Secret location: Gerrigong Falls

Secret or Share? A Contentious Topic

I wanted to talk about a topic that’s rather contentious among ‘adventurers’. It’s something that I have continuously battled with myself, questioning my beliefs and actions for quite some time now. And that is: do we try to keep a place a secret, or do we share it with others?

Secret location: Gerrigong Falls
Gerrigong Falls, Budderoo National Park, NSW

It’s such a contentious issue. And I’m not going to please everyone here. In fact, I’ll probably even piss some people off. That’s just the way life goes, I suppose. But, my blog being what it is and me doing what I do, I feel that I don’t really have a choice other than to comment on the issue.  

So here goes.

Swallow Cave, Upper Sheoak Falls, Great Ocean Road, VIC

It’s no secret that I love adventuring (cough *chasing waterfalls* cough). And recently I’ve had the pleasure of being shown some phenomenal places by some fellow adventurers. However, during the journey it’s become more and more apparent that sharing the details of such locations is ‘strictly prohibited’. Sometimes to the point of beautiful, kind-hearted people getting ferociously bullied online for doing so. Which is not okay. (P.S. Read more about that and the amazing girl who deserves so much better by clicking here).

So why are people so passionate about not sharing the details of a location, to the point where they’ll attack someone else for doing it? It comes down to a number of things.

Belmore Falls, Morton National Park, NSW

First and foremost, it’s about preservation. People want to keep a place as ‘untouched’ as possible – free from litter and people who are likely to disrespect the place and the precious environment. Which I get. It’s a fair point. Ever been to a National Park and noticed a shit-ton of litter everywhere? It’s sad. And sometimes, no matter how hard you try to educate them not to, people will still do the wrong thing.

However, that’s not the only reason. Deep down, some people enjoy the fact that they’re one of the select few people to have visited a place (myself included – it can feel pretty special. Spectacular, even). But it can also feel just as special when you take a deep breath, take it all in and admire a place for what it is (no matter if someone else has been there before you or not).

Person in floatie in Rocky Pool, Gooseberry Hill
Rocky Pool, Gooseberry Hill National Park, WA

And the last reason – and this is the big one – is to prevent ‘Instagrammers’, or people only interested in promoting themselves, or gaining some kind of ‘fame’ from visiting a place, from flocking to a location and overcrowding it. Turning it into something that it isn’t – just a place to get a good photo in the interest of likes or followers. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good photo as much as the next person, but that’s not the only reason to visit a place. And we all know what happens when a place becomes “so Instagrammable.”

Injidup Natural Spa, Yallingup Beach, WA

So now you know the main reasons why there’s a tendency towards secrecy, it’s time to answer the question. Do I tell someone how to get somewhere? Or not?

You see, the whole concept of my blog is to detail EXACTLY how to get to a place. Because, on the one hand, I love to help people discover the amazing places I’ve been (and because at times I wish someone had done the same for me before I visited). But on the other, I understand wanting to keep an element of the mysterious, the secret, the special, within a place and not ruin or destroy it when tourism ultimately takes over. So where does that leave me? Right between a rock and a hard place, if I’m to use a cliché. 

Lincoln's Rock, Blue Mountains National Park, NSW

Here’s where I stand on the issue. (Forewarning, I’m going to be blunt):

If you’re just “doing it for the gram”, you’re doing it wrong.

The whole point of getting outside and visiting an awesome location isn’t about furthering your fame on social media. That’s just a bonus (for some of us).

The way I see it, if someone has been somewhere and posted a photo of it, chances are someone else is going to want to visit that place, too. Isn’t that how it works? If we didn’t explore anywhere, nowhere would be explored. Sounds ridiculous, right? That’s because it is.

Secret or Share? Kelly's Falls
Kelly's Falls, Royal National Park, NSW

When someone posts a photo of an amazing place, it’s likely people are going to try and find it, whether you help them or not. Wouldn’t it be better those people be given the right information so that they don’t hurt themselves? So that they’re educated on why they shouldn’t litter? On why they should respect it?

And, really, who am I to tell you not to go to a place? Who are you to tell me not to? Who am I to post a photo of a location I’ve had the privilege of visiting, and then deny you that same privilege?

No one ‘owns’ these places, and as nice as it is to feel like you’re visiting somewhere untouched, there’s only so long something like that can last for. Did we forget that age-old saying: ‘sharing is caring’?

We are all responsible for this Earth. We all breathe this air, consume the Earth’s resources. It’s up to all of us to look after it – without getting all gun-ho environmental on you because, yes, I use plastic way more than I should and I eat food that may not have been sourced using the most sustainable methods, and sometimes my showers are longer than three minutes. The point is, I’m no Saint. I’m a common human, just like you.

I also understand that this is my opinion and not everyone is going to agree with me. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and I respect yours if it differs from mine. I’d even love to hear yours if you’d like to shoot me an email or leave a comment below. BUT – good vibes only here please. 

Secret or Share? Figure 8 Pool
Figure 8 Pool, Royal National Park, NSW

The fact of it is, I love getting outdoors and experiencing nature, and I’m all for adventuring to a new place – whether it’s well known, forgotten, or secret.

As long as a place isn’t private property, you respect it, are properly educated before you go and are going for the right reasons, I see nothing wrong with sharing these wonderful locations Mother Nature has created for us. We all deserve a chance to experience them, and if I can help someone have even a chance at some of the amazing experiences I’ve had – well, I’m bloody well going to help them.

With love,

Annabel Claire

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  1. Hi Annabel,

    I have just stumbled onto your site and love it, I’ve subscribed and thought I should also let you know that as another ‘tragic’ waterfall and outdoors site lover I think your thoughts on the subject are bang on,

    Kevin Ryan.

  2. […] After doing my own exploring with friends, I found a quiet, peaceful rock pool tucked away in the endless mountains of rock. Now I won’t give away exactly where you need to go to find this one, because there needs to be some element of mystery, but if you (carefully) go exploring among the rock-mountains, I promise you will not be disappointed. Read more about my opinion on secret versus share phenomenon here.  […]

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