NEW YORK, USA

The epic Discovery Intern adventure is officially up and running, kicking off with a visit to the Big Apple itself, New York City. And nothing says NYC quite like the iconic Empire State Building!

Accidentally stumbled upon this beast of a building while chasing after a feisty squirrel that refused to cooperate with our cameras. It really seems like New York has a surprise waiting for me around every corner.

My efforts to enjoy a sunrise from Brooklyn Bridge were short lived as some moody clouds passed through, defeating any colours that showed on the horizon. I was still determined to make the most of the situation and get a cool shot to walk away with. You can thank my coffee for the creativity! 😂

Getting the timing right for this shot required a ridiculous amount of patience, and me squatting on the sidewalk with one knee awkwardly stabilising the lens to allow a slow shutter speed. After around 30 attempts, I think this one paid off!

This giant bronze dude looked like he was having way too much fun, so I decided to climb up above the crowds with him to get the best view of the Cathedral. His name is Atlas btw.

Saw this flag line up perfectly with the warped buildings behind it, and couldn't resist capturing the moment!

Literally 5 minutes into exploring Central Park, and the most gorgeous rays of golden light started streaming through the trees.

The tourists around us were laughing about how close I was to this muddy puddle, but they couldn't see the skyline like I could 😉🏙️

Nearing the middle of Central Park is a pretty famous fountain. So many people pass these stairs as they head in that direction, but only a people actually walk down them. If only they knew what they were missing out on - the painted walls and tiled ceilings down here were beautiful!

You may wonder how it was possible for me to be standing all by myself in an area known for being completely crowded 99% of the time. This is the result of me standing absolutely dead still for exactly 325 consecutive seconds as the whole world walked past. Thankfully nobody had a go at the wallet I was using to prop the camera up (tripods require a permit there) but I'm still kinda disappointed nobody tipped me for my efforts. Maybe if I painted myself gold?

After a few people recommended DUMBO to me, I figured this low-key location definitely needed to be checked out. We followed an antique old street leading down to the water with a perfect view of the Empire State Building framed by Manhattan Bridge in the background.

On my last evening in the Big Apple, I realised I still hadn't seen the Statue of Liberty. There were around 20 minutes of daylight left, so I hastily booked an Uber to Battery Park and got to see her light up from the waterfront.

BERLIN, GERMANY

In nearly every little German town lies some sort of old church or important building, and they all look amazing in their own way, but the Berlin Cathedral is on another level!

We didn't even need a map to get to it, because it stands out so well.

Got up for sunrise this morning, and stepped straight out of the hotel to this view. How good is that glow reflecting off all the old bricks?

"Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe."
I had passed by this memorial a few times while exploring Berlin. This time I stopped, and looked further at the expanse of the area dedicated to such a poignant event. This small text box doesn't allow me enough room to express my feelings on the experience at this haunting Holocaust Memorial, but you can continue reading about it here.

Today I spent some time around where the Berlin Wall once stood and found this sole standing slab. Many German people lost loved ones who tried to cross the border to be reunited with family, or to avoid the communist government on the Eastern side. The symbols on this remaining section convey that defiance and struggle for a better life and reunification in the years before the wall fell.

As we cycled past the Holocaust Memorial to this Berlin icon, Mother Nature decided to rain down a few buckets worth of water directly on top of us. Completely unexpected considering we were exploring under blue skies only moments earlier. Unfortunately most of the Brandenburg Gate was undergoing restoration, but we could still see this part of it towering above the scaffolds.

Just spent the day travelling around Berlin learning about graffiti, street art, and all of the history, differences, styles, influences, and artist hierarchies between the two. I had no idea it was so complex!

I have been given a new understanding of why a lot of graffiti groups around Berlin and the rest of the world do what they do. And at the base of it all? Fueling their need for adrenaline.

I even got to practice some of the techniques I learned to make my own little bit of street art (on canvas!) which was super cool! Check out my blog post and see more photos from the day here!

