After 30 years in the fashion industry, Rachel Hunter had a burning question on her mind.

"How do you feel when someone tells you you're beautiful? How do you react?" The quest for knowledge on the subject led to her TV series Tour of Beauty, now in print as an accompanying book.

"Our Rach", one of New Zealand's most successful exports, talks to the Herald Travel podcast Trip Notes in an episode available to download on Tuesday. In the episode, recorded while Hunter was in the country promoting her Tour of Beauty book, she talks about her early travel experiences and the impact they had on her life.

Growing up in Glenfield, Auckland, Hunter says her family was not particularly well off - "Icecream was a treat for us," says the former Tip Top model - but her dad's job with Air New Zealand meant they often got to travel the world.

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"He was a great traveller. Any time we got money, Dad would say, 'We're going to go to Paris.' I had an aunty who lived in Paris at the time, so we'd go visit her.

"So travel weirdly was in our life. We couldn't afford it but because Dad worked in the airlines we were able to travel. So that was a really amazing connection."

New Zealand supermodel Rachel Hunter, centre, with Trip Notes hosts Tim Roxborogh and Stephanie Holmes. Photo / Supplied
New Zealand supermodel Rachel Hunter, centre, with Trip Notes hosts Tim Roxborogh and Stephanie Holmes. Photo / Supplied

She says it was those early travel experiences that meant she took in her stride leaving New Zealand as a teenager and setting up in New York, and working in Paris and Milan.
"All these places weren't like 'Oh my god where are we?' she says. "It was just 'Oh, this is where I'm meant to be.'"

"You're just putting one foot in front of the other and it's just the process. Life isn't going to give you anything, as they say — all these ancient sayings that are so correct — unless you can handle it."

Hunter thinks this attitude permeates all Kiwi travellers.

"When I look back on it, I never felt like a bewildered New Zealander looking around," she says. "New Zealanders are never bewildered. I don't know where it comes from but we're like 'this is cool, got it'. Our sense of direction is pretty good. Who knows, maybe it's generations before us travelling all the way here on the ships, but we have this intrepid part to us."

You can hear more from Rachel Hunter in the new episode of Trip Notes, available to download on Tuesday from iHeartRadio or wherever you usually get your podcasts.

You can also go to nzherald.co.nz/tripnotes to watch video from the podcast, and catch up on any episodes you might have missed.

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Trip Notes is available on iHeartRadio or wherever you get your podcasts. Photo / Supplied
Trip Notes is available on iHeartRadio or wherever you get your podcasts. Photo / Supplied

For more travel inspiration, go to houseoftravel.co.nz