New Zealand Adventure ~ Guest Travelers, Jeff and Joy
Every year, Jeff and Joy Young organize and lead a group trip with friends and clients. Their trips are aptly called Forever Young Adventures! We wish we’d been able to join them for their New Zealand adventure. Our New Zealand trip is in planning for 2017! They wrote:
Kia Ora! (Be well!)
Our 2014 Forever Young Adventure was to beautiful New Zealand. We took a group of 20 people along and got to see a marvelous country in the southern hemisphere. Everywhere we visited, people treated us well, and were friendly and welcoming.
We arrived in Auckland early in the morning and had a day to look around the city of sails. A few members of our group enjoyed the Maritime Museum, including New Zealand skiffs that won the America’s Cup. Patty and Donna had a fun dinner overlooking Auckland at the top of the Sky Tower, the highest tower in the southern hemisphere at 328 meters high (1,076 feet). Auckland is a city that faces two seas—the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean.
Our tour included a harbor cruise on Waitemata Harbor to Rangitoto Island, to get a full view of Auckland with the lace of sailboats and yachts stitched up to her shore. Then, Rick and Carol took a ferry to Devonport, across the harbor from Auckland. On a segway ride, they climbed Mt. Victoria, overlooking the harbor. Walking past a restaurant in Devonport on the waterfront, they spotted a number of their fellow travelers and came in to enjoy dinner (delicious fish and chips) together.
Waitomo Caves / Rotorua
New Zealand is a country of great beauty and grand contrasts. We began with a trip to Waitomo Caves, where glowworms light up cave ceilings much like stars in the night sky. We quietly sailed in small boats through dark grottos to get the full effect of the glowworms in these ancient caves.
Our tour guide, Marty Paranihi (which translates into “Handsome Maori Warrior”), instructed us about everything we saw. Rotorua was all Maori. We visited the Tamaki Village with our chief, Jeff, doing the hangi (pressing noses) with a real Maori chieftain. Many of our menfolk learned the haka—Terry, Ras, David Lloyd and Rick, to name a few. Some of the women—Laura and Karen—also learned how to toss the poi balls like a Maori maiden. Then they fed us food cooked in a deep pit (hongi) that was delicious…lamb, beef, potatoes and vegetables.
Before we left Rotorua, we toured Rainbow Springs wildlife park to see Kiwi birds in a darkened habitat (they only come out at night). Then we enjoyed the Agrodome Farm show, replete with fourteen species of sheep, where Rick and Laura volunteered to milk a live cow—and Jeff said they were both “utterly” amazing.
We flew to the south island via Air New Zealand. But, we were unprepared for the devastation left behind by an earthquake that hit Christchurch back in 2011, especially since our hotel overlooked the crumbling Christchurch Cathedral. Many New Zealanders fled the city as a result, and three years later, they are still trying to rebuild. So many of their buildings bore scaffolding—boarded up and uninhabitable—that it was sobering. The beautiful Avon River runs idly through this garden city, clear and clean like all the waterways in New Zealand.
Franz Joseph Glacier
After a night in Christchurch, we took a Kiwirail train ride to Arthur’s Pass, through the gorgeous, spring green countryside of the Canterbury Plains into their mountains. We all hiked close to the bottom of the Franz Joseph Glacier that afternoon, seeing some beautiful waterfalls along the way.
Our hotel in Franz Joseph was top-notch, built in the rainforest with every room having a splendid view of it. When we arrived, our welcome reception included kiwi juice drinks and hot washcloths followed by a marvelous meal that evening. The rainforest butts up against the Southern Alps of New Zealand—the only place in the world where they exist side by side.
Early the next morning, some of our group opted for a helicopter ride to the top of the Franz Joseph Glacier. There is such a great beauty in seeing a mountain close up from the sky, itself! We were in awe as we flew very near snow and rock formations. Rick and Beth Mears waved at Norm and Ginny Close from opposite helicopter landing places on the pristine glacier—it had snowed overnight and everything looked untouched. The beauty of that moment is impossible to put into words.
Then we traveled the west coast of New Zealand, winding along the vast expanse of the Tasman Sea. It was very relaxing to watch the waves on one side of the bus and the thick rainforest on the other. Dick and Eleanor Mathews, David Lloyd, Don Moulton and a few others in our group enjoyed a ride on the Haast River jetboat down a braided river, replete with sunshine and blue skies.
We stopped in the fruit-growing region of Cromwell and tasted delicious fruit. Then we passed through Arrowtown, a quaint gold mining village, on our way to Queenstown—New Zealand’s Adventure Capitol. All along the way, Marty would point out where the restrooms were and urge us to “try for results,” when we disembarked—that always gave us a laugh.
Patty and Donna, and many others, took the opportunity to ride the gondola up to the Skyline Restaurant for dinner. To add to the fun, paragliders were taking off from the cliffs near the restaurant with their colorful gliders, dropping gracefully into town.
