And the Winner of Australian Survivor: Blood Vs Water Is … Mark Wales

mark wales wins australian survivor blood vs water sole survivor 2022

Australian Survivor: Blood Vs Water has crowned Mark Wales as the Sole Survivor for the year.

It’s been a wild season of Australian Survivor, which began airing at the end of January.

This year, our Castaways all signed up with a loved one, only to find themselves immediately pitted against them as host Jonathan LaPaglia separated them into opposing tribes.

But that wasn’t the only twist. Flying in on a helicopter was two-time winner and Queen of Survivor herself, Sandra Diaz-Twine, who was playing alongside her daughter, Nina Twine.

“I meant it when I said I was retired!” Sandra exclaimed over Zoom while chatting to POPSUGAR Australia.

“Nina tried out for  Survivor: David vs Goliath and got really far into the casting process,” Sandra shared. “I thought that they would cast her but then she didn’t get picked. It kind of hurt her a little bit. When the opportunity for Blood vs Water came up, I was like ‘oh my God, this is for my baby’.”

Unfortunately for Sandra, she was unable to beat the Day 16 curse, which has now seen her voted out on Day 16 three seasons in a row.

Even worse, however, was Nina’s medical evacuation from the season, after she fractured her ankle in a Reward Challenge.

“I can’t decide if this is worse than being blindsided!” Nina exclaimed during her emotional farewell to her tribemates.

Post-merge, and in Nina’s absence, a very strong alliance of six emerged, consisting of Sam Gash and her husband, future winner Mark Wales, cousins Jordan Schmidt and Josh Millgate, as well as “Juicy” Dave Goodchild and Chrissy Zaremba.

The group proved near indestructible, as they blindsided big players of the season like King Khanh Ong and Jesse Hansen. Oh, and Sam pinched Jesse’s Hidden Immunity Idol in the process.

In fact, it took KJ Austin finding an advantage at the Survivor auction to even make a dent in the Big Six alliance, as she sent Josh, Chrissy, and Mark back to camp from Tribal Council, forcing Juicy Dave to turn on his alliance and vote Jordan out.

Even after that, the remaining players continued working together though, and sent home Juicy Dave, Jordie Hansen (aka The Joker), and KJ in quick succession.

Going into the finale, it seemed that nothing could stop either Mark or Josh from snagging the crown, with KJ telling POPSUGAR Australia that “it’s the boys’ game to lose”.

With an endurance challenge for the ages, the final four were challenged to balance on pegs, at an angle, while in a planking position above a river. Intense!

From the jump, Chrissy, Josh, and Mark were all intimidated by Shay, who has proved herself to be a true threat when it comes to endurance challenges.

As it turned out, they were right to be worried, because she won the challenge, forcing them to turn against each other at Tribal Council.

In the end, Shay, Mark, and Chrissy all voted for Josh, Josh voted for Chrissy, and Josh was eliminated.

At the final Tribal Council, Mark made a solid pitch to the jury.

“When I walked onto the sands of Samoa four years ago, I met the love of my life,” he began, looking at Sam. “We didn’t want to be the couple who came back and blew it.”

Mark said that “the strategy that [he] came up with was to win,” noting that it “sounds simple, but it was really hard to execute”.

Mark then detailed all of his strategic moves, beginning with targeting Andy Meldrum in the very first episode, through to when he chose not to reunite with Sam when it came time to swap tribes, and then down to the decision to vote Josh out at the last tribal council.

“I’m sure it still stings but I’m still your mate,” he told Josh.

“There’s no doubt this has been an incredible season. The only thing left to do now is to read the votes. A moment like this should be shared with the people you love the most,” said Jonathan LaPaglia.

They then brought in the families of the Final Three, including Mark’s dad and step mum.

Unable to make it to the Final Tribal Council, they also played a video from Sam’s mum and Mark’s step mum, who was with the couple’s son, Harry.

“Harry wants to say I love you daddy I love you mummy,” adding that she “wasn’t surprised Mark had done so well”.

“He’s a champion,” she added.

Missed the finale and want to catch up? Australian Survivor: Blood Vs Water is streaming now on 10 Play and you can find all of our Survivor stories here.

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