FROM MUNICH, GERMANY, TO EHRWALD, AUSTRIA (AND BACK AGAIN)

Sometimes capturing that perfect photo means looking past the light that is there, and into the shadows it creates. The absence of light can tell a story just as powerfully, because it forces the viewer to think beyond a single glance. I’ll leave this one open to interpretation, but I was waiting for my baggage at the time. 😂

Oktoberfest is a crazy beer celebratory festival that has been running for over 200 years. From carnival rides and traditional dress up, to pitchers of beer and dancing on tables, this festival has everything it takes for an epic party. Had a chat with this couple about their awesome traditional dress, and they even gave me a shaka for the photo. Such a fun time! 🍻

The sun sets on my last day in Munich. It’s been quite a new experience living in European cities for the last week, but by this time tomorrow, I’ll be heading back into nature, exploring some of the lakes and forests further South. Pretty exciting!

Seeing this castle so close for sunrise was 100% worth the early hike up.

Exploring the area was like walking into a fairytale!

The concrete jungles of New York, Berlin, and Munich have been simply incredible, and so full of character. At the end of the day, though, adventures to places like this are where my heart really thrives. It’s just such a refreshing contrast to be out enjoying nature once again.

Early mornings mean getting to the best photo spots before the hordes of tourists arrive. It was pretty surreal to have this lake to ourselves for a few hours, even though the mountains were cloaked in a dense fog.

My travels through Germany have led me to set foot in some of the most beautiful wooded areas I have seen. We also learned the hard way that not all plants are as harmless to set one's foot on as what I'm used to in New Zealand, no matter how soft they appear. 🍃

A passing glance, a dodgy U-turn, and some off-road navigation got us to this awesome pathway somewhere in the woods of Germany. The sun was getting ready to set, sending golden rays from above, so we just had to get the drone out! Definitely proves that some of the best moments in life can result from a split-second decision. 🚗

Was totally expecting to find a castle after the local description of Linderhof Palace, but I guess the King's house is still pretty flippen cool! After wandering through one of the biggest statue gardens I've ever seen, we ascended a hillside balcony that looked out across the valley toward some epic haze.

The race against time to reach Seebensee for sunset proved quite the challenge! It also included a five-hour hike back to the carpark in the dark, getting stared down by a pair of gleaming eyes (turned out to be a goat), and a topographic miscalculation that sent us halfway down a mountainside abseiling course without rope. ⛰️

After hiking up to Seebensee for sunset, the sky seemed to be staying clear, so of course the reasonable thing to do was wait in the freezing mountain temperatures for the stars to come out.

I'm telling you, it was worth it.

I thought the turquoise lakes we have here in New Zealand were vibrant, and then Plansee took that to a whole new level. It was such a nice morning, I couldn't resist stopping the car and dipping my feet under the water for a few minutes.

Germany did a pretty good job of proving to me that moody mornings at Lake Eibsee are just as pretty without the backdrop of mountains. How cool would it be to live in that little red house?

If you've ever driven around Europe, you'll know that these neat little churches are pretty iconic to the German/Austrian countryside. Nestled amongst some foothills, on the outskirts of a small town or event centred in a lone field. Each one has so much character!

DUBRONIVK, CROATIA, AND BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA

Chilling at Kravice waterfall, contemplating whether or not to jump in after seeing a snake swim across the river towards me. Bosnia is beautiful, but the local plants and wildlife seem 100% out to get you!!

Escape the tourist trail and swing out to the lesser travelled places. (just check for crocodiles first!)

Surrounded by an antique town and towering cliffs that are home to the only eagles in Bosnia, this beautiful clear spring is one of the largest in Europe. We got a small boat to take us inside this cave to see the source. The water was so stunningly blue, and it tasted pretty good too!

This hillside fortification used to encircle one of the larger medieval trading hubs in present-day Bosnia & Herzegovina. Over 600 years later, people are still living in the stone houses and selling their goods from within the village walls. Walking unhindered up spiral tower stairs, and on courtyard pavers polished smooth by centuries of heavy use was the most surreal feeling. The fact that everything is still standing strong is a testament to the builders of that day.

