More than 20 athletes from our region have made the trip Down Under for the Commonwealth Games.
A tropical rainstorm in the so-called 'Sunshine State' marked an eccentric beginning to an opening ceremony in which the Prince of Wales declared open the 2018 games in Australia's Gold Coast.
Athletes from major nations and tiny Pacific atolls marched shoulder to shoulder during a vibrant ceremony which celebrated both the region's indigenous origins and its modern surfing culture.
North East athletes taking part include cyclist Harry Tanfield from great Ayton, Newcastle Eagles basketball player Drew Lasker and Wallsend marathon runner Sonia Samuels.
"Even though we are half a world away, we are all connected," said the Prince of Wales, after the final leg of the Queen's Baton Relay was completed by Australian hurdling star Sally Pearson in the Cararra Stadium.