Closer Each Day…The Home of ‘Home & Away’ – Palm Beach, Sydney

Home and Away TV show Logo
Source: twitter

I don’t watch a lot of television, but even I can’t avoid the regular advertisements for the Australian soap opera, Home & Away.

Little did I know as I strolled around the far northern-Sydney suburb of Palm Beach that I was actually walking into Summer Bay and onto the set of Home & Away.

The things you see on an early morning walk…

Setting up for filming of Home and Away
Setting up for filming

Home & Away launched onto Australian television screens in 1988 and it has to be one of our longest running soap operas. That doesn’t make it good, just resilient or perhaps, downright stubborn.

I thought I was just going for a simple early morning walk until I started seeing large film-related trucks and catering vans, and men lugging camera equipment, tripods and telescopic lights. This is not your normal early morning beach foot traffic. It was a hive of activity as they set up for the day, laying out chairs and tables for the cast and crew to dine as their schedule allowed and assistants busily signing on extras (I am guessing) for the inevitable crowd shots.

I was waiting for a tap on the shoulder. Surely I, or the even more gorgeous Cavoodle dog I was taking for a walk, would be ideal TV-talent? But, No. Today was not our 30 seconds of fame and we were left to enjoy our walk undisturbed.

Lynne McGranger
Lynne McGranger. Source: Twitter

Peering around I tried to recognise the stars of the show, but it was so early in the morning I only spotted Lynne McGranger (Yes, I had to Google that) playing with her phone in her car. She was obviously not that enthusiastic to start her day or perhaps she was just completing her daily life admin.

Putting my hand up here, I admit to have never watched the show. I have attempted to, but it lost me after about five minutes. Who needs to watch the whole episode anyway? You can understand the entire plot simply by watching the endless TV ads. It is interesting to see how the show’s culture has changed over the years from a relatively innocent storyline, to now a consistent stream of murder and mayhem, love triangles, adultery, kidnappings and questionable paternity suits.

It would be a real challenge for script writers to keep the plot fresh and interesting when every character has married everyone else, had a child, or an affair with each other. They have resorted to introducing bad boy Kiwi characters (as if Australia doesn’t have enough bad boys of our own), blowing up weddings, burning down houses, crashing cars and murder. All in sleepy Summer Bay and in prime time viewing.

And Summer Bay, aka Palm Beach, is really gorgeous despite all its drama. Filming focuses on the pristine stretch of beach and sand around the Summer Bay Surf Club or over on the Pittwater side, at various wharfs and piers. I can see why this soap opera has become so popular in places like the United Kingdom where the weather is predictably wet and the beaches are surprisingly rocky and/or full of hard, round pebbles. In Summer Bay, every day is a blue-sky day, the beach is clean and white, and the sea-green waves endlessly break and roll.

But what would I know? Home & Away is the most successful programme in the history of the Logies (Australia’s equivalent to the Emmy’s and Bafta’s) and has earned around 38 Logie Awards since premiering in 1988, including Most Popular Australian Drama. Varying cast members have earned several awards including Gold Logie Award for Most Popular Personality on Australian Television, Silver Logie for Most Popular Actor, and Most Popular Actress.

For the diehard fans out there, you can even book a guided tour of Summer Bay. The bus tour takes you from the Sydney CBD, up through the Northern Beaches and then around all the Summer Bay highlights including the Summer Bay Surf Club, Pier Diner and Alf’s Bait Shop. Whatever floats your boat…or surfboard.

I guess the upside is that filming has started again now that Covid19 has loosened its grip on our country. Over the past 10 months the whole film and television industry ground to a halt so it is a good thing that actors, and TV/film workers generally, can get back to work.

Empire Vehicles sign

My apologies to the fans out there if this post seems overly critical of your favourite TV fodder. I can understand its addictive qualities similar to every other soap opera, but in my book life is too short to waste on something that is consistently sad and continually filled with heartache and drama. I have better things to do with my time and if they can’t spot star material (Me!) when they see it, then that is their loss.

Palm Beach, on the other hand, is a slice of heaven and definitely worth some of your time.

Have you ever had a mini-brush with fame?

The Basics

What: Home & Away is one of the most popular and long-standing soap operas in Australia along with the equally popular Melbourne-based Neighbours.

Where: Summer Bay is actually Palm Beach, an exclusive and expensive northern Sydney suburb about 40km from the Sydney CBD.