Queenstown is only 50 kilometers away from Milford Sound as the crow flies, but the mountains block the way, so we took a four-hour bus ride through beautiful country, up a mountain, through a descending tunnel, to come out on almost a bare cliff on the other side. Majestic and awe-inspiring feelings rushed through us as we came out of the tunnel. Eleanor Mathews exclaimed, “How could anyone believe there is no God after experiencing this?” Don Moulton agreed, saying, “Yes, it’s both glorious and beautiful!”
Milford Sound is part of the Fiordland National Park, and it is a grand, long finger of water that points east toward the mountains. We boarded a ferry for lunch at the tip of that finger and took a cruise out into the Tasman Sea and wonderfully close to one of the many waterfalls. Terry, Karen, Clay and Laura found secure places at the bow of the ship and braved the wind and spray throughout the trip.
Those who decided to fly back to Queenstown said it was the highlight of their trip because they saw so much beautiful scenery. Those staying on the bus back to Queenstown watched, “The Fastest Indian,” a movie about a New Zealander who set many motorcycle speed records.
It was fun to discover Queenstown, and here we all went in different directions. Some of us went down Skipper’s Canyon in a small four-wheel drive bus, riding on narrow, dirt, one-way roads and NO guard rails. At the bottom of the canyon, we experienced an exciting jetboat ride on the same river where a Hobbit river scene—the one where the water turns into horses—was filmed. The jetboat was a hoot, built to go really fast up narrow, rocky waterways in as little as four inches of water, without propellers underneath to impede its progress.
Colleen took the wine tasting tour while Ras, Clay, Don and Terry went golfing—leaning on Terry’s negotiating skills to get them a good deal. There were segways that Beth and Rick rode, and a cruise on Lake Wakatipu on the TSS Earnslaw that Rick and Carol enjoyed. Jeff and Joy enjoyed a Fergburger (too big of a hamburger to believe), chocolates and feeding the ducks at the wharf.
Back Again to Christchurch
All good things must come to an end, unfortunately, and we found ourselves saying goodbye to Queenstown, traveling across Landis Pass where we saw Mt. Cook in all of its splendor, mirrored in a turquoise lake.
We were treated to a delicious barbecue lunch at Morelea Farm, where we ate some of the very best food on the trip—fresh vegetables and meat grown on the farm, and delectable Pavlova (meringue and kiwi) for dessert. A sheep dog herded the farmer’s sheep for us and the farmer answered our many questions about the work of a New Zealand farmer.
Our New Zealand Adventure – Best One Yet!
That evening, we bade farewell to our tour guide at dinner in Christchurch, another excellent repast. It was especially hard to say goodbye to Marty, who by this time had almost become one of the family. He told us, “There are tall ships and small ships, but the best ships are friendships!” What a marvelous trip we had, filled with all good things and especially good friends who enjoyed the trip together. We are so glad we went. Thanks for those who came with us on this marvelous adventure—the best one yet!
Jeff and Joy live in Centennial, Colorado, and have been married over 35 years. They have five children and a growing collection of grandchildren (20, so far). The grandsons are handsome, the granddaughters are beautiful and all are highly intelligent—traits they inherited from their lovely and brilliant grandmother. Jeff loves golf, playing the drums and traveling the world. Joy loves music and has taught piano lessons for over twenty years to more than 100 students. She enjoys helping others research and discover their family history. They’re both active in a variety of church activities and service opportunities. Traveling, especially with Jeff’s clients is a passion for them. They have traveled with clients to Argentina, Portugal, Ireland, New Zealand and Canada—every year, there’s a great new adventure.
Jeff is an Investment Adviser, Partner and Estate Planning Attorney with Mathies Financial Partners. His clients come from 37 different states. Jeff has been an Investment Adviser for 12 years and an estate planning attorney since 1977. When it comes to strategies that affect your business, money, and family, Jeff offers a wealth of knowledge and experience. He loves his clients. Joy maintains the financial records for Jeffrey R. Young & Associates as Bookkeeper. She spent ten years as Public Affairs Director in the Denver area, meeting and working together with people of all religious traditions in our community. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Brigham Young University, and is a published poet and author and worked as an assistant editor for Computers in Healthcare Magazine.
Jeffrey R. Young & Associates, Inc. / Investor Coach and Estate Planning Attorney / Mathies Financial Partners
www.MyFavoriteAttorneys.com / 6041 S. Syracuse Way, Suite 250 Greenwood Village, CO 80111 / Office: 303-225-0328
P.S. Note from Tom and Sheila: Tom has known Jeff for about 10 years. He is our estate planning attorney and helped us create our family trust, living wills, powers of attorney, and other important legal documents. We highly recommend him to anyone in need of those types of services.