The electorate of Eden-Monaro surrounds the Canberra bubble on all sides, yet is also a world away from the games and battles that happen within the corridors of power.
A week out from the byelection, the first of the 46th parliament and the first since the dual crises of bushfires and coronavirus, the marginal seat is still very much up for grabs.
There are two stories that can be told about the byelection so far, both what it means within the bubble and what it means to the approximately 114,000 voters in the region.
On one hand there's a story of leadership tests, preference flows and false emails, and on the other the story of a diverse community, much of which was brought to its knees by fire, pushed down when recovery seemed possible, and feeling forgotten by decision-makers.
First, what the byelection means in Canberra. Starting with the retirement of well-respected Labor MP Mike Kelly, the race opened with a war of words between Liberal Andrew Constance and Nationals' John Barilaro - two men men who sit around the NSW state government cabinet table, only for neither one to even put their hand up for their party's preselection contests.
In the eyes and column inches of pundits it also opened up a series of "leadership tests" for the leaders of the major parties. For Prime Minister Scott Morrison, the byelection can be seen as a referendum on his leadership. His reception during the bushfire crisis can be described as frosty at best, an early trip to Hawaii leaving him playing catch-up in the minds of many Australians.
But since then, the response to the coronavirus pandemic from the federal government has been largely praised, with confidence growing in the prime minister as Australians have watched cases and deaths climb in similar countries overseas while the outbreak here has been mostly well-managed.
While millions of Australians are out of work or have less hours, millions are also remaining connected to their employers through JobKeeper payments. If Liberal candidate Fiona Kotvojs wins, breaking with the historic hoodoo of governments losing byelections, it will be seen as a tick of approval not for Dr Kotvojs, but for Mr Morrison.
Likewise, victory or defeat for Labor's Kristy McBain will be measured as success or failure for Labor leader Anthony Albanese. Victory for Labor will merely meet expectations and not be long discussed, but a loss would be seen as a significant failure and raked over in detail. Questions would be asked about the role of the branch-stacking scandal in Victoria and the ASIO raid on a NSW state Labor MP once early polling had already started.
Within the electorate, though, the main issues at hand aren't the future prospects of Scott Morrison or Anthony Albanese - it's about how they will make it through the next few months, if and how they will rebuild lives and businesses.
The main thing voters have told politicians and reporters who have descended on the regional centres of the electorate in recent weeks is they don't want any more promises, they want things to actually get done, and for certainty in policies to be able to make decisions about their futures.
The promises themselves have come fast, from all sides, with the Nationals candidate Trevor Hicks even promising to cross the floor on a dairy industry royal commission before he's even elected.
Labor's campaign has been full of announceables - a maternity ward for Yass hospital, funding for the Barton Highway, funding for Dunns Creek Road in Googong, a feasibility study on Narooma Bridge, and a push to get bushfire recovery assistance to people faster.
Many of these promises are on state issues, like the Yass hospital, or rely on the NSW government also coming to the table. Many, of course, also rely on Labor winning government at the next federal election.
The campaign from Dr Kotvojs, with the responsibility of potentially joining the government, has been somewhat more muted on announcing money for different projects, but has ramped up in recent times with government announcements that have included projects that will benefit the electorate. Upgrades to local airports, and bushfire recovery projects that will benefit timber mills, wine growers and apple and pear growers will make a difference to communities in many corners of the electorate.
Both the major party candidates bring lived experience of the summer's bushfire crisis and promise to bring that voice to Canberra, to improve processes and direct assistance more efficiently, something that all can agree is sorely needed.