Experiencing life in middle earth
PHOTO: Bobbi leans in to kiss Gollum at Weta Cave. Photo by Richard John Hackey
by Erin Boyle
Bobbi-Lee Hitchon has found a lot of love on her travels over the past two and a half years.
From meeting an English boy in Australia, to falling for a little country in the South Pacific (New Zealand) and living in a city where she would be quite happy to spend the rest of her days (Wellington).
“Life is so easy here. I just feel so at home and really didn’t realise how much the country had to offer. From the amazing raw nature, to the fantastic cities, I have been more than impressed and am so glad I came to the other side of the world to discover it all.”
From a town in the North East of the US, Bobbi-Lee left home to explore the world in January 2010, starting with a working holiday Visa in Australia, which is where she met Ric. When that ran out, they had to decide ‘where to next’ and because they couldn’t go back to each other’s countries, made the jump across ‘the ditch’.
After arriving in the South Island in the middle of winter, they set up a semi-permanent home in Wellington, a city that Bobbi-Lee can’t say enough good things about.
“It is hard to describe, but I guess it is culture. The music scene is great, there are tons of museums and cafes with really great coffee.
“It is just such a happening place with lots of people around and heaps of creativity; there always seems to be people building and making things or just events going on that you can be a part of.”
Despite being a self confessed planner who likes to organise everything as much as possible, Bobbi-Lee went wherever the wind took her and Ric. From travel in the South Island, to working at a kiwifruit orchard in the Bay of Plenty to continue funding their adventures.
“Finding work along the way has been very easy, but you just have to take what comes. Hospitality has been the most fun and there are plenty of jobs in the high season.
“There is definitely a trail here, so many backpackers seem to congregate in New Zealand and because tourism is so big here, locals just love welcoming everyone, it is just all very natural.”
In between ‘normal working life’, Bobbi-Lee has managed to see a lot of the country and she can say without a doubt that her number one nature attraction was the Tongariro crossing, in the North Island.
“It’s weird because I didn’t hear much about it at all before I came, it didn’t get much recognition at all. But once I arrived here, more and more people were talking about it, so I decided to make sure it was something I did. It was absolutely amazing. The sights are extraordinary, the walk is great, you feel so good and it really is like no place I have ever been. I definitely recommend it.”
Bobbi-Lee and Ric have now headed off for an American Thanksgiving and an English Christmas to collect new visas, and will be back in New Zealand in February to continue their travels up North.