Sunny Palm Beach

When: To watch the show, tune in on Monday-Thursdays at 7pm on Channel 7 for the hourly episodes. Or binge it all here.

Why: Watch it for a little melodrama, escapism or for an opportunity to switch off your brain for a while.

How: Drive to Palm Beach and park your car near the obvious film locations in the various designated carparks (metered). To get there by bus, catch the L190X from Wynyard Station or bus 199 from Manly. You would need to check the bus schedules to coincide with the ‘best’ of the filming.

Who: The list of stars is long and includes Ray Meagher as Alf Stewart, Georgie Parker as Roo Stewart and Emily Symonds as Marilyn Chambers, plus a whole host of other less enduring characters.

Related Posts: If you have a bit of penchant for visiting places that have been featured in movies, then make sure you include a visit to Silverton on your itinerary. It is a little out of the way, but so worth a visit. Read about it here.

Related Blogs: Still can’t get enough of Home & Away? Then revel in the minutiae at Fandom.

Read About It: And what book could I possibly recommend here? None other than, Days of Our Lives: A Complete History of the Long-running Soap Opera. Home & Away has a little while to go to match the sheer staying-power of Days of Our Lives. Grab a copy from Book Depository.

Wishing you all a safe and happy Festive season. The blog will be having a little holiday now for a month and I look forward to chatting with you in February 2021. Fingers crossed we will all be able to travel happily and healthily again soon. Take care, Mel

Home and Away Logo. Source: 7Plus
Source: 7Plus

#homeandaway #travelinspo #soapoperas #mindlesstv #summerbay  #sunandsand #palmbeach #melodrama

23 thoughts on “Closer Each Day…The Home of ‘Home & Away’ – Palm Beach, Sydney

  1. Heyjude December 30, 2020 / 11:55 am

    I confess to watching it back in the 90s, and I am still a Neighbours fan! At one point we used to get quite a few Aussie programs over here, some of which I really liked. And yes, soaps are stupid and plotlines are full of holes, but it is escapism with sunshine! And yes, Palm beach is a fabulous place. Enjoy your down time. We’ll be hunkering down as the winter winds and rain does its damndest and dream of sunnier climes – and ‘Wanted Down Under’ is back on the TV next week so I can indulge in a little daydreaming.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Life...One Big Adventure December 30, 2020 / 2:20 pm

      We all have our own guilty pleasures! I am quite a fan of the American series Grimm – my escapism with a fair dose of fantasy and blood and guts!! 🙂 No filming will be happening at Palm Beach now as they are all in lock down because of a Covid19 outbreak on the peninsula. So you may just have to watch Neighbours instead! Take care over there. Our news is telling us that you are copping a caning! Mel

      Like

      • Tiny Bookmite January 3, 2021 / 7:45 am

        Ooh, I didn’t know you liked Grimm! I loved it – I binge-watched the entire series!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Life...One Big Adventure January 3, 2021 / 12:15 pm

          Love, love, love Grimm! Pretty ridiculous, but it certainly fires up the imagination! And I own up to having purchased the whole series on DVD. If this wet weather keeps up, I may have to drag it out for a re-watch! x

          Like

  2. pam@ichoosethis December 30, 2020 / 12:07 pm

    Ok, so one time I was in New Zealand and it was raining so hard, I couldn’t do anything! This show was on and I loved it!! I also like Wentworth 😬

    Liked by 1 person

    • Life...One Big Adventure December 30, 2020 / 2:22 pm

      I have been known to watch all sorts of Australian soap operas (especially McLeod’s Daughters) when I am traveling in Europe and desperate to watch something in English… and then I find it have been dubbed in Italian! 🙂 Hilarious!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. margaret21 December 30, 2020 / 7:55 pm

    I’ve never watched Home and Away, but my daughter used to watch Neighbours when she was about 10. It was a right of passage for pre-teens at the time it seemed. And I never joined her in front of the screen, because what mother is free to watch TV at 5.30 on a weekday?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Life...One Big Adventure December 31, 2020 / 7:57 am

      Exactly! Life is too short to waste on mindless TV and wallowing in someone else’s woes. Although sometimes it is good to switch off the brain for a while and not have to think. Each to their own.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The Travel Architect December 31, 2020 / 12:50 pm

    Sounds like Australian soaps are like British soaps in the way that they are on in the evening. In the US, soap operas are on during the workday and seem to cater to lonely housewives. The formula seems to be the same as yours. I used to watch The Young and the Restless on summer breaks when I was a preteen and though I loved it at the time, I eventually got impatient about how they dragged every plot line out interminably. It took them weeks or months to wrap up storylines, then they’d cycle to some other characters for a while, then resurrect an old plot line. It got tiresome. Even my teenage self could see that.

