already had a completely different look to it, Australia’s red dirt giving the first teasers a 'Mad Max’ vibe. But JLP said the setting wouldn’t just be a change in the look of the season, it would almost become a big character.

READ MORE: Where To Find The Australian Survivor Castaways On Social Media

“The countryside is really stunning on film and it’s so uniquely Australian,” he told 10 play. “As soon as you see that red earth you know it’s Australia. Visually, that’s going to be a huge difference, [but] what you don’t get from that is just how difficult those conditions are. Both for the crew and the contestants.”

With temperatures during the day hitting close to 40 degrees, coupled with an extremely arid heat, temperatures at night would plummet.

“In terms of wildlife, there are a plethora of animals that can kill you in an instant that the contestants are constantly dealing with,” JLP added.

“We had a snake wrangler that’s constantly pulling snakes out of the camps, challenges and tribal. And there’s god knows how many deadly spiders and whatnot there.”

Where past seasons have seen tribes set up camp with access to the ocean, trees with papayas, coconuts and bananas — this time around the Aussie Outback serves up very little for the tribes to utilise.

“Even building shelter was more difficult. There’s no bamboo, no palm fronds,” JLP said. “Stuff like that just adds a whole other element to the game that, I think, was a lot more difficult… The land gave them nothing.

“Every season we have a couple of people who want to quit because it’s more difficult than they thought it was going to be but this year we had quite a few,” he added.

“It was probably one of the most difficult seasons we’ve ever done.”

On top of the location giving the season a whole new feel, JLP said the theme itself will also test contestants. Splitting them into two tribes made up of Brains and Brawn, the season will question which attribute is more important in the game of Survivor, intellect or brute physical strength?

“The best players exhibit a bit of both and they’re the ones that will go further in the game,” JLP admitted. “If you just stick with one, you get locked into that idea, that one characteristic. It’s only going to carry you so far.

“I think a big part of Survivor is the social element, that’s what you start to see, the best players are smart, physically capable but are also social beasts. And you have to be to navigate the game.”

Stepping into his sixth season hosting the show, despite being the undisputed king of challenge innuendos, there’s still one job JLP finds tougher than any other.

“Tribals are tough, it’s the toughest part of the job for me and I still don’t feel like I’ve quite figured it out,” he said.

“Some days I’m like, oh yeah I’ve got it! And then the next day it’s completely gone again. I’m like, ugh this is so frustrating. I have to dig around and get information without revealing people’s games and blowing up their games. It is quite intricate in the way I need to approach it… it’s a weird dance!”

Australian Survivor: Brains v Brawn Premieres Sunday, 18 July At 7.30 on 10 and 10 play