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5 January 2024 · Mazda Stories

Blueberry The Mazda 3

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Global travellers Tia and Cheveyo found the ideal road trip partner when they embarked on the journey of a lifetime – travelling 28,000 kilometres exploring Australia in a 2005 Mazda3.

Travelling throughout Australia is an aspiration for many. So many that it’s spawned a vast local industry.

Exploring the more than 7.7 million square kilometres of the world’s oldest island continent has given rise to vast fleets of four-wheel drive vehicles, caravans and campers.

In 2021, the Australian caravan and camping industry stood at $23 billion, directly employing 53,000 people and manufacturing more than 20,000 vehicles each year to support the 12 million trips and 60 million visitor nights logged in caravan parks across the country.

Towing those caravans are record-selling numbers of 4x4 and 4x2 utes, such as the popular Mazda BT-50, the ideal vehicle for long-distance touring.

But when full-time world travellers Tia and Cheveyo from the popular YouTube channel One Pack Wanderers arrived in Perth earlier this year, their initial down-under adventure plan didn’t include a vehicle or ‘van.

However, it didn’t take long for the travel-loving duo to discover the advantages of having their own wheels.

“We realised public transportation was not the best way to see Australia,” said Tia. “This place was just too big and uninhabited for that! We needed to find a better way.”

So, the pair went shopping.

“A big road trip was always going to be part of our Australian experience,” said Cheveyo. “And buying a car made a lot more sense than renting, in our case.

“We spent a whole day going to different used car dealers. Eventually, it was between two Mazdas.”

They chose a 2005 Mazda3 in Winning Blue and gave the car a fitting name.

“We chose Blueberry because we had a good feeling about her - and Tia liked the colour.”

They plucked ‘Blueberry’ from the mid-2000s detective show Psych, where the main character’s best friend drove a little blue car of the same name.

ON THE ROAD

The travelling couple quickly planned their first trip. In true see-Australia fashion, it was going to be a long drive.

“We decided we would take six weeks to drive Blueberry all the way to Melbourne,” said Cheveyo. “The journey would be at least 2,000 miles. That’s like driving from Los Angeles to Chicago.”

Cheveyo made sure Blueberry was correctly prepped for their first big trip, conducting a thorough inspection and an oil and filter change before loading some essentials.

Following the Western Australia coastline down to Albany and then to Norseman, the pair arrived at the start of the Nullarbor Plain, and the vast expanses of south-central Australia.

“It’s amazing how remote everything feels here,” said Tia.

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Cheveyo and Tia captured some captivating footage of their travels en route to Melbourne, which included a stop-over in Adelaide and a search for glow worms in Apollo Bay.

A large and unexpected discovery along the way tickled them.

“This is Larry the Lobster,” says Cheveyo, speaking to the camera through a barely concealed smile while standing in front of the enormous four-tonne lobster statue in Kingston SE, on South Australia’s limestone coast. Larry would be the first of several “Big Things” the pair would hilariously stumble upon in their long travels.

After arriving in Melbourne the couple made a major decision.

“We are going to attempt to circumnavigate the entire continent, which Australians call ‘The Big Lap’,” says Tia.

It was a bold decision, but in step with their adventure-seeking style. With many thousands of kilometres of open road ahead, little Blueberry was re-checked and prepped again, which included another oil change.

Mount Kosciuszko was followed by Canberra and then Sydney, but only after stops at both The Big Merino and The Big Potato, so Tia could, according to Cheveyo, “feed her passion for Australian humour.”

Blueberry then made the enormous trek up to Brisbane and then Cairns in Far North Queensland. Next, it was west and across the top of Australia, which Tia described as “like the Nullarbor but turned up a notch” with roads that “would turn to single-lane without warning.”

“Darwin felt like a small town,” she said. “The dramatic red rocks reminded us of our home town in Arizona, except everything was covered in lush green.”

Being at the top of Australia “felt like we were on top of the world,” she said, “but that wouldn’t last.”

Sitting at the final Australian capital city before their last coastal run to complete their “Big Lap” back to Perth, the rain arrived. The Great Northern Highway at the Fitzroy Crossing was closed, and no detour was available for at least several days.

“After months on the road, having covered thousands of miles in trusty little Blueberry, the thing that stopped us was Mother Nature,” said Cheveyo. “A freak storm had covered the Northern Territory and flooding made a river crossing impassable.

“Our big goal of circumnavigating Australia was over.”

SOUTH THEN WEST

With the major traffic route connecting the Northern Territory with Western Australia blocked, and with time and budget ticking away, they had few options.

“The only available detour back to Perth that was doable with Blueberry had us cutting through the centre of the continent,” said Cheveyo.

“The Australians call it the world’s longest shortcut and it would add more than a thousand miles to our trip.”

Blueberry turned south and made the enormous trek from the top of the Northern Territory all the way down towards Adelaide, and then west across the Nullarbor Plain again back to the WA capital. It was a remarkable feat of endurance.

“This place is a wild land that demands adaptability and patience,” said Tia. “You can’t come here and plan for everything because Australia will surprise you. I think that is a huge part of what made this trip so special. It was just the two of us, and little Blueberry, accepting what came. And besides; what good story starts with ‘everything went according to plan?’”

Amongst the red earth of central Australia, the country’s bright coastal waters and endless horizons of vast space, one trusty and dependable travel companion kept the duo going: Blueberry.

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Arriving back in Perth meant the couple’s extraordinary Australian adventure was coming to an end. So was their time with the incredible Mazda3 that conquered Australia with them.

Cheveyo: “We found a good home for Blueberry. But, honestly, it was a lot harder saying goodbye than I expected.”

By the end of its travels with Tia and Cheveyo, Blueberry had completed more than 28,000 trouble-free and memorable kilometres.

“She never missed a beat,” he said, “which I think is quite the feat considering Australia’s often difficult climate.

Tia and Cheveyo’s next stop was New Zealand. Despite leaving Blueberry back in Perth, the couple still receive regular updates.

“We’ve since received multiple pictures of Blueberry from various viewers located in Perth,” said Cheveyo. “It’s always fun to open those messages and see Blueberry sitting at a traffic light, or parked somewhere.”

Having explored more than 30 countries together, new adventures await Tia and Cheveyo. But their memories of Blueberry, their ever-dependable 2005 Mazda3 Sedan, will always travel with them.

Click here to discover more about Tia and Cheveyo’s Australian adventures with Blueberry the Mazda3.

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