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The Base of Belmore

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The rugged charm of the base of Belmore Falls in the Southern Highlands.

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Some years ago there was a proper track to the base of Belmore Falls in the Southern Highlands but for reasons of safety it was closed. The path remained of course, they just put a fence across the entrance at the top and hoped that people would forget about it and, up until a few years ago, they did forget about it. Fast forward to the era of Instagram and influencers and micro-adventures and YouTube and travel videos and suddenly the track to the base of Belmore was back on the map. It was still officially closed and you had to hop over the fence, but as soon as the first photographs and wild-swimming videos appeared, everyone suddenly wanted to know where it was and how to get there. Before long its old location was well and truly back out in the open and everyone from Instagrammers to international tourists were making the walk down the side of the canyon to the base of Belmore. Some of them got into trouble on the way down and had to be rescued by the SES and some of them broke limbs and had to be helicoptered out, but when the location is this special everyone’s happy to make the trek.

I first headed down that track to the base of Belmore in 2014, when it was quite overgrown and I had to spend a fair bit of backtracking before I found the correct start to the path and the route down. Nowadays it sees sufficient foot-traffic year round to keep the main path completely clear of vegetation. It has become a bit like the path up to Drawing Room Rocks – a victim of its own success. I don’t blame anyone for wanting to walk to the base of the falls any more than I do for wanting to climb up to Drawing Room Rocks, but it does somewhat rule out any chance of solitude in these lovely locations. I took this particular photograph in the winter of 2017 when the path was quite slick from rain. It’s a single long exposure shot taken from just in front of the first drop-off to the lower falls.

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