The Lucky Country celebrates the great Australian tradition of spinning yarns and having a laugh – each week Andrew travels with a celebrity guest who shares their little part of Australia. Andrew and his guests explore places right in your backyard, places with stories and quirks you may never have known existed.
“It’s not often we get the opportunity to experience the best parts of Australia with truly memorable Australians; lucky for us, this is one of them. All of the characters we’ve lined up for The Lucky Country have great stories to share, whether they be career, family or life’s odder moments. By coupling those with iconic Australian settings, we’ve managed to find something truly special in The Lucky Country.” Says Andrew about his new passion project.
Here, Andrew shares his experience with us on filming The Lucky Country.
It’s the strangest thing, I was thinking how much fun it’d be to do a travel show that didn’t look like a travel show, you know?
Imagine if you could get in the car and drive, then, if there was something you wanted to stop and see, you could. It’d be like the travel you wanted to do as a kid, only your dad wouldn’t stop the car so you could get out and pat an alpaca or measure yourself against a giant mango or take photos with the worlds ugliest scarecrow. Travel should be fun, so shooting a travel show which is meant to look like fun, should be even funner (if that was a word).
Then, seemingly out of the blue, there was an email, followed by a call, followed by a meeting. More calls, more emails, more meetings and there we were, a bunch of TV folk rigging a car with cameras while we waited for Damien Leath to land – mid-tour – so we could take him away somewhere and shoot a travel show that didn’t look like a travel show.
And yet, The Lucky Country is most definitely a travel show, albeit with a stack of personality.
Maybe that’s why it feels a bit different. For whilst we’re going places and looking at things, there’s lots of chatting as well – good chatting. There’s a reason Damien Leath won Australian Idol, and it’s not just that he’s a fabulous singer, he’s also a fabulous human being. And interesting. He was in heavy metal band, had hair down to his bum. I wouldn’t have known this, had we not spent two days together in a car chatting, travelling, reminiscing, fighting over the stereo and swapping stories that ran the gamut of hilarious to outrageous to eye-wateringly normal.
That’s the sort of thing that happens on road trips, and it’s exactly the sort of thing that happened when we made The Lucky Country.
But we saw things, too. Damien and I were in the Blue Mountains, the first place in Australia he visited before deciding to live here. He had a lovely reminisce about his then girlfriend now wife over sheepskin seat covers. We poked our heads into one or two of the normal tourist haunts, but seemed to hanker more for the odd spots. Antique shopping, gardens, segue riding (and crashing) eating, drinking. It was great, and after two days together, I was exhausted in that spent, holiday way!
And that seems to be the common thread of all the episodes we’ve made so far – it’s just been great fun. That’s what travel should be, fun, exciting, surprising and ultimately, something to go home and talk about.
There’s a tendency to ask about a favourite place or a favourite travelling companion, but I’m sorry to say with The Lucky Country, there’s no simple answer to that one. The Hunter Valley with actor/comedian Rob was a rare pleasure. And funnier than I could have imagined. Adam Brand is Townsville, not just in it, and world renowned hypnotist Peter Powers was a revelation.
I thought I knew exactly what our travelling companions would have been like. I’d seem them all on the tellie at some point or another, had heard their music, seen them perform or be interviewed, so it was a big surprise to get to know then over the course of a few miles, or many as it turned out to be.
The Lucky Country does two things very well. It’s a showcase for what you can see over a weekend, but it’s also a great way to meet some of our well known Australians.
I hope you enjoy the show as much as we did making it.
