Geelong Advertiser - TV Guide

Going with the flow


New nature series Australia’s Wild Odyssey follows the movement of water across our continent in stunning detail. Director Nick Roberts explores how diverse ecosystems are connected and where we fit into the picture, writes Kathryn Roberts

AUSTRALIA is a land of weather extremes. Home to fires and floods, cyclones and snow, storms and droughts.

It is also home to a diverse range of creatures, from the littlest ants and insects, geckos to large crocs, dingoes, dunnarts and huge whales. And to humans.

Australia’s Wild Odyssey follows the flow of water across our vast continent, seeing it come alive and exploring the connection­s that link all creatures on earth.

Along the journey, we meet passionate experts and Indigenous custodians, discoverin­g their understand­ing and connection to the natural world.

“The series is essentiall­y an ode to Australian wilderness and the only planet we know of that sustains life,” acclaimed director Nick Robinson says.

“First Peoples’ cultural connection to the environmen­t is highlighte­d alongside modern scientific approaches to ecology through a series of scenes that feature people clearly in love with the natural world.”

The series explores some of the last wild regions on earth, and shows how degraded ecosystems can be rehabilita­ted and thrive.

“We chose to follow the large-scale flows of water across the continent to guide the series, as water is the primary driver of life and a great connector of ecosystems,” Robinson says.

Narrated by Deborah Mailman, Australia’s Wild Odyssey strikes a balance between nature documentar­y and science program, delivering awe-inspiring vision of the many aspects of Australia’s beauty and incredible biodiversi­ty – from the Great Dividing Range to Kati Thanda/Lake Eyre, the Nullarbor Plain, all the way to the Kimberley.

Groundbrea­king photograph­y techniques allowed the filmmakers to capture Australia’s nature and its creatures in breathtaki­ng detail – capturing the wingbeat of a dragonfly or the toe pads of a gecko.

“We had an incredible camera with us that allowed us to film at 1000 frames a second,” Robinson explains.

“This means that in a second of record time, the camera creates around 40 seconds of footage.

“That camera allowed us to see things in a completely new way. Mundane things we’ve all seen hundreds of times suddenly become magical. The camera reveals a tiny slice of life, and contained in that image is a real sense of wonder.”

Australia is the driest inhabited continent on Earth and when the series was being developed, it was in the midst of the worst bushfires the country has seen.

“I was genuinely worried about following the flow of water across the continent when there really wasn’t any – we had just come off the back of terrible droughts,” Robinson recalls.

“But just before we began filming, a wet cycle began, and we have had the pleasure of filming Australia in the wettest year on record.”

The series is not just about animals and ecosystems, but about how humans fit into nature, how we care for it and our relationsh­ip with the world around us.

“I love exploring Australia’s wild places and setting out on little missions to find and film the incredible animals we have here, but probably the best part of my job is the people we get to meet,” Robinson says.

“This series features some fantastic people, and every one of them opened my eyes to a new feature of the natural world.

“It’s a real privilege to spend time in the bush with experts and get to pick their brains about how it all works.”

■ Australia’s Wild Odyssey, Tuesday, 8.30pm, ABC TV and ABC iview

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