Peggy’s New Zealand Adventure

Peggy Beauregard | Helen Brahms | Cruise Planners | Have2Cruise | Have2Travel | New Zealand

Peggy Beauregard

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HELEN: Kia Ora and welcome to the Have2Travel show. I’m your host, Helen Brahms, from Cruise Planners. And today, it is my honor and pleasure to have on the show with me, Peggy Beauregard. Peggy is an amazing, amazing real estate investor. But Peggy, welcome to the show, and thank you for taking the time out of your day to come and join us.

PEGGY:   Thank you, Helen, very much for this invitation. We’ll be looking forward to talking about the amazing trip that you booked for us. I have to tell you; this is one of the best trips I’ve ever had in my entire life.

HELEN: Thank you.

PEGGY:   And to introduce myself, I’m Peggy Beauregard, and we are real estate matchmakers. We match cash to deals and deals to cash, and we save the investor time and money, because the deals are brought to us and you get the returns.

HELEN: I love that.

PEGGY:   Thank you.

HELEN: Okay, so you were recently down in New Zealand, and I’m getting a lot of people asking questions about New Zealand lately. So rather than having me, as a person who grew up in New Zealand and somebody who will talk you to death on New Zealand. I’ve always been a travel agent promoting New Zealand. I thought it would be really cool to bring on somebody who is a client who recently came back from New Zealand to get a first-hand, boots on the ground American point of view on what New Zealand was like.

So that’s why I’ve got Peggy on here today, and what she has told me about her trip is absolutely amazing. So I’m looking forward to hearing the full details so that we can educate everybody else from a traveler’s perspective what New Zealand is like.

So Peggy, tell us, your first—well, I can’t say port of call, because you were not on a cruise. You were actually there in New Zealand doing your own customized land vacation. So your first stop was Auckland, which is where all the international flights come into. So what were your first impressions of Auckland, and what sort of things did you get to see and do while you were there?

PEGGY:   Thank you. Well, our first impression of Auckland is it’s big. It’s a big city, like most big cities, and we got picked up at the airport. So we were really happy about that because it’s a very long trip overnight there. And we got to see all the homes going in, and the differences in the history of the area. So we were on narrower street than I expected. The freeways were like four lanes, that kind of thing.

And then they took us into the city itself, and we were right in the middle of the city, City Central I think it’s called. And we stayed at this beautiful hotel called the Grand, and it’s—the Sky Walk is right there, which is like 260 meters or something ridiculously high. I’m scared of heights.

HELEN: [Laughter]

PEGGY:   And you could not get that in a picture anywhere you were in town. So I don’t know who does those pictures, but good for them. And where we stayed was like the LA Live here in Los Angeles, where I live. So that’s where all the happenings are and all the young people come, and the entertainment and all the bars. So that was really kind of fun. And you’re right on the bay. I had no idea that Auckland was on a bay, and what a beautiful, beautiful bay it is. The days were gorgeous. A little cool, but very, very gorgeous, clear. And I didn’t hear this until later in the trip, but the Maoris called this The Long White Cloud.

HELEN: Aotearoa.

PEGGY:   Yes. Because The Long White Cloud is there every day. It’s gorgeous. There’s this blue, blue sky, because they don’t have any of the things that we have in LA, and you could see how blue it is with this big, white puff running for miles and miles. So that was beautiful.

And the thing I think that I really enjoyed about Auckland was all the islands. You go down to the port and you hop on one of the ferries, and it takes you to an island. So the first day we were there, we just took the shortest ferry over to a place called Devonport. We did a little tour on a bus and went around, and they gave us all the history of this little island that was built in the 20s and looks like and acts like it’s still in the 50s.

HELEN: Yes, it does.

PEGGY:   Yes, it is. Of course, you meet the people on the bus. We were on a little 15-seat passenger bus, and a couple of people, I think the gal’s name was Adriana, went to lunch with us afterwards. We went to an Irish pub and listened to the music, and just sat and talked and got to know this young lady, and then walked this town.

What was really cool about the town is they all have overhangs, it would be like what you would call a veranda above it, but it’s just an overhang so you never got wet walking. And it rained all the time there, so it was really nice you wouldn’t get wet. So all the—and they’re all built out of wood. It was just a cute little town. Really, really enjoyed it. We did a lot of walking there.

