12 May 2023 · Mazda Stories

Talking Tasmania


Nestled beneath one of the wildest stretches of ocean in the world, the Apple Isle is sitting snugly at the heart of the latest domestic tourism trend. From ripe, juicy oysters, to untouched landscapes, Tasmania is gladly riding a wave of love from its star-crossed mainlanders.

For Melbourne-born actress Marny Kennedy, the pull to the tiny island was a bid to explore the homeland of her partner Rulla, who is a proud Tulampanga Kooparoona Niara man.

Tasmania welcomed the pair with open arms earlier this year, after making the trip down from Victoria in Marny’s Mazda CX-30. And like many mainlanders whose first glimpse of the island state is from behind the rails of the Spirit of Tasmania, Marny and Rulla were over the moon to arrive in their own vehicle.

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“Taking the CX-30 over on the Spirit was actually a really effortless process. Having the Mazda over there just made it so much easier to explore – being able to pack the car up with my camping gear and our suitcases without any stress was just so much easier than going through the airport and worrying about over-packing,” Marny said.

But if the lure of the beauty of the Bass Strait wasn’t already enough, Marny loved the ease of sailing in and making a beeline for Tasmania’s moorish fare.

“As soon as we got off the Spirit on our first morning, we headed straight to the famous Christmas Hill Raspberry Farm Café for breakfast. It’s an absolute non-negotiable when you’re passing through to Deloraine,” she said.

The pair jumped back into their Mazda CX-30 to continue the adventure – this time dotting around the quaint towns that pepper Tassie’s northern region.

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“We spent a lot of time just driving through the whole northern region, stopping at peaceful little creeks or rivers for a dip.

And after a ‘huge few months’, the pair enjoyed slowing down and basking in the time-less freedom of holiday mode.

“The few days we spent out at Badger Head was a good antidote to that intensity [of the Christmas period]. It was time for us to just stop and breathe a bit of the Tassie salt air, read, cook, play music and decompress,” she said.

But between lazy days soaking up the Tassie sun, Marny also got to relive the 4WD adventures of her childhood with a twist.

“It was definitely another highlight. I wasn’t sure how the CX-30 would go off the beaten track, but she handled it beautifully. I grew up as a 4WD kid, so getting to replicate that feeling of driving with the windows down like we used to? That was the best feeling,” she said.

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“There’s something nice about having your own car with you while on a holiday – that sense of familiarity despite travelling on new roads makes a difference.”

- Marny Kennedy

Meeting the family was a treat as well. Gifted local honey and honeycomb by Rulla’s dad, her first glimpse of Rulla’s homeland was nothing short of spectacular.

“We spent a few nights staying out at Trowunna Wildlife Sanctuary, which is where Rulla grew up,” she said.

Rulla’s father, Androo Kelly, has owned the sanctuary since the early 90s. Walking in the footsteps of his father, Rulla is an animal keeper by trade, specialising in native Tasmanian wildlife.

“I finally got to meet ‘Marny’, the six-month-old Tasmanian Devil at Trowunna, who I was lucky enough to have named after me. Rulla has the most incredible innate ability to handle Devils.”

Because of Rulla’s expertise, Marny was even able to have a ‘proper cuddle with her’ – which is something she says she’ll cherish forever. 

After her cup was filled with Tasmanian wildlife cuddles, it was time to turn their attention to Country.

“We got to explore all throughout Kooparoona Niara (Great Western Tiers), including hiking through Tulumpunga, which is where Rulla was born out on Country.

Being able to hike through Tulampunga with Rulla and look out over the beautiful mountains, valleys and rivers whilst learning about the deep cultural significance of the area, which was used for ceremonial gathering, was very special,” she said.

And despite making the most of their adventure, Marny is itching to get back down to the island that Rulla calls home – and next time, hopes to spend a little longer taking it all in.

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You could honestly spend months travelling around – there’s so much to experience – particularly within nature. I’d love to take the Mazda over for a longer trip next time and get some more camping in,” she said.

And she can’t forget her long-awaited dreams of shucking fresh oysters.

“I’m already planning my next trip back down to get my oyster and champagne moment,” she said.