Imagine all of best travel destinations in the world. Got them?……All of them? Now, compress them to create one magical island full of awe-inspiring beauty. This small country has everything you could ever want. It is a mosaic of all the best parts of the entire world. It has the rolling green hills of Scotland, the volcanic mystery of Hawaii, snow capped mountains of the Swiss alps, palm treed beaches of the tropics, the majestic lakes of Minnesota, the ethereal quiet of the Pacific Northwest, Alaska’s sparkling glaciers, the rain forests of south America, New England’s harbors and Midwestern hospitality.
Can this place be real? Every corner I turn and with every bend in the road I find myself in another world completely unlike but as equally stunning as the previous destination. It feels as if this much beauty should not be allowed to exist in one place. I have fallen in love with New Zealand’s beauty, I’ve been seduced by its variety and enchanted by its hospitality.
Like most Americans, I knew very little about New Zealand pre- Lord of the Rings. I had a vague idea of it being a small country similar to Australia, but not one I had a burning desire to visit. However, from my first glimpse of the quaint green Shire in the movie the Fellowship of the Ring I became captivated by New Zealand’s beauty and innocence. As the film series progressed I became mesmerized by its variety and splendor to an almost obsessive state. I knew that I had to visit this land that could be both Shire and Mordor, Rohan and Gondor, mountains and beach, winter and summer. J. R. R. Tolkien never visited New Zealand, but I am certain that New Zealand was/ is Middle Earth.