And the next day, we did a bus hop-on/hop-off bus, and we went to the aquarium. And the aquarium had all the penguins that I had never seen. I thought these little penguins were like the babies, but they weren’t. They were the blues, the smallest penguin in the world, and they looked like—

HELEN: Aren’t they adorable?

PEGGY:   They’re so cute. They’re blue. They’re this light blue, not like all the other penguins: they’re black. But these are like blue. I’m like “Why are they blue?” And it’s because the water that they swim in is more turquoise, so they can’t be seen from above. Wow, how simple was that?

HELEN: Camouflage.

PEGGY:   So it was a great camouflage. And this enclosure had all—I think it had every penguin in the world there, and they were nesting. So it was really interesting to watch, because the female is nesting and the male is standing right in front of her and protecting so she would be protected. So I don’t know anything about penguins or how they are, how the wildlife is, so that was really, really interesting to see how protective the birds are of each other.

And that was fun, and then I went out to the zoo because I love zoos and I wanted to see the Kiwis. So I walked around the zoo and saw all the normal elephants, etcetera, and went into the Kiwi. They have a special thing just for Kiwis, and it’s so dark, and it’s so quiet.

HELEN: Well, they’re nocturnal birds.

PEGGY:   They’re nocturnal, but they keep it dark. So dark, even if they were moving you couldn’t see them. So I never saw a Kiwi.

HELEN: Aww.

PEGGY:   But I never did get to see a Kiwi. So I bought a charm, a Kiwi charm, for my bracelet.

HELEN: Awesome. What a great memento from New Zealand.

PEGGY:   That’s right. My nice, shiny Kiwi. And what we did do is we went up to—we made reservations. You have to have reservations to go up to Skywalk, to the restaurant there. So we made like a 9:30 reservation, and we were going back to our room to change to go up, and we met this man on the elevator, and we invited him to go with us, and he said “Yes.”

HELEN: Awesome.

PEGGY:   So he came in from England, and he came with us. So that was a lot of fun. We just had a blast. There are so many tourists there. We met so many people from so many countries. It was great. And then we also met—well, so then we got—so we did all of that, and then we went to Waiheke Island to do the wine tour. So they have a lot of white wines. We went to an olive. They had an olive oil place we went to. We went to a beer place. They had really great ginger beer.

HELEN: Oh, I love ginger beer. I haven’t had that in eons.

PEGGY:   Oh, it’s so good, I’m telling you.

HELEN: Yeah.

PEGGY:   And then we went to a place called Mudbrick and we walked up the hill. And the view from there is fantastic, I am telling you. Fantastic. You see all the islands. You’re way up high, so you see all the islands out in the bay. And when I bought that charm, that Kiwi charm, the fellow there said “Mudbrick. You’ve got to go to Mudbrick. That’s where I got married.”

And when I’m up there looking around, I’m going “Oh my God. Of course he got married here.” It’s just incredible, incredible. And then they had some wines to taste. They are mostly white wines, and I’m a red wine fan. So much for that. And then we stayed in town after that.

There’s a little town, and we walked that town and went to all the stores and checked all of that out, and then went back and got our boat to go back. And they have a grocery store there, and it’s just a little, tiny grocery store, and everything’s really close. Lots of people shopping there because that’s the only grocery store in town.

HELEN: It is, yes.

PEGGY:   Yep. There’s a few tourist places to buy things, but—oh, and they had great ice cream store there. I’m a big ice cream fan, so…

HELEN: Oh, there is great ice cream in New Zealand.

PEGGY:   Oh my God. All handmade. Oh my God. It’s so good. So then we—so that’s Auckland. And in the morning we got on a bus and we were being taken out to Rotorua. So we got to see all the countryside between Auckland and that town. And they stopped at some caves. But the fellow who drove, you know a lot of times you get on a tour bus and they’ve got a recording going on? But not this fellow.

He talked all about everything. He was brought up on a farm, so he was telling us all about the farms and how now—they used to be able to, when he lived on a farm, they had 120 cows per whatever the square footage you could have. And because they learned how to make this mash and be able to feed the cows better, they now have 420 cows on a farm instead of 120.

