SIMON King hit the ground running when he arrived in Bathurst from the United Kingdom in February - literally.
"In the first few days I was here, Graeme [mayor Graeme Hanger] took me around Mount Panorama," he said. "That was quite an experience in itself.
“And then I ran it."
Mr King, from Cirencester in England's Cotswolds region, has come to Bathurst on an extended trip that is part fact-finding mission, part late career break and part cultural investigation.
A previous visitor to Australia, he had watched with interest the growing enthusiasm in Cirencester, north-west of London, for a formal friendship arrangement with the city of Bathurst.
When he found out that Bathurst had a parkrun (Mr King had been setting up the equivalent event in Cirencester), his impulsive decision was made.
"I thought, I know what I'll do. I'll make sure parkrun in Cirencester is launched, I'll get on a plane and I'll run the one here," he said.
He achieved that aim on his first Saturday morning in Bathurst - two days after arriving in town and the day before running around Mount Panorama.
Mr King says there were plenty of reasons for him to come to Bathurst - from escaping the English winter to getting fit and getting a tan - but at the heart of his big adventure is a belief in the potential for the still embryonic friendship arrangement between the two communities.
He arrived in late February and will be in Bathurst until April 27, with side trips to the Grand Prix in Melbourne and Commonwealth Games on Queensland’s Gold Coast in between.
In the meantime, he has quickly established himself in the community, meeting runners (including Bathurst parkrun directors Jennifer Arnold and Stephen Jackson) and cyclists, forming connections with Bathurst Regional Council and talking to businesses.
He has had some support from Earl Bathurst of Cirencester and Councillor Mark Harris of Cirencester Town Council, who have been driving forces behind the friendship arrangement, but says the trip is essentially being made "off his own bat".
"It was a conscious decision, with my family, for me to take the opportunity while I'm the age I am," he said.
He has been promoting Cirencester in Bathurst and will be promoting Bathurst when he returns home in late April, using his background in encouraging entrepreneurship and enterprise to focus on opportunities for both communities.
A dream is to one day see a shop in Cirencester selling food and art and craft from Bathurst and one in Bathurst selling the same items from Cirencester. He also thinks there are more opportunities for student exchanges between the communities.
"I will be supporting the friendship and offering advice and guidance from my own trip," he said.
And his impressions of Bathurst?
He says the city is friendly, welcoming and lively, though the size of the trucks and the utes that roam around the CBD has been a surprise, as has been the scale of inland Australia compared with the compact UK.
"I have been invited to events. I keep bumping into people," he said of Bathurst.
"Everyone seems interested in where I have been here, what I have been doing. That made me feel part of the place within days - within hours."
Like travel writer Bill Bryson, who developed an unhealthy obsession with Australia's killer wildlife when he published Down Under in 2000, Mr King is wary of Bathurst's non-human inhabitants - "from the redbacks to the snakes".
"Even the magpies will swoop on you in spring during nesting time,” he said.
And he has been in town long enough to see some of the weather extremes, including the storm that rumbled into Bathurst earlier this month and dumped a downpour that wouldn’t be out of place in the tropics.
“That in itself was an experience,” he said.
He originally had plans to bring his bike with him from Cirencester, but baulked at the thought of putting it on an international flight and trying to wrestle it on to Sydney's train system.
He has hired a bike instead from Belly's Bikes and will use it to compete in the Blayney to Bathurst next month during the Bathurst Cycling Classic.
He says the bike shop he uses in Cirencester, Independent Bike Works, has its own Bathurst connection.
"The owner, Jim Bartholomew, is actually from Bathurst - it's a small world."
Before he returns to the UK, he will be helping Nicky Price, of BBC Radio Gloucestershire, put together a special program from Bathurst on April 26.
Ms Price, who will be in Australia for the Commonwealth Games, and Mr King with Bathurst Regional Council will do a live broadcast from the Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum back to the UK.