Watch a sneak preview of episode one below…
Channel 7 Saturday 4th July 5:30pm SYD/ 5pm MELB, ADE, PER / 4:30pm BRIS/
Andrew Daddo and Damien Leith head to the Blue Mountains for a jam packed weekend of surprises. First up, Andrew and Damien take care of some unfinished Leith family business at the original Ugg Boot store in Faulconbridge, before sharing high tea at the lavishly refurbed Hydro Majestic Hotel. The boys travel on into a remote part of Mount Tomah to see an enchanting cliff-face love cave and meet the eccentric builder who created the amazing cave-for-hire. Then it’s back to Leura to hear stories about UFO’s and Big Foot Yowies from local paranormal investigators over a dinner at Leura Garage. After a heavy night’s sleep at Lillianfels Resort in Katoomba Andrew teases Damien over breakfast about the day’s upcoming events which are dynamic off-road segway action at the Fairmont Resort, white knuckle abseiling at Mount York and a visit to the breathtaking Breenhold Gardens, which was used to film the movie The Great Gatsby with Leonardo DiCaprio — who watched the Super Bowl with the owner’s swooning daughter. In the car as they travel Andrew and Damien also share stories about family, career and Damien’s friend who believes that Yowies can travel through space and time.
Channel 7 Saturday 11th July 5:30pm SYD/ 5pm MELB, ADE / 4:30pm BRIS, PER
Rob Carlton is Andrew’s travel companion as they make their way from Rob’s neighbourhood of Avoca Beach NSW to the Hunter Valley which Rob has loved since being a kid there when his uncle was the mayor of Dungog. In Pokolbin, Andrew and Rob have lunch at an Irish pub and debate the definition of a chip, before trimming Brumby bushes in Australia’s largest public gardens, then taking a horse and cart ride to Cypress Lakes for a round of golf then dinner at Botanica in Spices Winery where Rob shares a story about an encounter with a young Tom Cruise. The next day Andrew takes Rob on a chopper for breakfast and a lesson in making a real cafe quality flat white coffee at Peterson’s Cafe, Pokolbin. Later, Rob shows off his world record breaking wine stomping skills at the Hunter Valley winery. They then head to Broke to drop in to an Alpaca farm and meet Lucy — the Alpaca with Hollywood good looks and star of countless wedding photos. Up the road at the Margan’s estate where they get to see their lunch picked fresh from the garden before heading to Edgworth near lake Macquarie to the Lost In The 50s museum to see an incredible collection of amazing cars including the original Batmobile, the Australian icon Gogomobile and the time travelling DeLorean DMC from the Back To The Future movies.
Channel 7 Saturday 18th July 5:30pm SYD/ 2pm, ADE / 4:30pm BRIS, MELB, PER
Andrew Daddo takes Townsville local Adam Brand on a road trip to Charters Towers where they do a ghost tour, visit a classic drive-in movie theatre, pan for gold and strike lucky, The next day Daddo and Brand go to Leahton Park to bear witness to meet JR — the owner of the longest horns in the world — and his human owners who also make saddles and do amazing tours on their ranch estate. On the way back to Townsville the boys hug wombats and get up close and personal with crocodiles in a wildlife refuge centre before competing in a Pizza Cook-Off at Adam’s own italian restaurant in Townsville — Brandys.
Channel 7 Saturday 26th July 5:30pm SYD/ 4:30pm BRIS/ 2pm MELB/ 2:30pm ADE / Sunday 27th 1:30pm PER
Andrew Daddo takes the Queensland based hypnotist Peter Powers from Bowen to Airlie Beach and The Whitsundays — the place that made Peter and his wife and family fall in love and relocate to Queensland. Along the way the guys release a 60 year old turtle back into the wild with the Bowen community, before dropping by Joachim’s Pies for a Hugh Jackman Extra Hunky Pie and stories from the Hugh Jackman movie Australia, which filmed all around the town.The gents take photos together at the Big Mango and with The World’s Most Beautiful Scarecrow before settling in for the night at the Big 4 Adventure Park where the guys get down to some serious BBQ business. The next day Andrew and Peter ditch the cars for tall ships, yachts, tender boats, Jet Skis as they head to Daydream Island where they hand feed prawns to rays before getting to know each other over dinner at Mermaids. The guys share stories in the car and out about hypnotisms gone wrong, Daddo’s fishing fails and Peter’s love of fruit.