And the milk production there feeds 1/3 of the world in dairy products. So that was a huge surprise. And I think they have now over 4 million cows, and they’ve dropped about a million lamb/sheep. So I think they have 3 million sheep and 4 million cows, and that’s a huge production for them.

HELEN: Yep.

PEGGY:   So then we drove out through this beautiful, just beautiful—it was a couple hour drive through the back roads. Well they’re probably the main roads, but they go through all the little towns and all the farm areas.

HELEN: I will tell you this: those were the main roads that you were on.

PEGGY:   They were the main roads.

HELEN: Those are two-lane highways, one lane in each direction.

PEGGY:   Right. But you’re driving through neighborhoods. It’s not like they put in the highway and you bypass all of that. You’re going through the neighborhoods. It was just beautiful, just gorgeous. And then we went to these caves, which were—

HELEN: The Waitomo caves?

PEGGY:   The which caves?

HELEN: The Waitomo caves.

PEGGY:   Yes. And that was very interesting. You do the singing and you get the echo. You see the stalactites and stalagmites, and don’t touch. They build all these stairwells so you could get around. The only way to get out is by boat. That was really interesting too. It was cool. That was just so much fun to do. And then—

HELEN: One thing I like about that boat though is that you’re in a dark cave and you look up, and it’s like looking up at a starry sky.

PEGGY:   Yes, that’s right.

HELEN: And you have to remember that you’re inside a cave, and it’s little glow-worms.

PEGGY:   Oh, I’m glad you reminded me of that. Thank you. Yes, that was really amazing. That was the highlight of that part of the tour.

HELEN: Yeah. It always amazes me that you’re looking at the starry sky, and then you have to remember “Hang on. I’m inside a cave and I’m looking at the starry sky.” And it’s actually the cave’s ceiling.

PEGGY:   Yeah. And that was really nice. That was just so calming to be in that. And to me, that’s the way that all of New Zealand is. It’s very calming, and the people are so nice. It’s very quiet, and people don’t seem to be in a rush. It’s the first country I’ve ever been to, and I’ve been to a lot of countries, that I thought “Gee, if I had to move, this is where I would move.” Really great place.

HELEN: So after living in the States and going back home to New Zealand, I find that I lose track of time, because time tends to slow down. Because you’re not in the rush that the Americans are in. They’re just like “Oh, we’ll just do things as we go.” 10 days can feel like a month when you’re down there, very easily, very easily.

PEGGY:   Yes, I could see that. Well, we were only in a place for—I think Auckland was the longest. We were there three days. And every place else, I think we were there like we arrived and on the third day we were leaving. That’s the way my friend planned it, so that was fine. So then we got to Rotorua, and got unpacked. We went into this place called i-Site.

If there’s ever any tours you really want to take, they’re in every town. And you go to i-Site, and they tell you all the different things there are to do. And they have snacks there, and the ladies’ and men’s’ room. So it was a really great place to go. And people just hung out there because that’s where they would say “We’ll meet up at the i-Site.” So there were always hundreds of people around there, and they had lots of places for people to sit and wait.

HELEN: It’s like visitors’ centers.

PEGGY:   Yeah, centers.

HELEN: It’s something like visitors’ centers.

PEGGY:   Exactly. They’re visitors’ centers, but there’s always room just to hang out outside.  And taxis come by there, and all the busses come by there. So it’s also like the major point of transportation. So it’s a really great place to meet up, or to catch the bus or whatever, which is what we did. We caught the bus to—I’m sorry. You have to remind me the name of the sheep?

HELEN: The Agrodome.

PEGGY:   The Agrodome. That was so interesting to go out on a sheep farm. So they had the sheep show. They have every kind of sheep there is, I believe. And they have the sheep perform, which means they come out onto the stage, and get up on the spot they’re supposed to sit. And they sit and they eat, and that’s their performance.

HELEN: [Laughter]

PEGGY:   But it’s so interesting, because they’re all such different sheep. And then Scott is the emcee, and he does—he plays all these little games and has people come out of the audience, and then he also shears a sheep. And then outside, they have the sheepdog that runs the sheep into the box. And they were training a new dog, and it was really interesting, because they use a whistle to train the dog. And the sheep knew where to go, and the dog didn’t. So it was very entertaining.