One of my favourite ways of appreciating a place is to find somewhere high to sit, and let the view sink in. Today it was so hot, that all I could think about was the beautiful Adriatic Sea, and how I'd be jumping in the next 5 minutes.

While everyone else seemed to be hiking along the city walls, I decided to check out an old coastal fortress complete with cannons, slit windows, and a dungeon. Talk about stepping back in history!

Early bird gets the best light! Finally beat the crowds to the top of the wall to get some quality footage. Can't wait to show you all the video!

Sunset Beach in Croatia is named so for a reason! Saw the most epic set of colours in the sky as we arrived, and couldn't resist diving in for an evening swim. 🌅

Waiting after dusk for all the city lights to turn on - I think I've found my favourite spot in this country so far! 👌🏻

Made a last-second decision to head up this hill for sunset. Turns out most of these roads were designed wide enough for one vehicle only, so you can imagine the chaos when 3-4 vehicles head-on in the middle. Got to the top just in time!!

Took the scenic route around the outside of Dubrovnik's Old Town, and found this sweet little spot on the rocks overlooking the ocean.

This trip is teaching me more and more how language doesn't have to be barrier between people. Meet Tom. Tom's owner is a kind elderly lady, who looks after numerous stray cats in her small home in an alleyway of the Old Town. She never spoke a word of English to me, but with simple actions and a warm smile, she described how she cares for these cats.

Tom has been blinded, and walks on a diagonal, but because of the love she gives these animals, Tom still remains one of the friendliest street cats I have encountered here.

If you know me, swimming in deeper waters is definitely not within my comfort zone. Being an intern for Discovery Australia & NZ has encouraged me to face my fears and take the plunge.

Just got to work on the smile, and rouse a bit more courage before Shark Week 😝

A storm is brewing! But that didn't stop us exploring the last few fortifications in Dubrovnik before flying out.

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA

First day in Cape Town, and I'm already making friends with the locals! To be honest, this little guy seemed more interested in the camera being pointed toward him than talking to me.

Meanwhile, his buddy got stuck outside the protective enclosure and seemed to be in a foul temper. Excited to see more penguins near the beach in a few days!

Hiked partway up Table Mountain for sunrise this morning, to an epic little ridge called Kloof Corner.

City on one side, rugged coastlines on the other, and Lion's Head towering just over the valley. Not to mention the golden light was unreal!

While traversing a rocky outcrop, we ended up in a standoff with this goat. I have a new respect for these animals, seeing them jump from bone-shattering heights and run across extremely narrow ridges with absolute sure-footedness.

Getting to this rock was no easy feat, involving crevasses, crazy exposure, and coming face-to-face with a mountain goat.

After being surrounded in thick clouds for the later part of the afternoon, they eventually parted, giving way to the most stunning views!

Nothing beats the feeling of both awe and adrenaline that viewpoints like this can provide. Definitely not for the faint of heart, but I can guarantee you will never feel more alive than in those moments.

Nestled on the edge of Cape Town are the most stunning dunes of pure white sand. We had such a good time exploring the vast landscape that we almost lost track of time, and had to race back to the entrance before the gates shut for the evening.

Atlantis Dunes were so beautiful, I felt bad seeing them carved up with huge tyre-marks. This is my attempt at making our tracks as picturesque as possible.

We spent the next two days at Aquila Safari, where we went on both an evening and a morning game drive. It was a life changing experience.

He lay there so majestically, as light from the morning sun highlighted the edges of his mane dancing in the wind. This was a King among beasts, and we were passing through his kingdom.

This baby rhinoceros was the cutest thing! It kept running around kicking up dust and playing with other rhinos as the sun went down.

It makes me so sad that these animals are endangered, being poached just for their horns.

I think somebody missed breakfast this morning, and seeing me sitting on a truck less than 2m away probably wasn't helping the situation.

This is one of two African elephants I saw on safari. It blows my mind seeing an animal so big walking around like it belongs in some prehistoric age.