    And yes, both the husband and I have had a very brief brush with fame. We were extras in the movie A Prairie Home Companion, which was filmed here in Minnesota and which was based on the radio show of the same name. I wouldn’t normally expect anyone from Australia to know what that is, but once when we were in a small town museum in England it happened to come up with a museum employee and she squealed that she loved A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor! Couldn’t believe it. So who knows? Maybe some Australians have heard of it. Anyway, we spent a day and a half as extras (theater audience members). Any audience scenes we were in didn’t make the final cut, but we were a stone’s throw from Meryl Streep, Woody Harrelson, Lindsey Lohan, John C. Reilly, and Maya Rudolph. During the lunch break one day we spoke briefly to John C. Reilly and the husband went up and spoke to Kevin Kline. All the actors interacted with those of us in the audience, joking around with us in between takes and making it a lot of fun. The only one who was a snob was Lindsey Lohan.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Life...One Big Adventure January 2, 2021 / 11:39 am

      WOW! You have had a serious brush with fame, while I just strolled on past a famous film set! Sorry, I haven’t heard of that show and it is not worth watching if you aren’t in it! 😉 I am not sure I would make a good extra anyway, as it always seems to be a case of “Hurry Up” and “Wait”! Happy New Year, Mel

      Liked by 1 person

      • The Travel Architect January 2, 2021 / 10:46 pm

        Oh my gosh, totally hurry up and wait! I think the movie was mostly enjoyed by people who adored the The Prairie Home Companion radio show. I’m not surprised you hadn’t heard of it. I was SHOCKED when that English woman knew of it.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Tiny Bookmite January 3, 2021 / 7:39 am

    Haha my mini-brush with H & A was being in it, many times! I was an extra for about a year in the late 80s and was variously a bystander, nurse (when Roo had her baby), party-goer and more. It amused me to spot the continuity errors in broadcast episodes – e.g. as a guest at Bobby’s wedding, I saw myself walk out of a room twice in quick succession, having never re-entered it!
    The cast members were lovely, and many chatted with the extras, who they knew often travelled long distances only to spend a lot of time waiting to be called onto set. Studio shoots were fine for me, but to arrive at Palm Beach for a 5 or 6 a.m start meant leaving home at an unearthly hour. Extras rarely do it just for the money – it’s the experience that appeals, although the ‘in’ joke is that film and TV shoots are rated by the quality of the food served for breakfast or lunch. If you get the same meals as the cast, you’re on a winner!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Life...One Big Adventure January 3, 2021 / 12:27 pm

      Why am I not surprised that you sound like an old pro?? (and I mean that in the nicest sense of the word!!) You would be very qualified for the by-stander and party-goer roles….not so sure about the nurse! 😉 You should never have left town and you could be a regular on Doctor, Doctor! xx

      Liked by 1 person

  6. wetanddustyroads January 8, 2021 / 3:23 am

    😁 Haha, I’ve enjoyed your post so much now … reminded me of our (South African) soaps! We have (I think) about 3 or 4 different ones playing at the moment in the late afternoon. Until around 2005, I’ve watched them quite often … but then I’ve started to realise that the story lines were getting tired (and the actors too).
    So, instead of binge watching soaps, me and my husband will rather share a bottle of wine in the kitchen while preparing dinner … and this “story line” never gets old 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Life...One Big Adventure January 8, 2021 / 4:20 pm

    And I have noticed on the ads for the soaps like Days of Our Lives that the actors and actresses are looking increasingly plastic. I guess that is the downside of being in such a long running soap! Eventually you have the get work done! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Jane Lurie February 2, 2021 / 4:38 am

    When we lived in Sydney for a short period, we visited this stunning area with its great views from the lighthouse. Have never heard of this show but if you are interested in more on this area, we just watched the new movie, Penguin Bloom starring Naomi Watts, which takes place here. A touching movie based on a true story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Life...One Big Adventure February 2, 2021 / 7:58 am

      They have just started promoting Penguin Bloom in Aus. It looks like a lovely movie. I know the book well and have always had a love of magpies. Thanks for reading. Mel

      Liked by 2 people

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