HELEN: [Laughter]

PEGGY:   It was great. And then they had all the different bulls there, which I thought was interesting. Of all the different kinds of cows there are, they had these different bulls. An educational place. They bring the kids out for education. And it was so cold there. It was cold, windy and raining, and I was so cold. They have a beautiful shop, with all the different wools there, and of course I bought myself a scarf with merino wool.

HELEN: Yeah. And remind me, you were there in November? Was that correct? November?

PEGGY:   Yes. We were there in November.

HELEN: Okay. So you were there during the spring time?

PEGGY:   Yes, but even in California, normally, which it’s not normal right now, it’s cool up until June, which is when we hit our summer. So yeah, it was cool and it rained, and things like that, but we were prepared for that. It really didn’t bother us. I just have a tendency to be cold all the time. So then we took the bus back. We used public transportation to get out. I think it was a couple bucks each way. And we got off the bus and then we went over to Tamaki.

HELEN: The Maori village?

PEGGY:   The reception center. They put us on a bus and took us out to the village. And what was great about that village—it was for a dinner thing. What was great about it was they have these different games they play, and they taught you how to play the game. So me, I got up and played all the games with them. So I learned all these different games.

They go “This is a game that the women play. This is a game that the men play.” It actually didn’t start off as a game, some of these. They actually were learning self-defense. I’m like “Oh yeah, because these things at the end of the rope look like they could knock you out.” And that’s what they did. The women protected themselves with these big balls at the end of a rope.

HELEN: Oh, the poi.

PEGGY:   And they learned how to play with them and do fun things with them, but they also used them for protection.

HELEN: And also very good for limbering up the wrists as well, and keeping the wrists loose.

PEGGY:   Yes.

HELEN: And the shorter the poi—then they’ve got the short poi, which has the short rope on it. Then you’ve got the long poi, and they use them for limbering up the wrists and helping with coordination as well, because you can get each wrist going in a different direction.

PEGGY:   And they were excellent with it, of course. I still want to try it. What it would really be good is for carpal tunnel, for people that have that. It would be a great exercise for them. And the food there was absolutely delicious. Of course we met new people from other countries because it’s all tourists that are there.

But the Maoris, they were just wonderful, wonderful people. And what was really interesting is all the tattoos they have. I thought they put makeup on, but they don’t. They are tattooed. And tattooing is huge in all of Australia. The blacks, the all blacks, and the tattooing.

HELEN: You mean New Zealand.

PEGGY:   Yes, I’m sorry. Did I say the wrong country again?

HELEN: You said Australia, but we’re okay. New Zealand.

PEGGY:   New Zealand, yes. So all the tattooing, and everybody’s tattooed, and everybody wants to be a Maori. It is very interesting. And it’s just a lovely, lovely, lovely place. Then we walked through town on the next day. Again, it’s all moms and pops. They have a couple big stores to Countdown, and they have a Warehouse. But overall, it’s all moms and pops.

And they have a lot of discount stores, like it survives without the big box stores. What did happen in Auckland is they told us they had built this big mall, and the moms and pops all went out of business. So it looks like it’s something that may be coming. I don’t know. And then we got on a plane and we flew to—I can’t remember the capitol of where we came—

HELEN: Wellington.

PEGGY:   Who?

HELEN: Wellington.

PEGGY:   Wellington. Okay.

HELEN: Yeah, Wellington’s the capital.

PEGGY:   We flew to Wellington and changed planes, and then flew to Nelson. And having never been there before, I didn’t know, but if I were to do that again, I would fly to Wellington, and then I would take the ferry across. It’s a couple of hours to go across, but I can’t imagine it’s anything but beautiful. Because looking down, I’m like “Oh, why aren’t we on the ferry?”

HELEN: [Laughter]

PEGGY:   So anyway—

HELEN: Once you get on the Marlborough Sounds on the ferry, it is just so peaceful and calm, and they have a speed limit so that the wash from any boats going into there don’t destroy the islands and the land that’s in the Marlborough Sounds. It is absolutely, stunningly beautiful and so peaceful in there. And the water is very, very calm.

