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The New Zealand Experience: Comparing Capitals

Log #2 – The New Zealand Exchange 

Going to school in the capital of Canada has always been an interesting experience for me. From morning runs along the canal to icy midnight walks up to parliament hill, there’s always something to do. I’ve been quite happy with living in Ottawa and have kept myself busy not only with school, but also with embracing what the city life has to offer.  

Having gotten to know Canada’s capital quite well, I was excited to travel to New Zealand’s capital, Wellington. During the mid-semester break, my friend and I hopped on a bus and 9 and a half hours later emerged in the heart of Wellington. Despite having gotten no sleep on the overnight trip, we couldn’t help but be immediately swept up by the city’s energy. Even early on a Saturday (it was only about 8am), we could tell that Wellington was full of life with plenty of adventures waiting for us.

The week following, we explored like our lives depended on it. From shopping at local outdoor markets to exploring the beach (even though it was winter), each day was different and exciting. I couldn’t help but compare Ottawa and Wellington, though. There were some key differences that I noticed right away: the main one being that Wellington is right beside the ocean. 

Another notable difference is the obvious shape of the parliament buildings. While Ottawa has historic, green-roofed buildings set up on the hill, Wellington has paired the old with the new. The most popular and famous parliament building is called the beehive because… well… you could probably guess why.

Despite all the differences, though, I did notice similarities between the two capitals. Notably, the food scene in both cities is quite similar (leave it to me to notice the food). Whether it’s in the middle of Byward Market in Ottawa or on the vibrant Cuba Street in Wellington, there is no shortage of cute cafés or quaint restaurants to wander into. Pop your head into a local pub and you might feel like you’re back in Canada – or at least that’s how it felt at this place!  

All in all, both cities have fully captivated me with their streets full of energy. The cities are different enough to be unique, yet I feel at home in both. It’s an amazing feeling to be in a different country on the other side of the world and yet be able to feel so at home. This, I think, is one of the beautiful things about travelling. You get to experience eye opening, jaw dropping adventures, all the while making connections with a place that some day you might come back to and, if you’re lucky, it’ll feel just like coming home. 


Sources: Photos provided by the author. 


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