Nestled amongst the foothills of Mount Wellington, Hobart combines heritage charm with a modern lifestyle in a setting of exceptional beauty. Although protected as a reserve, rather than a National Park, Wellington Park contains a wealth of wilderness right on Hobart's doorstep. Kunyani/Mount Wellington (incorporating its Palawa kani name) majestically towers 1,271 metres above the city.
A few years ago some photographers exploring sections of Mount Wellington found a waterfall, unnamed and unrecorded. It became known as ‘Secret Falls’. Just three years on, it’s now Hobart’s worst kept secret.
The name Secret Falls has proved alluring. A mission and conquest for photographers, images of the location now flood Instagram. Unfortunately, its sudden popularity led to the site being degraded. There are now very worn, clearly marked paths to and from the falls. Dramatic changes can be seen in the landscape and topography of this beautiful, no longer hidden spot.
The question becomes: how can we curb the flow and prevent other locations dying a similar death?
A brief snapshot of the problem currently facing Secret Falls.
THE REAL IMPACT
Over the last three years, the landscape at Secret Falls has degraded dramatically. Foot traffic has created two well-worn paths to the waterfall, where none existed before the social media explosion.
Click images for captions and larger images (Lightbox).
Before & After
As seen above, the banks of the cavern have slipped, resulting in a change of topography at Secret Falls. The cavern floor has risen by approximately 30cm, redirecting the natural water flow. Some of the elevated platforms facing the waterfall — previously covered by beautiful, vibrant moss — are now totally bare.
“Unfortunately, what we’ve done by sharing that location on social media, it will never recover. The location is now geotagged and marked on Google Maps. As a result the entire area has become degraded”