PEGGY:   And I would like to do that. So I’ll be going back to do that, plus I haven’t been to the capitol. I’d like to see that. Anyway, so we flew to Nelson, which is a lovely small town. A gentleman picked us up. It was his own limo service. He had his own motel. He was just so super helpful. He gave us a tour of the town, which he didn’t have to do. He could have taken us straight to the hotel, but he didn’t. He drove us all around and showed us the town, and told us the history. And we were really happy about that.

And then we got into—it was really funny, because my friend said—it’s an old town, right? So it’s all one or two-story buildings, and here’s this really tall, tall building, which was maybe 12-15 stories tall. And she said “Oh, that building doesn’t even fit in. It’s so tall. It doesn’t look right.” And we pull up to it. That’s our hotel.

HELEN: [Laughter]

PEGGY:   And it’s called the Rutherford. And I would say, of all the places we stayed, that was number one. That was the nicest place we were of hotels, of rooms and all of the beauty of—it had a gorgeous bathroom. It was a big room. It was light and bright. We overlooked the cathedral next door. It was lovely. So Nelson was a very quiet town, and we went out looking for some food because we wanted to just bring stuff back to the room so we could eat when we felt like it.

And we couldn’t find a grocery store. We’re walking, wandering around, and we asked this young man “Could you tell us where the grocery store is?” He goes “Oh, I’ll take you there. Here, get in my car.” So he drove us, it was like four blocks. It wasn’t far. But it was four blocks and he says “Here’s the grocery store” and dropped us off. And we went in and we picked up what we were going to pick—oh, because we were going to go hiking the next day.

So we’re picking up the food for the trip. And then we’re checking out, and we said to the lady “How do we get back to the hotel?” And she says “Oh here, come with me.” And she takes us out into the parking lot. This is the lady who checks people out, right? She left her station. She goes out into the parking lot and she says “Oh here. Go over this way. Go left. Now go right, and you’ll run right into it. It’s only like two or three blocks.”

And we’re like “Oh, thank you very much.” There was a hillside, so we couldn’t see the hotel. Like great, she left her station, showed us where to go and then went back to work. Nobody’s yelling at her. I’m like “Oh my God. These people are incredible.” So just a great little town. I love Nelson. Oh my God. They make the best ice cream at a place called Penguins. I had mango and, are you ready? Curry chocolate ice cream.

HELEN: Mango and curry chocolate as one flavor?

PEGGY:   No, no. I did a double dip.

HELEN: [Laughter]

PEGGY:   I told you, I love ice cream.

HELEN: So mango was one scoop and the other one was curry chocolate?

PEGGY:   Yes.

HELEN: Interesting combination.

PEGGY:   Well, chocolate goes with everything though.

HELEN: I know chocolate goes with everything. I’m a chocoholic.

PEGGY:   [Laughter] So that was great. They had bookstores there. I went into the bookstores, and they had a wine shop, and they had a wine tasting set up for certain times of the week. Just a really nice, nice town. Then we went out to—my computer went off with my notes—

HELEN: Kaiteriteri?

PEGGY:   Kaiteriteri, which is about an hour and a half, two-hour bus ride out to the bay. And we took a boat down. Rose-Cherie wanted to hike, and I didn’t really want to hike. I don’t like hiking, so I just stayed on the boat and went to the end where the boat goes, and then it turns around. But there’s about 10 bays, and they pull into each bay, and if you want an hour walk, you go into this bay, and if you want an hour and a half walk, you go into another bay.

If you want to do a three, or four, or five, or six-hour walk, there’s all those. There’s so many choices. So you can actually go to the top and walk all the way down, and that’s like an eight-mile hike. And then they had B&Bs there. Really very interesting. And the only way you could get there is by boat. So there were people that had their backpacks on, and then there were people with suitcases, because they didn’t actually realize what they were actually getting into.

And the way the boat pulls in, because there’s no pier or anything, they have this long jetty that swings out and then people have to figure out how to walk down without falling off. There are some handles, but with all their stuff. And then they also deliver supplies that way, too. So they were delivering supplies. So that was really nice. And then I just caught the bus back to town and got back to my place and took a nap. Because three days of time zones.

HELEN: Yeah.

PEGGY:   So the next day, we were on a plane again and flew to Christchurch, which was a 50-minute flight.

HELEN: Awesome.

