My name’s Michael Atkinson or ‘Mike’ as my friends call me. I’m 47 years old and married with two kids. I’m an adventurer, film maker and former military pilot. I was also a cast member on Alone Australia, the hit survival TV series on SBS Australia.
For most of my career I’ve been a pilot in the Australian Defence Force flying helicopters, fast jets and big jets. Throughout that time I also taught survival skills to pilots and members of NORFORCE, a predominately Aboriginal unit that patrols northern Australia. I put these skills to the test outside the military on various expeditions in Australia and around the world.
The extreme outdoors and filming are my passion. This led me to start filming my own adventures. When I watch TV and the internet, what I see doesn’t capture what it’s really like to be alone in the extreme outdoors. Nearly everyone you see is being followed by a film crew and it detracts from the realism of what could otherwise be something interesting that I’d like to watch!
My first film ‘Surviving the Outback’ (based on my Kimberley expedition) has won multiple international film awards, featured on the Banff World Tour 2018 and is distributed by Gravitas Ventures, the largest distributor of independent film in the US .
I’ve just finished writing a book about my latest solo survival journey up the Great Barrier Reef in a dugout canoe. You can buy the book here. I’m now editing a feature film about the journey for release later this year.
As an Australian Army chopper pilot and survival instructor I visited many remote locations. I learned bushtucker and survival skills directly from Aboriginal people. I’m very grateful to Aboriginal people for sharing their knowledge
I continued to instruct survival as a pilot and flying instructor in the Royal Australian Airforce
Knowing how to survive in the outback comes in handy if you eject or crash in the middle of nowhere!
I like to test survival theories in extreme environments like here in Antarctica. There are lots of myths about survival. A lot of the stuff you read in books and see on TV is rubbish