The South island of New Zealand is so incredibly serine. The landscapes are stunning, of course. Everything seems to remind you of Lord of the Rings, because of course it was filmed here. The clouds often form these soft marshmallow shapes I’ve never seen before, something called “lenticular” clouds. The Milky Way is more bright and stunning than I’ve ever seen before, as if you’ve transported back in time before light bulbs smothered the stars in a sea of yellow light pollution. Even the animals are gentle. A short flight away, Australia has some of the world’s most deadly snakes, spiders, and other critters. But in New Zealand, the most menacing animals you’ll run into are tiny flies and a cheeky bird that likes to eat the rubber seals around the edges of your car windows.