PEGGY:   And Peter picked us up at the airport, and he told us the history of the earthquake and how devastating the earthquake was. I’ve been through a lot of earthquakes in my life. We pulled into town and there wasn’t one. It just really blew my mind that there’s no town. It’s gone. And there’s cranes, cranes, thousands of cranes. I mean thousands of cranes.

The whole town’s gone. Maybe there’s one or two blocks, half blocks, with a few buildings left. So they passed ordinances now that say you can’t build higher than five stories. The government of New Zealand went to both Japan and San Francisco and brought in experts to tell them what they needed to do and how they needed to do it.

And the people that came into work are the Chinese, the Irish and the Japanese. And they don’t have enough workers. They said it will be 10 more years before that town is up and running. And thousands of people moved out. So anyway, we still had a good time. We went to what they call a startup?

HELEN: Re-Start.

PEGGY:   Re-Start. And it’s containers. They took these containers, ship containers, and they cut holes in them and put in the big—they do like two. So they’d weld them together. Then they cut a big hole in it and put in the big glass so that when you’re walking through, just like any mall, you’re looking in the front windows to see all the displays.

And then they built two stories for restaurants, and they’re all colorful. They’re like red, black, green, blue, orange, purple. And it’s like a little mall. It’s really great. And interesting products they have there too. So that was kind of fun. And then we walked across the street to the botanical gardens. Oh my God. The botanical gardens.

HELEN: One of my favorite places to cycle to in Christchurch.

PEGGY:   Hmm, cycling. Yeah, they have a little canal that runs by it, and there were some fellows dressed like Italians. And you get in the boat—

HELEN: They’re called punters.

PEGGY:   They’re punters, and they would not row you. What is it, with the stick that they use? Up and down the canal.

HELEN: They just sail you up and down the—it’s Avon River, and the boats that they have are called punts. They’re kind of similar to the gondolas that you get in Venice, but they’re slightly smaller, and they’re a little squarer in shape, not the big ones like you get in Venice. And they just use the poles to float you down the river. Some of them will actually sing, and they’ve got the big—I’m trying to think of the name of the hats.

But it’s all very British type of done, because Christchurch is a very British-themed city. It’s very much a British influence in that city. So they have the punters that take you on the punts down the Avon River. And if you get a chance to do that, it’s just an amazing ride to do and a different way to see the city.

PEGGY:   Yes. But this was just by the botanical garden. And it was like a little canal. It wasn’t like a big river.

HELEN: Yeah.

PEGGY:   What I was really blown away by, because I love botanical gardens. I’ve never seen such large trees in my life. I mean they were enormous, just enormous. There’s so much rain there, they all grow really well. I was like—

HELEN: It’s also because the volcanic soil. New Zealand is mainly volcanic soil. We’ve got the fault lines, and we’ve got the volcanoes and stuff. So a lot of areas, the agriculture grows extremely well because of the richness of the volcanic soil and the oils that are in there. So yeah, things grow very, very well there.

PEGGY:   And they have nice little places where you could lay out on the grass, and they have statues throughout there, and the birds always come in. And they had benches to sit on, and lots of places to contemplate. It was really, really lovely. I really enjoyed that. And so—there wasn’t really a lot to do, because there’s no town.

HELEN: Yeah.

PEGGY:   One church that they all love was pretty rocky, and one of the sides is gone on it.

HELEN: Yes, the Christchurch Cathedral. They used to have this really cool tower that you could climb up to the top of, and you had this phenomenal 360-degree view around Christchurch. And to see that gone, it was heart wrenching. Because Christchurch is one of my favorite cities, and I lived there for two years. And every weekend, I was on my bicycle cycling around the city.

It’s a cycler’s paradise. It’s flat. You can go for miles. If you go up into the hills, you can do the hills if you wanted to. But I never did. I just enjoyed cycling around the city to different neighborhoods, through the gardens, through Hagley Park, which is where the botanical gardens are. But one of my favorite things to do was to climb the tower and go up and just look out at the view around the city and stuff. So to see that cathedral as rubble, on the news, was just heartbreaking. Because that’s such a beautiful central area of Christchurch.

PEGGY:   They have an argument. They don’t want that taken down. They say it’s historical and it should remain, and they’d be happy to raise the money for it. So that’s going on back and forth. Oh, and they have trolleys there too. They have trolleys. I didn’t ever get a chance to take a trolley.

