Hōpara: Tranzit travel tales – from Wairarapa to Peru to Paris

Jenna Snelgrove recounts her best travel memories to Elisabeth Easther

Tranzit Coachlines, celebrating its centenary in 2024, offers everything from tours and transport to rentals. Jenna Snelgrove is the fourth generation to work in her family’s Wairarapa-based transport and tourism company.

The most amazing job in the world

I was immersed in the family business as far back as I can remember. Dinner table conversations were about buses and I grew up spending weekends at the terminus with Dad, helping drivers unload luggage. I drove buses from the age of 15, sometimes reversing three kilometres down country roads.

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I’m still the last call when we’re short on drivers, sometimes I’ll do the school run. I love getting behind the wheel, it’s exhilarating. My kids think I have the most amazing job in the world. When we travel around the country the kids tell people, “Our mum drives buses”.

Latin lessons

My partner is Peruvian. His family emigrated to Sydney when he was 8 years old and when his parents returned to Peru for a spell, we visited. The people were warm and welcoming, it was a lot cleaner and safer than I’d envisaged. Peru is so diverse with beaches, mountains and big city life.

I was a vegetarian when we visited, which was a struggle when most local dishes consisted of meat and six carbs. To eat authentically, I ventured out from my vegetarianism when we were walking Machu Picchu and ate some llama stew. Unfortunately it didn’t sit right with me, but there wasn’t much we could do so I just trekked on.

The Inca Trail is a four-day trek, although because guides carry your pack, you do feel like a bit of a fraud. We took minimal gear. At the supermarket prior, my partner was about to get three packets of hand wipes and I said, “don’t be ridiculous one is plenty”. That was my biggest regret, considering the llama stew.

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