Buried deep in the Wombat State Forest, you may just find Trentham Falls, Victoria’s highest single drop waterfall. Get soaked by the spray, this moss-covered wonderland is especially magical in winter when every sleek rock and fern frond drips with water.

The short walk down to the board walk to the viewing platforms you spot a glimpse of the natural beauty, and deafening sound of water cascading over the basalt columns hitting the quartz gravel some 32 meters below.

Until 2016, the waterfall was more well known to locals with only the smallest of trickles, although flowing most of the year, year after year. Locals had no idea what was about to hit the small idyllic town in the form of a selfie invasion. Although boardwalks line the top of the falls, the desire to walk to the bottom is far too tempting for visitors who have forged their own path to the base ignoring signage warning of unstable cliffs. “Posting of the ultimate selfie at the base of the falls on the giant moss covered rock or the long view along the Colliban River resulted in thousands of tourists wanting to replicate the same shot” Thomas Robinson (local resident).

The sharing of stunning photos on social media became a destructive force as thousands of Instagram trophy hunters beat paths to the natural gem. The once dense fern lined river is now trampled underfoot and the selfie rock bears no remanence of the once thriving moss covering.



A brief snapshot of the problem currently facing Trentham.

Click image to enlarge.

In 2016 I shared this image, It was re-shared more than 20 times to Tourism and Hub Accounts. The spot I took this image from now has paths to and from it and it is now completely cleared
— Danielle Watson

The Online Presence

With a search of #trentham and #trenthamfalls thousands of images are presented with selfies off the board walks, visitors making there way down to the now standing on the infamous ‘selfie rock’ looking for that perfect composition at all times of the year. On weekends visitors on day trips flood to the falls.


The Analytics

Utilising an Instagram social media analytics firm, the data presents interesting trends that traffic to Trentham and Trentham Falls is increasing. Each year the number of posts to social media is increasing substantially and geo tagging the location in also increasing. As a result Instagram likes increase and the destination becomes increasingly popular.

Posts To Instagram

Instagram posts is the process of adding a photo or video that an Instagram user will share on the platform.

Geotagged Location Data

GeoTagging is the process of adding geographical identification metadata to social media posts which allows the public to identify locations.

Instagram Likes

Instagram likes is when a user sees a post on the platform and likes the image by either double tapping the image or hitting the red heart under the post.


Aerial Image of Trentham Falls.
An aerial image of Trentham Falls shows the true impact of what the social media phenomenon is causing. The markers indicate popular photo/selfie locations as tracked on social media platforms, the lines indicate cleared paths and sections leading to these locations. These markers are located outside the designated boardwalk and viewing platform.


“With an increase in Visitors chasing selfies and trophy images, what will be the long term impact?”


The Real Impact

The trail of destruction. A closer look into showing how this destination is being impacted.

Click images for captions and larger images (Lightbox)

I know I am a part of the problem, and I honestly don’t know how I feel about that”
— Danielle Watson


“The most devastation can be seen on the paths to and from the ‘selfie rock’ at the base of the falls. The grey stains on the rocks are remnants of the once thriving moss”

Graham Miles