So glad they are still around, and let's work on keeping it that way!

Cape Point is the one place I have explored here that challenges Table Mountain for a show of epic scale. I was super lucky to get this shot as the rising sun lit up the spray-filled air with a warm haze.

It was a tight squeeze at times, but we eventually found our way across the cliff face to reach the lighthouse at the end of the point. 100% worth the thrill, but definitely wouldn't recommend that route!

Like all mountainous regions, the weather around Cape Town can change dramatically at any moment. Nothing lets you know you're alive like sitting on a ridge line getting battered by 40 knot winds!

As dawn approached Boulders Beach, 4 penguins darted through the shallows toward me. Up popped one head, then another, and another.

Soon they were waddling up the beach toward me with their heads twisting from side to side at every click of my camera shutter.

They stayed there like a small gang, staring into the lens for a few moments before running away to get on with their day. Inquisitive little creatures.

TOKYO AND KYOTO, JAPAN

On my way back from breakfast this morning, a large stone archway caught my eye. Exploring it, I found it led to a place called the Hie Shrine through this beautiful stairway of Torii gates.

Managed to get my head around the massive railway systems that surround Tokyo. Japan might just be the only place you'll find stairs to a subway light up in rainbows as you walk on them!

Tonight I explored the infamous "Piss Alley" to find some interesting food to try. As tempted as I was to order a seemingly less tasteful option, I settled for a bowl of soba with tempura vegetables.

Shibuya Crossing or "The Scramble" is regarded as the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world, and yes I walked across it - during rush hour. It literally felt like being in a stampede.

The last few days in Tokyo have been insane. I've only explored a small amount of this city, but can tell it's a place to come back to. From street food & peaceful gardens, to bright lights & blaring sirens.

In the heart of Tokyo, there’s a street that's almost entirely dedicated to the quirky 'Robot Restaurant.' I couldn’t stay for a show, but from what I saw, it's a lot of neon lights, fighting robots, & crazy dancing.

The Tokyo train system is really something. I caught various trains today, and not a single one ran late. It’s staff like this Gentleman that ensure all stations run smoothly and to schedule.

Spent some time exploring the pathways winding around the Fuji area. At one stage I passed a sign warning about a bear in the area, which was pretty surreal for someone coming from New Zealand!

400 steps up a rugged hill got us to this iconic pagoda overlooking Kawaguchiko, with breathtaking views of Mt Fuji - or at least that was the intention. The weather decided otherwise…

After taking a Shinkansen ‘bullet train’ from Tokyo to Kyoto, I explored the World Heritage complex of Daigo-ji.

The whole area looked stunning in the late afternoon, and the bright red shrine on the lake had a ton of character!

As I set up this shot, my camera lens-cap flicked up in the air, landed a few metres away, then rolled ‘plop’ in the lake. Out of nowhere this giant carp fish started powering its way toward it. The race was on! Thankfully I won without suffering a single nibble!

Built over 1000 years ago, this temple is the oldest building that remains in Kyoto. As I encounter more ancient structures on this trip, it really hits home how young New Zealand and Australia are in comparison.

Discovering parts of a city that don’t make it to Instagram is one of my favourite things to do. Sitting on this rusty bridge for a few short moments while the water ran underneath was a welcome break from the usual hustle of navigating here and there.

Thousands of gates at varying heights stacked tightly in two rows trail off into the distance. The Torii gates at Fushimi-inarii Taisha really do have to be seen to be believed. Got here as early as possible to walk through without anyone else around.

Visiting Arashiyama Monkey Park, I found the cheekiest little monkey doing all sorts of tricks to get my attention. Straight after photo, he was off again, leaping to a nearby rope barrier and vanishing into the trees with the rest of his family.

There are some truly beautiful short walks to be found around Kyoto, and Arashiyama Bamboo Grove did not disappoint!

Up before sunrise, catching the wrong bus, navigating my way through a Japanese forest, and back before check out! Had to get one last adventure in before leaving this amazing country 🇯🇵