Home and Away is based around the community of Summerbay, (a small beachside country town). It is located somewhere north of Sydney on the east coast of Australia. The central characters in Summerbay are the Sutherland Family. This family includes the characters Rhys, the father and manager of the Summerbay Caravan Park and his three teenage daughters, twins, Kirsty and Jade (sixteen), Danni who is attempting her university degree in Sydney majoring in journalism and Max, Rhys" mischievous thirteen year old nephew. Other characters incorporated into the storyline all interweave with the Sutherland family in varying ways, such as being colleagues, friends or relations.
Home and Away is made to appeal to a family audience based on the variety of age groups in the programme. It has a G rating and screens at 7"o"clock; with advertisement breaks targeted at all the family, advertising Safeway food sales, Kleenex tissues, Hungry Jacks, health insurance, house hold items, etc.
This soap opera depicts other family units like Irene Roberts, a middle-aged mother, her adopted sixteen-year-old son Nick Smith who is Jade Sutherland's boyfriend and long time friend Jesse McGregor, former cell mate now personal trainer. Irene is the receptionist at Summerbay High School. Every episode a small part of the soap opera deals with teenage problems and themes. Such as relationships and conflicts with teachers and their parents. Through the teenagers the soap opera often addresses significant issues for instance abuse, inappropriate drug use, coping with disability and bulimia. .
The family theme continues with a different slant, with battling single mother Leah Patterson looking after her deaf two-year-old son, V.J. Sometimes receiving assistance from concerned family members in Sydney and brother whom lives in the bay, Alexi. By introducing different types of families into the storyline Home and Away are showing the audience the diversity of Australian families.