A Little Photo Essay…Beautiful Waterfalls, Lakes, and Nature, Oh My!

I see a lot of gorgeous places when I travel, heaps and heaps in fact. About three months into traveling I decided I had to slow down because I was passing everything so quickly that waterfalls, monuments, temples? They all turned to mush in my brain. I couldn’t quite place some of the photos I was taking and that perturbed me…so I slowed down, paid more attention and stopped living through the lens of my camera ever single moment of my trip.

Okay, a bit of lie, I still photographed everything but I made sure to take moments to just sit and stare and take in the natural beauty encountered along the way–take in absorb…be there in the moment enjoying. Below is a photo essay with mini anecdotes and explanations for ten of the more memorable lakes and waterfalls I’ve found in the past three years!

Waterfalls at Skradinski Buk, Krka, Croatia

Krka National Park in Croatia was spectacularly pretty; the park is well developed for tourism with numerous footpaths and wooden board walks leading visitors through the various waterfalls and Roman-era ruins situated along the Krka River. A very good friend from back home was traveling with me for this leg of the trip so we packed cheese and bread for lunch and spent the day taking in the pretty waterfalls!

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Lake McKenzie, Fraser Island, Australia

Lake McKenzie is a truly beautiful perched lake (meaning the lake waters sit atop an impermeable layer of twigs/ vegetation) on Australia’s Fraser Island (the largest sand island in the world and a UNESCO spot). I dug the nearly pure white silica sand and clear mineral waters; although I love salty ocean waves as much as the next person, there’s just something altogether more inviting about turquoise clear fresh water with no possible jelly fish!

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Wentworth Falls, Australia

Wentworth Falls is one of the larger waterfalls in Australia’s Blue Mountains, located just north of Sydney. I was terribly lost on this hike (take a good map!) because there are a lot of waterfalls in these mountains and each time we approached one I was certain it was Wentworth Falls, at least until we reached this big one! Even though our 4 hour hike turned into seven plus, I managed to relax enough to enjoy the sunshine and misting waters, briefly. :) 

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Lake Bled, Slovenia

Bled Island, though tiny, is the only natural island in Slovenia and Lake Bled’s pretty shores are a tourist magnet. This towns sits in Eastern Europe’s Julian Alps and the church steeple on the island, the medieval castle on a nearby hill…the entire setting screams picturesque. It rained throughout my visit but was pretty nonetheless! 

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Waterfalls on Uluru, Ayers Rock

Rain in Australia’s outback is quite rare, just a few days out of every year in fact, and for this reason seeing Uluru (Ayers Rock) with dozens waterfalls cascading down the red rock is supposedly lucky. At least that was the assurance from our tour guide…rain poured from the sky while I was there and though I didn’t manage any upclose time with the huge iconic rock gleaming burnt red in the sunlight, it was pretty and unique. And, I haven’t yet met another traveler who has seen the waterfalls, so maybe my tour guide was right! :-)

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Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

After winding through the dirt roads into the Guatemalan Highlands, Lake Atitlán is a superb reward, it’s perhaps the prettiest lake I’ve ever seen and from the shores three visible volcanoes help form the lake’s borders. Besides the volcanoes, sprinkle the shores of the lake with tiny Mayan villages (and a few super-touristy towns too) and you have the waters of the prettiest lake in all of the Americas (in my oh-so-humble opinion). 

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Semuc Champey waterfalls, Guatemala

Sticking to Guatemala (one of my favorite countries), Semuc Champey is a series of shallow turquoise pools of water with tiny little waterfalls between each stepped pool. The closest town, Lanquin, is still off the fast-growing tourism trail and our group had a grand time frolicking in the pools and (carefully) jumping from waterfalls.  

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Loch Ness, Scotland

From the shores of Loch Ness, Scotland I searched and searched for Nessie the Loch Ness Monster to no avail, she didn’t reveal herself to me so I instead spent quiet days reading on the pebble beaches and hiking through the densely green forests and towns surrounding the lake, taking advantage of the surprisingly sunny Scottish days!