HELEN: [Laughter]

PEGGY:   We were there two days. So the next day we went down to Akaroa.

HELEN: Yep.

PEGGY:   Which is a little French town. I just loved the story. So you’re on a two-hour bus ride, so you get to get all the history. And they said “So, the French (whoever he was) came into Long Bay.” It’s a very long bay.

HELEN: It is.

PEGGY:   And said “I like this. This is a lovely place. It’s well-protected.” They talked to the Maoris. They said they were interested in buying some land there, and the Maoris said “Okay, you can buy land.” And they sold it to the French. They said “Okay, we’re going to go back and get some people. We’ll be back.” So they went and got some people, and on their way back the English came in and said “We’re taking this over and put their flag up.”

And when the French came in through the long bay, they said “Well, we don’t want to fight. We don’t want a war. But we do want to live here.” So they said “Fine. You can buy the land.” I don’t know how they got that all settled, but they said it took those people about 10 years ‘till they got on their feet, where they were actually able to make a living and eat, and all of that.

And it’s just a great little town. I mean oh my God. It’s got a great French restaurant. I had a wonderful meal there. A lighthouse. Plenty of places to walk and hike. There’s like I think they said 600-700 people live there year-round. And in the summertime, 7,000 people come in. There’s all kinds of houses out there that people don’t live in during the year. But in the summertime they come out and occupy them.

HELEN: You also get the ships going in there for access to Christchurch as well. So the ships will come in and tender in the bay area, and Akaroa is their drop-off point. And from there they do the bus rides into Christchurch to do their shore excursions and stuff.

PEGGY:   We were lucky enough to be there on the ship day.

HELEN: [Laughter] So there was probably a little crowded there on ship day.

PEGGY:   It was a little crowded. As you know, the streets are quite narrow there.

HELEN: Mm-hmm.

PEGGY:   But what’s really nice about it is it’s a small town. It’s so easy to walk. I went to the wine tasting place, and the people grow their own vines. They make their own wine. They serve their own wine. They sit down and talk to you while you drink your wine. They tell you the history, about their kids, about their family. It was just so great.

Not once was I ever treated like I was a stranger. I was always treated like I was a friend. And that just really blew me away, because I’ve done a lot of traveling, and there’s always nice people wherever you travel, but what these people do for other people. People are like really important to them. They care.

HELEN: Absolutely. They care.

PEGGY:   So that was basically our New Zealand trip. We took the bus back. The next morning, we had a 5:00 AM pickup to fly over to Brisbane to change planes to go up to the Great Barrier Reef.

HELEN: Awesome. And we’re going to hear about that adventure on another show. [Laughter] We’ve got to have you back for that one.

PEGGY:   Well, we did four, or five or six stops in Australia. So yeah. So thank you very much. This was just spectacular to be able to actually share my trip. No one has ever asked really about the trip other than they want to hear your five-minute story about the trip. So we just had—

HELEN: Oh no, I’m all for hearing about the details. Because a lot of things, even as a travel professional, when you’ve got clients that go to a country like back home into New Zealand, you get the latest information. The tourism board does a great job of keeping us updated, but when you’ve got people who are there actually experiencing it, it makes a big difference to come back and hear their stories.

And so for you to be able to come on the show today, I truly, truly appreciate the time that you took, Peggy. And it was amazing to hear your stories and to hear what an American thought of New Zealand, with the Kiwi hospitality. That just warms my heart because growing up in New Zealand, that to me was just the norm.

But to hear other people turn around and say how friendly the people are in New Zealand, how welcoming they are, they just make you feel like you’re part of the family, and that they care about you. I mean the story of the woman leaving her register in Nelson to take you outside to show you where to go, that is not uncommon.

PEGGY:   No.

HELEN: You see somebody looking at a map—you’re walking down the street and see somebody looking at a map, people will stop and say “Excuse me. Would you like some help to find where you’re going?” That is not an uncommon thing to happen. I mean I can’t tell the number of times I have done that. I do that here in the States and people look at me like I’m strange.

I see somebody looking “Excuse me. Do you need some help to find where you’re going?” They’ll look at me like “Ah, who are you and what do you want?” Whereas in New Zealand, it’s a friendly thing. It’s something that we do, and people are like “Oh, yes. Please.”

