Te Anau, N.Z. — The natural beauty of this country defies description.
In the past 36 hours, we’ve visited Big Sur, Calif., with its windswept beaches, rocks jutting from the sea and waves that crash into shoreline cliffs, shooting their spray skyward. We’ve visited Wyoming’s Grand Tetons, their jagged, soaring, show-covered spires outlined in the pink sunset behind Jenny Lake. We’ve cross the rolling Irish countryside, watching sheep graze in fields of emerald green. We’ve walked in a rain forest with ferns that grow atop trees and waterfalls that cascade in layers to a pool below. None of this, we’re told, compares to the fiord we’ll visit by boat in Milford Sound tomorrow.
And that’s just part of it. New Zeland is as grand in scale as it is varied in its landscapes and microclimates. Trees spread broad roots and sweeping caopies. Sand dunes rise hundreds of feet above mostly deserted beaches. Roads plunge, rise and bank on the contours of hills and valleys that stretch green as far as the eye can see. Birds don’t just chirp; they sing sycopated symphonies.
The native Maori call this the “land of the long white cloud.” And it is true that even the clouds here seem bigger, more majestic, more elastic.
Perhaps we aren’t in New Zealand, after all, but have walked through the wardrobe into Narnia. As long as the lion is friendly, we’ll cherish each hour we can stay.