Having a local tour guide show you around is one thing.
But if your tour guide is a former All Black and Manu Samoa rugby player, well that can only really enhance your holiday experience like it did for one New Zealand couple.
Aaron and Jo Fergusson from Hamilton not only scored a trip to Samoa from Kiwibank by taking out a home loan with them, they also managed to persuade well known former international rugby player, Va’aiga Tuigamala, to be their tour guide.
“Purely by chance we met Inga Tuigamala, we saw him at Taumeasina and being a sporting fan, I had to go up to him and say hello and shake his hand,” said Aaron.
“I play for Marist Rugby Club in Hamilton. From there we got chatting, Inga is a great bloke and he had time to show us around and we are here at the markets with him.”
The couple was rewarded with a five nights stay at the Taumeasina Island Resort by New Zealand-owned bank Kiwibank.
“We are here on a bank sponsored holiday actually,” said Aaron.
“We took a loan out with Kiwibank and they have sent us to Samoa to see the sights. It’s a fantastic promotion and it’s an opportunity to have some ‘u’ time that we wouldn’t normally take.”
“We are staying at the Taumeasina, it’s a lovely place to base ourselves and from there we have gone out into the islands and explored.”
The couple wanted to cover Samoa at their own pace and really wanted to get as close to experiencing real Samoa by mingling with the locals.
“We went at our own speed, which gave us the opportunity to go at our own pace and get a good sense of the island,” said Aaron. “If you stop and ask the locals in terms of directions and local knowledge, it just adds to getting to know Samoa.”
“Just experiencing the local culture and seeing what life is like here. There’s the tourist side which is the resorts and the attractions and things like that, but that’s not the heart of Samoa. These stuff (looking around Fugalei Market).”
One of the highlights was visiting the magical To Sua trench.
“I had seen a picture of To Sua before online in a promotional video of the island so we made sure that we visited there and also the Piula Cave Pools and that was great,” said Aaron. “Lalomanu was a beautiful beach to go snorkeling from, it’s been fantastic.”
“We’ve hired a car and we went around and that was really nice,” Added Jo. “The To Sua Trench has been a favourite for me on this trip; it’s very beautiful and a magical place.”
Jo and Aaron are leaving tonight to return to New Zealand, but the couple was adamant that they were going to return to Samoa for another holiday because they realised that five days just wasn’t enough.
“Definitely, absolutely, we will be back.”