You see people taking selfies of each other, or taking a picture. There’s a couple and they’re taking pictures of each other and not together, so we go up and ask them to take pictures of them together. They’re like “Oh, okay.” So yeah. So to hear that from somebody who experienced it first-hand, it warms my heart. It really does.

PEGGY:   Well, thank you. And I really want to acknowledge you, because I’ve never been to the country before. I didn’t know where to go. I didn’t know what the highlights were, or the spots. And I know there were some other things we wanted to do, but we were on a time crunch and we knocked some things off of our trip because of that. But I never would have put a trip together like you put a trip together for me, and I never would not have gotten to have that experience.

Because I wouldn’t know where I really wanted to be or what hotels, or what services were available. So I have to tell you, this is one of the best trips I’ve ever had. What was really thrilling was we gave you a budget. You stayed within the budget. We told you the things we wanted to do, and then we had you redo things because we were like “Okay, we need a little down-time. Maybe it shouldn’t be all about wine tasting. Maybe there should be some other things involved.”

And I can’t tell you how appreciative I am that you took the time to work with us and rework with us. And never having been to a country, there’s always a lot of other questions. It just turned out to be absolutely the most spectacular trip of my life.

HELEN: Well, thank you, I appreciate that.

PEGGY:   And next time I get ready to go, I will be calling you and have you put that together for me.

HELEN: Well, thank you for that. I truly enjoyed working with you gals. And that’s one of the things I love to do. I like to make sure that you get to see and do the things that you want to see and do in the time that you have allocated. And that’s something that is a passion of mine, and especially when it comes to New Zealand and showing off my homeland to people.

I want to make sure that you get the true feeling of what it’s like to be in New Zealand and get that Kiwi experience. Because you can look at all the pictures that you want of New Zealand, and say what a beautiful country it is. But until you get to New Zealand and actually experience it for yourself, you really don’t appreciate just how beautiful that country is.

And I think that’s an experience that a lot of people miss out on, because they can see all the pictures they want. But you have to experience to appreciate it. And that’s what I love to help people do is experience it. So thank you for allowing me to do that. I appreciate the trust that you gals put in with me.

And I would like to thank you too, Peggy, for taking time out of your day to come on our show and share your story of New Zealand with us about your trip, and I can’t wait to have you back so we can do the next portion, which is your Australia. Because I can’t wait to let everybody in on that one and hear all the wonderful things you got to do with that.

PEGGY:   And that was a blast too, really. You know I love your line about taking things off your bucket list, and the things that I did in Australia were high on my bucket list. And guess what? I’m going back to there anyway again.

HELEN: Yay!

PEGGY:   Yeah. So yeah, the Great Barrier Reef. I know we’re supposed to be done with New Zealand, but I have to tell you, when I was diving at the Great Barrier Reef, I felt like I was in a Monet painting.

HELEN: Mm-hmm.

PEGGY:   It was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my life, truly.

HELEN: Oh, I can’t wait to hear about that experience. I’ll have to have you back real soon for that one.

PEGGY:   Okay. So there you go. Thank you, Helen.

HELEN:  My pleasure, Peggy. And thank you for being on the show. I truly appreciate it. And if anybody wants to know more about New Zealand and the adventures that you can have there, if you go to Have2GoNewZealand.com, you can set up your free, one-hour appointment with us to talk about your adventures to New Zealand and what you want to see and do. And as a planning session, we do record the calls so that we don’t get distracted by taking notes. And then you get our full attention during that call. Then we go back over the recording later on just to get the notes out of it. So we want to make the most of that hour. Again, Peggy, thank you so much for being on the show. Until next time, hei konei ra.

About Helen Brahms

World globetrotter, Helen Brahms, is your Luxury Travel Concierge. She specializes in creating unique once-in-a-lifetime travel memories and charity fundraising trips. Whether your travel dreams include exotic locations or time with your family, you can have it all. Helen loves to help people cross destinations off their travel bucket list before they take a dirt nap! Helen is the host of the Have2Travel Radio Show (www.Have2TravelRadio.com) and is the author of the book "Congratulations, You're Going On a Cruise! Now What?" and the co-author of the book "Passionistas Talk!: The Best of the Passion Point Interviews (Vol. 1)"
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