A Travellers Guide to Mount Buffalo in Victoria
Mount Buffalo is a free entry national park with sheer cliffs, imposing granite tors, tumbling waterfalls, snow gums and stunning wildflowers.
It’s also home to a range of walks and activities, including rock climbing, canoeing and camping at Lake Catani.
The park has some of the best day walks in Victoria, giving superb views across and from the plateau. In winter, snow play and cross-country skiing are popular.
Chalet & Gorge Precinct
Located within Mount Buffalo National Park, the Chalet & Gorge Precinct is home to Australia’s largest chalet and stunning views of the surrounding mountains. It’s also the perfect place to explore the park’s fascinating history.
The Chalet & Gorge Precinct offers visitors a variety of outdoor activities to suit every taste, with a range of walks and hikes, adventure caving and camping at Lake Catani. It’s also the perfect base to explore the park’s snow-capped mountains and sweeping alpine meadows in all seasons.
There are a variety of walk options to choose from, from an easy 2.5km loop to a more challenging climb to the summit of The Horn at 1,723 metres above sea level. There are also many stunning lookouts to visit along the way, including Crystal Brook Falls, Pulpit Rock and Wilkinsons Lookout.
A short 500 m (0.3 mi) climb over rocks from the carpark at The Horn Picnic Area takes you to The Horn, one of the highest peaks in Victoria, where you can take in some of the park’s most spectacular panoramic views. It’s a great spot to relax and enjoy the scenery, and it’s worth bringing your camera to capture the incredible landscape.
With views to wow you and an array of walking trails, it’s no wonder that the Mount Buffalo plateau is a popular tourist destination in all seasons. There are hikes for families and a host of outdoor activities, including abseiling, hang gliding, rock climbing and adventure caving, to name a few.
If you’re looking for a more relaxed walk, the Gorge Heritage Walk is an easy family-friendly option that explores the stunning landscape of the Mount Buffalo region. The 2.5km track winds through stands of Alpine Ash and is lined with interpretative signage, which tells you about the park’s rich culture and history.
The views are incredible, with the best ones at Crystal Brook Falls and Pulpit Rock, which plunge into the Buckland Valley below. There’s plenty to see and do here, so pack a picnic for a relaxing day out with the kids or your partner.
Mount Buffalo National Park
Amongst the Victorian Alps, a few hours’ drive from Melbourne, Mount Buffalo National Park is a popular alpine retreat. Sheer cliffs, granite tors, waterfalls and big views make the park a great place to explore.
Mount Buffalo is one of the highest national parks in Victoria, with a range of hiking trails to suit every level. There’s also snow play and cross-country skiing in winter, as well as canoeing and camping at Lake Catani.
With over 90km of walking tracks, there’s something for everyone – from short strolls to challenging day walks. The majority of these tracks are well signposted and traverse pristine sub-alpine plant communities and unique landscapes.
There are also plenty of rocky cliffs and boulder fields to abseil on, as well as stunning waterfalls. A short walk to Ladies Bath Falls is a lovely way to start the weekend, while Rollasons Falls is another lesser-known gem that is just perfect for a quick dip.
The mountain is also home to a number of Australian wildlife, including kangaroos and wombats. In the sky, crimson rosellas and currawongs can often be seen, and Australian Kestrels dive on Bogong Moths at sunset.
During the summer months, the weather can be pretty hot so it’s best to visit during Autumn or Spring when the temperatures are milder. If you’re visiting in the summer, be sure to bring along plenty of water, hats, and sunscreen.
It’s a good idea to download the Vic Emergency app for more information on bushfire warnings and conditions. This can help you plan your itinerary and stay safe during your trip to Mt Buffalo.
You should also consider booking your campsite ahead of time to avoid disappointment. There are only a limited number of campsites, and most require payment before arrival.
For those who are a little more adventurous, there is a small underground river that you can explore in the park. However, this should only be attempted with a guide as there is some serious danger.
Those who are looking for an adventure can also try their hand at spelunking, where they dive into the caves to look for fossils and other secrets beneath the ground. This is best done with a guide and all safety equipment.
Taungurung Traditional Owners
The traditional owners of the mountainous region of central Victoria are the Taungurung (Daung wurrung). These are the people who have lived on this Country for thousands of years. They are a very unique group of Aboriginal people sharing a language and deep spiritual connection with Country. They also share common dreamtime ancestors, creation stories and cultural beliefs.
When Europeans first came to the region in the early 1800s, their arrival greatly disrupted life for the Taungurung. They suffered from a wide range of impacts, including loss of their traditional ways of life and the introduction of diseases. They also faced increased pressure on resources such as water, food and medicine.
These impacts prompted the Taungurung to negotiate and gain recognition as the rightful owners of their Country. They were able to do so by negotiating a settlement under the Victorian legislation established in 2010.
The Taungurung have now settled this claim and have gained full native title rights over the land and waters under the new regime. They have also secured access to crown land and are now able to manage nine parks and reserves on their Country as Aboriginal title holders.
This will benefit them and the wider community by recognising Taungurung culture and knowledge, providing quality visitor and tourism experiences, improving public education and conserving, protecting and enhancing natural and cultural values. This will allow them to continue delivering their important cultural activities and ceremonies in this unique part of the country.
As well as managing their own Country, the Taungurung are assisting Parks Victoria to manage the Mount Buffalo National Park and other parks in the area. They are working with the Parks Victoria management team to implement an environmental program that is designed to conserve and enhance the natural environment.
They are ensuring the resurgence of their culture and have worked to make sure they continue to have cultural practice in their daily lives. These activities include a range of activities including storytelling, music and dance workshops.
In 2021, the Taungurung will celebrate the resurgence of their identity and pride with the launch of a sovereign flag at Strathbogie Shire Council. The flag was crafted by Taungurung Elder Loraine Padgham and is intended to symbolise their return to Country.
The Mount Buffalo plateau has a unique and beautiful alpine environment that is home to some of Australia’s most amazing plants, animals and scenery. The plateau is dominated by granite boulders that are slowly eroded, creating a landscape that’s reminiscent of the alpine regions of Germany and Switzerland.
The plateau also has a rich biodiversity, with over 550 plant species found nowhere else in the world. These include the unique Buffalo Sallee and Fern-leaf Baeckea, which are found only on the mountain.
Mount Buffalo National Park is a spectacular place to visit, with plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventure activities, picnics and camping at Lake Catani. There are many walking tracks to choose from, and it’s a popular destination for snow sports in the winter.
Hiking is a great way to explore this unique national park and see the beautiful alpine landscape up close. With 90 kilometres of walking trails, stunning waterfalls, cliff faces and snow gums, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
If you’re looking for a challenging hike, try The Big Walk, an 11.3 km return trail that climbs 1000 metres in nine kilometres. This trail is a must-do for anyone who wants to experience the dramatic Mount Buffalo plateau.
For those that prefer a shorter walk, the Gorge Heritage Walk is a good option for exploring the area. This 2.5km track is flanked by alpine ash trees and snow gums, as well as offering spectacular views of Crystal Brook Falls. The walk also has several picnic areas so you can refuel and relax mid-way through the trek.
It’s easy to lose track of time while exploring this stunning national park, so don’t be afraid to stop and rest along the way. You’ll be rewarded with incredible panoramic views of the Australian Alps, which is the perfect backdrop to soak up the scenery.
There’s also plenty to see in the gorge, including the chalet and a variety of viewpoints for stunning Alpine panoramas. The gorge also has toilets and picnic areas so you can make the most of your stay here.