Comics buzz off Out­back

Hamish & Andy test drive Aus­tralia and NZ, writes Guy Davis

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - TELE­VI­SION -

IT’S a beau­ti­ful morn­ing in Ku­randa, an idyl­lic lit­tle patch of trop­i­cal par­adise 20km or so out of Cairns. It’s not even 9am but the tem­per­a­ture is al­ready a balmy 25, and it’s shap­ing up to be a lovely day.

It’s too bad for Andy Lee. He’s kick­ing the day off with thou­sands of bees crawl­ing on his face.

Wel­come to one of the first stops on the Aus­tralian leg of Hamish and Andy’s Car­a­van of Courage: Aus­tralia vs New Zealand two-part TV se­ries, which has Lee and his com­edy com­rade Hamish Blake trav­el­ling the length of New Zealand and the breadth of Aus­tralia to de­ter­mine which na­tion is the best.

In all hon­esty, though, it’s re­ally an op­por­tu­nity for the pair to in­ter­act with some truly colour­ful char­ac­ters and find new and in­ter­est­ing ways to pos­si­bly cause them­selves an in­jury.

I catch up with the lads in Queens­land, just be­fore they em­bark on an epic trek of 4000km or so to Broome in WA, they’d al­ready been in­vited to take a crack at be­ing rodeo clowns, a task that left Blake ‘‘the most ter­ri­fied I’d ever been’’.

Now Lee is ly­ing very still as a lo­cal bee­keeper gently cov­ers him in a swarm that grad­u­ally en­velopes his face and torso. He seems re­mark­ably calm, even as Blake urges the bee­keeper on. ‘‘You are now a hive,’’ Blake says with a grin.

That’s how it goes when you take the wheel of the Car­a­van of Courage – you have to be open to new ex­pe­ri­ences.

‘‘The best thing about these trips is that when you shoot footage chrono­log­i­cally, any­thing can hap­pen,’’ Blake says.

‘‘That’s the fun of this trip or any long road trip, re­ally. You have an idea of where you’re go­ing but when you reach the end, you re­alise you didn’t have any idea of how it might play out. You aim for that magic mix of hav­ing a plan, but not know­ing what’s go­ing to hap­pen. Like meet­ing a vam­pire.’’

Oh, that’s right: dur­ing their twoweek trip through New Zealand, they met a per­fectly nice fel­low who claimed to be an ac­tual vam­pire. ‘‘He was ac­tu­ally a lovely guy,’’ Blake says.

With the New Zealand leg be­hind them Blake and Lee were ready for the Aus­tralian sec­tion of this Car­a­van of Courage event. And span­ning the sun­burnt coun­try from coast to coast was a trip they’d had in mind for a while, Blake ex­plains.

‘‘The way our sched­ule worked out this year, with our Euro Gap Year be­fore the Olympics, we were kind of done by July, and it opened up some room for us to get this trip away.

‘‘We’re go­ing a bit in­land into Queens­land and then we’re go­ing straight across to Broome and that’s an in­ter­est­ing one be­cause it’s 400, 500km a day with not a lot go­ing on, it seems. So you can re­ally forge your own jour­ney, stop if you see some­thing in­ter­est­ing,’’ Lee adds.

They don’t they think they’ll tire of trav­el­ling to­gether any time soon.

‘‘Our bucket list still has a few things to tick off,’’ Blake says.

‘‘We don’t want to rush it too much, maybe tick them off over the next five years or so . . . it seems to be get­ting more and more fun, the more trips Ando and I take to­gether.

‘‘On one hand, that’s awe­some. But we also won­der how we’re go­ing to con­tinue jug­gling that with real life. It’s good in a way: we won’t be 55 years old and go­ing off on a gap year. It’s a big world, and I don’t know if you can come close to see­ing it all in one life­time.’’

Lee agrees. ‘‘There’s an­other side to that coin, though. This show might be hor­ri­ble and we might never get asked to do an­other one.’’

Un­likely, lads. Un­likely.

Hamish and Andy’s Car­a­van Of Courage: Aus­tralia vs New Zealand: Sun­day, 6.30pm, Nine, NBN.

Hamish Blake and Andy Lees.

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