Arriving in the Flinders Ranges, I was greeted by arid desert and dirt roads. It felt a million miles away from the Summer Bay that I have come to know. That is until I was greeted by the friendly faces of the cast and crew, who were already set up in the desert for a day of filming.
WATCH! Home & Away exclusive video interviews below!
This week Home and Away has swapped the Bay for the bush as Ziggy (Sophie Dillman) and Dean (Patrick O’Connor) head to the outback to compete in a charity drag race. But little do they know that fellow Summer Bay pal Bella (Courtney Miller) has stowed away in the back of their car causing a worried Colby (Tim Franklin) to come after her.
I was lucky enough to be invited to join the cast and crew, on location in the stunning Flinders Ranges to watch the magic happen. And, as I arrived, on-set temperatures were already hitting highs of 46 degrees, but the cast and crew never stopped smiling throughout.
“The crew have been amazing,” Courtney gushed of the team.
“They have been working incredibly hard to make sure us actors have water and are sheltered, and they have been standing out in the sun, too.”
Of course, there were tubs of sunscreen and cold water everywhere you looked, to make sure everyone was protected and well hydrated in the heat.
After a read-through, the cameras start rolling. Of course, not everything runs smoothly on set. During one memorable moment, Patrick closed the car boot a little to hard, causing the alarm to set off in the middle of a scene. While it was a laugh, it did mean we had to stay out in the sun for another take.
At the end of a long day of filming, which can range anywhere from eight to12 hours, everyone headed back to the Prairie Hotel in Parachilna.
The hotel is owned and run by the Fargher family. For generations, the Farghers have lived and farmed in the area, and in 1991 Jane and Ross Fargher decided to buy the hotel, which has now become a successful family-run business. And, the place that the cast and crew were calling home for the week.
So, what do the cast do once the cameras stop filming? Well, I got a chance to chat to Tim and find out.
“In my downtime, I read scripts for tomorrow or chill out in my room, meditate and just relax,” Tim confesses.
After a much-needed shower the cast and crew all love to get together at the end of the day and enjoy a laugh and a meal, before turning in for the night ahead of another huge day of filming.
While I roasted in the soaring temperatures, there were many times I would have swapped the bush for a swim in the blue waters of Summer Bay, but, there really was something special about the stunning landscape.
“I’ve never been to anywhere in Australia like this before,” said Sophie. “The Flinders Ranges are so beautiful. I had to switch out of the scene at times and just take in the scenery.”
For more, pick up the latest copy of New Idea on sale now!