When I say that these are the 15 best Instagram photos of 2017, what I really mean is “here are the most liked photos, plus a few I really love”.
It’s my way of looking back at 2017 and remembering what I’ve done and where I’ve been. Or what I’ve written about, as the case may be.
1. FERGUSSON FALLS, TASMANIA
Fergusson Falls was, by a long shot, the most liked picture over on the Instagram account. It’s not difficult to see why.
You have to hike and camp for a few days through one of Tasmania’s many National Parks just to catch a glimpse of the falls.
And if you’re there in summer, you’re definitely going to be tempted to have a little dip. If you’re a hiking enthusiast and you’ve never been out to Tasmania, may I heartily recommend The Overland Track for the gorgeous vistas and wildlife.
2. PALACE OF FINE ARTS, SAN FRANCISCO
Next up is a San Francisco landmark that doesn’t get enough attention if you ask me. Built in 1915 (and then reconstructed in the ’60s), the Palace of Fine arts reminds me of the Ancient Roman version of a pergola.
You may not be so keen after my description, but it really is a must-see. In a city where there are just too many “must-see’s” to properly get to in one visit.
If you want to pick and choose your favourites, here’s a list of my favourite vantage points in San Francisco.
3. THE MUSEUM OF ICE CREAM, LOS ANGELES
Apparently, this was high on the list of best Instagram photos of 2017 – likewise anyway. Here I am at the Museum of Ice Cream in Los Angeles earlier this year.
“Lickable wallpaper for nursery walls. Lick an orange, it tastes like an orange, lick a pineapple, it tastes like a pineapple. Go ahead, try it!” – Willy Wonka & and the Chocolate Factory.⠀ ⠀ I’d probably stay away from checking if the @museumicecream has lickable wallpaper. But the swingset’s fun. See more on the blog (link in bio).
It turns out that I haven’t properly grown up yet, and that means I get to play on all of the exhibits that are most likely created for those younger than I.
If you find yourself in a city that’s hosting the Museum of Ice Cream, run, don’t walk.
4. BUDDHIST CHURCH BETSUIN, SAN JOSE
Unlike its Chinese sister, you won’t find many Japan towns scattered around the world. Actually, California has all three of the United States’ Japanese districts.
The Buddhist Church Betsuin in San Jose was built in 1937 and had to be left in the care of an attorney when Japanese Americans were sent to internment camps during World War II. ** It’s beauty and serenity are typical of many Buddhist temples and it really is a must-see. ** Find out about the church’s annual Obon Festival on the blog today (link in bio).
San Jose’s Japantown hosts some impressive examples of street art, historic shops and fosters art in many forms, including music and dance.
But the local Buddhist Church Betsuin and adjoining Japanese Garden caught my eye.
5. YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, CALIFORNIA
My dream of seeing a bear wandering through the woods came true this year.
We were packing up tents and sleeping bags after a fantastic weekend in Yosemite National Park when Yogi appeared.
Luckily, Mr M had his proper camera at the ready and snapped the little mite on the hunt for pic-a-nic baskets and the like. I assume that’s what bears eat… based on the cartoon.
Of course you don’t feed bears or leave any food or toiletries out for them to get into. It’s dangerous for them and you.
6. THE COLOR FACTORY, SAN FRANCISCO
Get ready to worship at the alter of colour, because this shot came in third in the best Instagram photos rankings.
The Color Factory opened in San Francisco in August and ran through September. It basically gave everyone a chance to embrace their inner child. Then tell it to CALM DOWN ALREADY!
To my mind, the best part was taking advantage of the “museum’s” static cameras, which could send photos straight to your email.
It’s how you capture moments like the above, before you drown in a sea of yellow.
7. MERMAID POOLS, TAHMOOR, AUSTRALIA
One of my favourite hikes in Australia is the Tahmoor Gorge trail up to Mermaid Pools.
It’s steep and confusing in places, if you go the right way you’ll pass a pretty big abandoned engine in the middle of the bush.
But the real gems are the Mermaid Pools, a sheer drop from where you’ll be standing. There’s only one way in and another way out.
A handy sign tells hikers that there is “No safe entry or exit from pool” but that doesn’t stop fearless teenagers from leaping down.
Then it’s just a matter of climbing up the rope and scrambling up the rocks again.
8. MONTEREY BAY AQUARIUM
We visited Monterey Bay for a little weekend roadtrip and I fell in love with the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
There’s something mesmerising about the fish swimming in patterns.
If you happen to be in the area, you should definitely visit.
9. SOLVANG, CALIFORNIA
You can’t pass up a Dutch town smack in the middle of California. There are too many enticing windmills, slowly drawing your car towards it!
Solvang’s on the way to LA for us, so a quick stop on our road trip was in order.
After you’ve finished admiring the traditional architecture, enjoying a pastry in one of the MANY bakeries, or downing a pint, the best way back to your car is via horse and carriage.
10. ALCATRAZ ISLAND, SAN FRANCISCO
We all know that there’s a prison on Alcatraz Island, but what about the guards who worked there and their families?
I always assumed that they caught a boat back to the mainland at the end of their shifts. Apparently not.
The burnt out shell of a building in the background shows the Officer’s Recreation hall. It’s where they’d go with their families for dances and big events.
11. BRUNY ISLAND, TASMANIA
Just kicking back on a boat off the coast of Bruny Island, having a whale of a time.
Bruny Island was hands down one of the best parts of our road trip around Tassie. *** We did a @pennicottjourneys cruise and saw fur seals, birds and this whale 🐳 put on a show for us. See more pics on my insta story today. *** Or check out the whole story on the blog (link in bio) and find out where to get THE BEST cheese.
My Tasmania road trip included a stopover on Bruny Island, where Third Brother and I took a little marine life cruise.
As if seeing the seals and sea birds weren’t enough, we were also lucky enough to catch this beautiful whale frolicking like nobody’s business.
12. ARTS DISTRICT, LOS ANGELES
While most of my favourites (and yours) were all about nature, this one bucks the trend.
The LA Arts District houses museums and art studios, and an absolute treasure trove of street art by locals.
It’s an outdoor gallery showcasing an array of styles that’s free to stroll around any time of the day or night.
13. RODEO BEACH, MARIN COUNTY
California has miles of gorgeous coastline. You can drive just about anywhere along the coast and snap fantastic shots.
But it seems Rodeo Beach was a favourite with my Instagram crowd.
Maybe it was the combination of the surfers and the fact that there are some great scenic hiking trails as well.
Or it could have been the WWII barracks, forts and battery guns. None of which were even pictured.
14. OAKDALE, CALIFORNIA
This year was all about road trips it seems. On the way home from Sonora for a wedding, we stopped for a little break.
To make it worth my while, we stopped at a cheese factory that had a few animals scattered around.
Including a Koi pond, where you can feed the fish. We had a nice conversation with an enthusiastic little boy who was making sure his marine friends would not go hungry.
15. PURISIMA CREEK TRAIL, SAN FRANCISCO
Let’s finish this off with a green part of San Francisco. Often when you think of the city, your mental picture is just that – buildings.
But there are fabulous green spaces both in the city and down the peninsula.
Today on the blog we’re talking about great San Francisco hikes 🏞️ (link in bio). This one pictured was the most difficult we’ve attempted. I give you, Purisima Creek Trail, south west of Half Moon Bay. It’s 5km straight down then 5km of hellish incline. But it’s beautiful. What’s the most difficult hike you’ve embarked on?
A break in the trees presents you with this view, and you’ll have to work to get it too. This hike isn’t for the feint-hearted by any stretch.