Behind the scenes as Home and Away heads to the Blue Mountains

Home and Away viewers are going to see a change of scenery in tonight’s Australian episodes, as the show heads to the Blue Mountains.

Last night’s episode saw young lovers Bella Nixon (Courtney Miller) and Nikau Parata (Kawakawa Fox-Reo) fleeing from Summer Bay, as her fear about being questioned about her father’s death came to a head.

Detective Angelo Rosetta (Luke Jacobz) is leading the investigation into Ross’ murder, after his body was found in bushland a few hours out of Summer Bay.

Viewers know that Bella’s brother Colby (Tim Franklin) was the one to pull the trigger back in the opening weeks of 2019, with best mate Dean (Patrick O’Connor) helping Colby bury the body.

With Bella later told the truth by Colby, she has always been worried about inadvertently revealing something that could incriminate Colby, even refusing to attend counselling sessions at one point after her father was brought up.

But now that Angelo is insisting Bella attend the police station to go over her statement once more, she confided in Nik the truth about Colby’s crime. Bella told him that she would have to leave Summer Bay, and the two said a tearful goodbye.

Bella was surprised when Nik later turned up at the apartment, with $5000 that he’d taken from his uncle Tane’s secret stash in the garden shed, insisting that he would go with her. He loves her and there’s no point sticking around if she isn’t there with him.

The end of the episode saw the couple hitching a lift out of town, and as we pick up the action tonight, we see them heading to the fictional Mount Currawong, having acquired a clapped out ute en-route.

Although the gateway to the Blue Mountains lies around an hour west of Sydney, it’s not an area that has commonly been utilised in the show—it was however used in the Braxton themed spinoff An Eye for an Eye back in 2015.

The shoot, which been planned for months, was in fact scheduled to take place over 3000km away—in the tropical Kakadu National Park in Australia’s Northern Territory.

But as the trip approached back in February, the first COVID-19 travel restrictions came into place which prevented the crew leaving NSW. Although the shoot was postponed—with the show later forced into a two month halt of production—the continuation of restrictions on their return left the crew with finding a short notice replacement within the confines of the state.

The shoot finally took place at the beginning of June, with the scenes inserted into the episodes which had been shot three months earlier.

“Corona isn’t going to get in the way of us telling beautiful stories to the audience,” producer Lucy Addario told the Daily Telegraph earlier this week.

We were disappointed at first but then it is about this beautiful story so as long as our young star-crossed lovers were in a love bubble somewhere, it didn’t really matter where it played out, Lucy continued. “As long as it felt ‘away’ from Summer Bay, we were OK and I guess the Blue Mountains was a lovely contrast because it was so cold compared to the hot sands of Summer Bay.

The 45-strong crew spent four days in the area, headed by veteran director David Gould, with some of the pictured scenes taking place at Lincoln’s Rock just south of the town of Wentworth Falls.

Creatively it made us think outside the square,” Lucy added. “I truly believe that what we actually ended up with in the Blue Mountains was possibly better because we were challenged creatively. We captured some beautiful moments.

Actor Courtney Miller was lucky enough to also take part in the last ‘away’ shoot, which saw Ziggy, Dean, Colby and Bella in the Flinders Ranges last year.

Although photography student Bella took her digital SLR camera, actor Courtney Miller prefers the old-school 35mm film approach.

I always look forward to away shoots,” she told the Daily Telegraph. “The camaraderie between the crew and shooting in new, beautiful places makes it feel as if we are all part of a short film.”

The Blue Mountains have always been a childhood memory for me,” Courtney added. “It was also Kawa’s (Kawakawa Fox-Reo) first time seeing the mountains, which made it even more special. I am really proud of the story and the truth we brought to the experiences of the young lovers.

Needless to say, Bella’s brother Colby is horrified to learn that Bella has run away with Nik, knowing that it will make her look all the more guilty at hiding something about her father’s death. When Bella doesn’t show up to her interview with Angelo, the detective warns Colby that unless she shows up within 72 hours, a warrant will go out for her arrest.

Having to join forces with the Paratas, who Colby has delighted in making enemies of in recent weeks, the search for Nik and Bella ends up falling on Ari (Rob Kipa-Williams), Tane (Ethan Browne), and Mackenzie (Emily Weir), who head off in pursuit.

But the trip means more awkward moments for Mackenzie who, whilst in a relationship with Ari, has also admitted to having a crush on his brother Tane.

Logistically a lot went into it but it all worked really well with the concept having to change at the last minute,” Emily told the Daily Telegraph.

The three found the time to take a selfie on the busy shoot

The temperature was vastly different to what we are used to at Palm Beach so the characters got a bit more rugged in their wardrobe attire,” she added. “As an actor it was dealing with a different space and just the depth and breadth of the Blue Mountains where we were shooting in some beautiful locations in gorges and things like that. It was a chilly ride but cinematically it was beautiful.

The storyline airs tonight at 7pm as part of a triple episode on Seven.

For a further sneak preview, check out the recent promo below:

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