Star Date:  January 2005
North & South Island : New Zealand


Kia Ora!!   Hello Dear Family & Friends!


" There are people who 'shoulda', 'coulda', 'woulda'....................

And there are people who are glad they did !"




Happy 2005 Everyone!  Are we all ready for a great New Year?  Planning to leave last year's excuses behind?   Now IS the Time!!

New Zealand and nature are synonymous.  And after spending the last 14 months living in a van, in the outdoors, we feel a close connection.  We need to live with Mother Earth, not conquer her.  An amazing thing happened on a North Island beach last week.  Two young girls were out practicing their ocean lifesaving techniques.  While swimming back to shore they noticed 6 or 7 dolphins surrounding them.  When they reached shore a very frightened instructor exploded that their dolphin escorts had shielded them from a great white shark lurking behind!  It's nice to have friends in the right places!

This past month we explored the lower half of the North Island. We spent the afternoon with a group of gypsies or people living in "house trucks".  They were on their way to a "Gypsy Fair" where 37 unique homes on wheels, and even more unique occupants, would gather to sell their handicrafts and food.   We luckily had a sunny day exploring the snow covered volcanoes of Whakapapa, south of Lake Taupo, on the way to Mt Teriyaki (by New Plymouth).

This is where a new serendipity adventure began.  Actually it all began in Malaysia.  We met and traveled with a unique young couple from New Zealand.  We were to rendezvous later and the only thing we knew, besides their email address, was that they lived in New Zealand.  The only problem was that they had their email box shut down.  We then decided to take a very rural dirt road from Taurmarunui to Stratford called the "Forgotten World Highway".  If you have a chance take it.  It meanders along the Tangarakau Gorge, between herds of sheep, and even right through a mountain via Hobbit's Hole Tunnel".  There we met Reese and Sharon who lived in a small town south of Wanganui.  At the next village they were waiting for us with a warm offer to come stay with them.  "The key is under the mat".  New Zealanders are great!  Two nights later we were sitting around the dinner table with their family and the name Russell came up.  I said, "That's not Russell and Carolyn, is
it?"  They smiled, walked to the phone and called our long lost friend, Russell who lived in the next little town.  Even though it was 9P.M. they told Russell they had a surprise waiting.  And was he surprised!  Joseph pulled up pictures of us together in Sumatra and we laughed at the odds of meeting up!  Just the Universe in action again.  We also spent an evening with Carolyn in Wellington and Russell took a day off work and drove down to ride the cable car with us, eat Indian food and the world's biggest kebabs, and take in the Te Papa National Museum.  There are no coincidences!

We took the 3 hour ferry over to the South Island.  The north part of the island is beautiful and Nelson has some of the best weather in New Zealand. We decided to spend time up north since it was snowing 800 meters above Christchurch.  We made an appointment with Earl Conroy, a Naturopath of 40 years, and an expert on natural thyroid regeneration, replacing chemical hormones with an herbal (vegan) tincture.  I discovered him while doing a Google search last July in the middle of the Outback of Australia!  He and his wife live back in an scenic, obscure valley 1 hour from Nelson and it was there that we parked the van for several days.  We talked, discussed, laughed, watched movies and ate popcorn!  We shared information, programs and stories and Joseph helped set up Earl's computer.  He has a heart of gold and is a wealth of knowledge.  Eighty percent of all women have thyroid issues and doctors just write out a prescription.  Just email for information ( if you are ready to make some lifestyle changes).  He has satisfied clients all over the world:          (email:

From Matueka we explored Takaka, the Grove, Waikoropupu Springs and the magnificent Golden Bay area.  At Cape Farewell we hiked down onto a secluded low tide beach where we saw penguins and over a dozen enormous seals lazing around, completely oblivious to the rare two legged creatures walking amongst them.

We headed down the west coast hiking through Paparoa Gorge and Pancake Rocks.  In Hokitika we met Bevan and Adrienne, Maori jade carvers and jewelry makers.  We spent the night with them and enjoyed learning about paunamu  or greenstone jade, while feasting our eyes on their artistic, award winning carvings. Further down we saw the misty veil lift and reveal the breathtaking Southern Alps. We hiked miles and miles around the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers and you were right Sharon, don't miss Minnehaha  rain forest trail, just outside of Fox.  Once on the coast again we ended up at one of our usual places - the end of the road - at Jackson Head fishing village, south of Haast.  We left the wet, windy weather of the west coast behind and drove over the Alps to find bright sun and a "don't miss" camp spot along Lake Wanaka (north of Boundary Creek campsite).

After a couple weeks out in the "bush" we spent a few days around the bustling hub of Queenstown. It was snowing when we arrived! If this is summer I would hate to see winter!!!  Actually the sun came out one day and we spent the whole time out hiking along the lake enjoying the gardens and mountains. If you are out for a walk at the harbor at sunset, you can enjoy the flute melodies of Max Lyons as they drift across the water.

One good thing about the cold weather has been that we looked up several Servas hosts.  After weeks of outdoor living we were warmly welcomed into homes in Invercargill (Ann & Adrian),  Dunedin (Beryl, Geoff & Nicolas) and further south (Bill & Rolly). New Zealanders are a genuinely friendly, fun lot and we have had an enjoyable time experiencing the varied lifestyles of Kiwis.  We felt part of the greater Lee family over Christmas amid all the excellent food, decorations, family and festivities.  After years of opening our home to international travelers it was nice to be on the other side of the door.  Learning about new ideas, customs and accepting differences.......that's what it's all about.  Great people, great times!  Phone calls and emails to family far away made the holidays complete.  We are an international family in NZ, Wisconsin, Colorado, England, Florida.  Last year we were in Tasmania with Mariah and Shane. Next year who knows?  In fact, ask yourself now, "Where in the world will I be next year, and what will I be
doing?"  Plan ahead but enjoy the moment!

And so it goes on the road ............................................  Take care of yourselves and be glad with what you've done !!  No room for  'shoulda', 'coulda' 'woulda', in 2005!.  Hope you had a Happy Holiday Season!  Thanks for keeping in touch.


Have a Happy, Healthy New Year and Enjoy this Unique, Beautiful, Peaceful Planet of ours!



Love, xoxoox  Nancy & Joseph




South Island:   Dec 04  - Jan 05





Our 'view with a campsite' beside Lake Wanaka.


We spent the afternoon with the gypsies and their
fascinating 'housetrucks'.


Hobbit's Hole Tunnel, along the "Forgotten World Highway"


Modern shepherds, a common sight on the back roads.  Just a
reminder to slow down and count the sheep!  ZZZZZZZ!


Fred and Barney (alias Earl) out for a spin in their Flintstone Mobile. 
Does it look like they are having a good time???


One of the large seals on the rocks, near Cape Farewell.


Fox Glacier in the Southern Alps.


A new Maori friend.  Our trip is one serious moment after another!



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