Phil Breslin pictured in The Kimberley in a scene from Wild Survivor.
Phil Breslin pictured in The Kimberley in a scene from Wild Survivor. Francis Breslin

Meet the Queensland teacher going to the extreme

QUEENSLAND teacher Phil Breslin is about to take his "live curious" motto to a national audience.

The science teacher puts ancient survival skills to the test in the new National Geographic series Wild Survivor.

After learning traditional hunting techniques and trade routes, the Cairns native spends several days alone in the bush without any modern conveniences except a bit of clothing and a pair of shoes.

"This just means my classroom has gotten bigger," he tells APN.

"I'm happy as long as I'm teaching, entertaining and living curious.

"TV is not my goal. I'm doing what I love doing, which is challenging myself, and if that happens to be on TV then great."

But Breslin insists he's no Bear Grylls.

"He's a survival expert," he says.

"I'm more of an everyday person with knowledge of the bush.

"I would have loved for Bear to be on my trip. He could have helped me (laughs). Any good teacher should know they are not the wealth of all knowledge."

The first episode sees Breslin navigate the islands off The Kimberley coast, using strong tides to his advantage on a handmade raft and spearing his food.

"Survival skills is a term these days but I'm using traditional knowledge," he says.

"This was a way of life for the people in the day.

"It's not about me being 'captain survival'. It's about showing how brave and innovative these people were, how they survived and how easy we have life today."

Breslin studied wildlife science at the University of Queensland's Gatton Campus and then completed his teaching degree through the university in Brisbane.

But it was on a coffee farm in the Atherton Tablelands where he got his first taste of educating the public as a tour guide.

"I was a broke uni student working on a coffee farm in Mareeba," he says.

"The old man said 'you talk too much'. Apparently I slowed down the picking rate, and he said 'I've got this coffee centre coming up and I want you to be a tour guide'.

"I was nervous about it, you know, as soon as the eyes are looking at you it sends a spear down you. But I enjoyed it. I used the tour guiding as a chance to pass on some of the scientific stuff about Australia."

Breslin says his biggest challenge was coping with the cold in Rotorua, New Zealand.

"In Australia we come from a country where danger is around every corner; it's a land ruled by reptiles and venom," he says.

"But no matter where I went in New Zealand the cold wouldn't let me be. In The Kimberley you're thinking of the tides all the time, but in New Zealand it's about where am I going to get a fire started? Where can I sleep? As soon as the sun goes down you're at the mercy of the outdoors."

Wild Survivor debuts on the National Geographic Channel on March 16 at 9.30pm ADST.

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