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Connor Pass, Dingle, Ireland

Oh, how I adore Ireland. Really! I do so love it, and all of the pretty, pretty land is reason enough, but the people were super friendly and welcoming too. Dingle is a small peninsula in the south and this is Conor Pass, the highest mountain pass in all of Ireland, with views of the corrie lakes, low slung clouds and the nearby Atlantic.

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Waterfalls at Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia was one of the handful of pre-planned stops on my RTW trip; the Park’s series of cascading lakes are formed from a series of underground karst rivers, with 16 visible lakes on the surface, all connected by boardwalks and boats. It’s a UNESCO site (I collect these) and on the beauty-scale, it rates high! It takes an entire day to wander through the miles of carefully constructed paths at Plitvice Lakes, so pack lunch!  

This is just the tip of the ice berg as far as waterfalls are concerned–I have yet to see any of the major ones like Niagra, Victoria or Iguazu Falls, but each of these lakes and waterfalls were unique in some way and stand out for that very reason.

Sharesy time! Where is your favorite lake or waterfall in the world and why? :)

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16 Responses to A Little Photo Essay…Beautiful Waterfalls, Lakes, and Nature, Oh My!

  1. Rajasthan Tours October 19, 2011 at 4:16 am #

    Amazing picture so beautiful

  2. Mary Lopez October 18, 2011 at 3:04 am #

    beautiful

  3. RTW Tickets September 30, 2011 at 7:53 am #

    Oh My! what a beautiful scenery!  In my travels I always make a point to visit beautiful places like this.

  4. Rajasthan Tours Operator September 21, 2011 at 9:49 am #

    these pics are too much awsome i love them really thanx for sharing them

  5. Kyle Crum September 20, 2011 at 8:33 am #

    There’s a place in the world called Dingle?  Ha, ha!  I want to go there.

    That photo of Bled Island is pretty amazing.

    • Anonymous September 20, 2011 at 11:49 am #

      Heh heh! Yes, Dingle is beautiful too, so you can go there an giggle and enjoy the pretty scenery too! Thanks Kyle! :)

  6. GlobetrotterGirls September 19, 2011 at 4:11 am #

    Lake Atitlan is probably our favorite lake as well, it’s so beautiful. We have seen quite a few waterfalls when we traveled through Central America, but the most impressive one was Niagara Falls which we got to visit this summer. That waterfall on the first photo looks gorgeous!

    • Anonymous September 19, 2011 at 12:04 pm #

      Thanks ladies! It really sounds like I need to make a point of visiting Niagra next time I can, almost seems criminal that I haven’t seen it yet even though it’s right here in N. America! Have a wonderful week :)

  7. Thomas | Jus Getaway September 15, 2011 at 5:11 pm #

    Shannon these are some wonderful photos and I really love the Semuc Champey waterfalls.  I don’t know about jumping off of them but I love and maybe swimming would work for me.

    • Anonymous September 15, 2011 at 5:32 pm #

      Thank you Thomas! Semuc Champey was really gorgeous…and the waterfalls there were tiny because they were stepped pools of water, so they’re not as big as I probably made them sound…and the water is cool and welcoming even without the jumping :)

  8. Nomadic Samuel September 15, 2011 at 6:32 am #

    Shannon, these are gorgeous shots!  Bled Island looks really fascinating – quite a steep looking incline!

    • Anonymous September 15, 2011 at 11:43 am #

      Thanks Samuel! :) It’s a pretty little island and you can spend a hour or two walking around…lots of nature in Bled!

  9. Gray September 14, 2011 at 2:02 am #

    Awesome photos, Shannon! Wow.

  10. Erin September 13, 2011 at 12:17 am #

    We love Iguazu Falls but I think my favourite waterfalls are the less well known ones that you can swim in. We have great memories of ending hikes with a dip in Fiji, Sri Lanka and Laos. I’ve always wanted to go to those lakes in Croatia -looks stunning.

    • Anonymous September 15, 2011 at 12:22 pm #

      I have to agree about swimming — the big ones are just stunning but it’s so wonderful to find a secluded little spot and go for a dip after sweaty hikes! The Croatia ones are super gorgeous, so swimming in them, sadly, but pretty to look at :)

  11. Andi Perullo September 12, 2011 at 2:31 pm #

    I heart this post!!!  What gorgeous photos.  I love waterfalls.

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