Tacloban has been flattened. Driving down the main high street, hardly a single building is left standing.
People say this town was hit by a wall of water when the typhoon hit on Friday. There is the stench of rotting corpses. Driving in from the airport, we saw scores of bodies lying by the roadside. For three days they have been there, with no one to bury them.
For families living around the small community of Springwood in the Blue Mountains, many have had their lives turned upside down. Australians are well used to the threat of bush fires, but nothing can prepare you for the moment when you return home to find your house and everything inside utterly gutted by fire.
"It's devastating but we're all here and that's the main thing," Chris Muller told me, as her daughter picked through the smouldering rubble of her mother's home.
Tony Abbott has often faced criticism for his attitude towards women. That criticism has sometimes been emphatic, courtesy of former Prime Minister Julia Gillard. It has sometimes been merely embarrassed, courtesy of one of his own daughters.
Mr Abbott's new cabinet, unveiled on Monday, will do little to lessen the flak, but suggests the soon-to-be prime minister is not unduly concerned. Just one of the 19 cabinet members is a woman. Mr Abbott said he himself was disappointed with the situation. But as is pointed out here, not too disappointed to do anything about it.
"It's Tony Time" read the banner at the coalition victory party last night, as two glitzy-looking women encouraged the crowd to "gimme a T, gimme an O, gimme an N, gimme a Y" and then begged the question: "What have you got?"
The answer is Tony Abbott and with it a significant shift to the right, bringing an end to six years of an often dysfunctional Labor government.
Labor's six years in power are emphatically over. Australia's economic growth during difficult global financial times should have played well for an incumbent government. But the economy has begun to slow and Kevin Rudd's Labor party has been undone by disunity and infighting. The rivalry between Mr Rudd and Julia Gillard which saw the leadership of the party and the country switch back and forth did not sit well with voters.
You sense from voters that Mr Abbott's victory is not so much a ringing endorsement as a rejection of Labor. He's a conservative who has promised a tough line on immigration and asylum-seekers. He opposes gay marriage and has been a sceptic on climate change. Kevin Rudd sold himself as the comeback kid. It didn't work. His party now faces a period of further introspection.
Throughout this campaign Tony Abbott has been able to play it relatively safe, knowing his long-standing lead in the polls meant he simply had to avoid making a game-changing blunder. It's been his race to lose; Kevin Rudd's to try to win.
Mr Rudd has pitched himself as the "comeback kid" but after an initial honeymoon (or second honeymoon) period after he ousted Julia Gillard, his numbers began to slump.
In the small town of Scone in New South Wales, people are enjoying a day at the races.
The race course sits on the wide grassy plains that stretch out among the hills of the Upper Hunter Valley. On a bright winter's day, it is a beautiful spot and there is a fair crowd enjoying a few beers, a burger and a bet.
The issue of asylum seekers trying to reach Australia's shores has been prominent in the current general election campaign. Both main parties have declared tough policies, from resettling new arrivals in Papua New Guinea to revoking the visas of existing refugees.
Where do you see yourself in five years' time? That classic, cold-sweat-inducing question asked by mothers and prospective employers.
I've managed my first face-to-face encounter with Tony Abbott, the man who the opinion polls suggest is favourite to be Australia's next prime minister.
Like many high-ranking politicians, when you meet him up close, Mr Abbott is a strikingly healthy and well-groomed looking fellow with an air of self-confidence. The opposition leader is well known for taking care of himself.
Here in Australia you sometimes feel like Julian Assange is of more fascination abroad than he is at home. "All your BBC Radio 4 listeners just love hearing about him, I just don't understand why," one Australian political journalist who knows Britain well told me here recently.
The Australian Wikileaks founder is running for a Senate seat in the state of Victoria in next month's election but most pundits here write him off as having next to no chance of getting elected.
Since touching down in Sydney two weeks ago, no trip to the grocery store or one of the city's myriad of amazing restaurants has been complete without an anguished cry of "how much?", or as they say in my Yorkshire homeland "How many?"
On day one it was raspberries, A$10 ($9.20, £5.90) a punnet! On day two it was French cheese, A$149 a kilo! On day three a bacon and egg sarnie, A$12. ("What an eclectic diet he has," I hear you cry.)
Jon has worked for the BBC for more than 15 years. He finds himself in Sydney after following a circuitous route with postings in Gaza, Washington, Cairo and Sheffield. Jon reported across the Middle East for three years and was awarded a Silver Sony Award for radio journalism of the year for his coverage of the 2012 Gaza/Israel War.
Jon lived in New Zealand in 2000/1 where he worked as a presenter for Radio New Zealand. He is a keen cyclist and in 2002 rode the entire 3,300km route of the Tour De France alongside the race, filing reports for BBC radio.
Jon went to school in Sheffield in South Yorkshire before doing a degree in French and politics at the University of Edinburgh. He studied journalism at the University of Central Lancashire and got his first reporter job at BBC Radio Sheffield.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.