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On Walkabout At: Mt. Buffalo National Park, Australia

Basic Information

  • Name: Mt. Buffalo
  • Where: Victoria, Australia
  • Elevation: 5,652 ft (1,723 meters)
  • More Information: Parks Victoria

Narrative

Victoria has a wealth of great mountains that compose the Victorian Alps that are well worth checking out. My favorite mountain in Victoria is Mt. Feathertop but If there was one mountain I would recommend tourists to Victoria to visit, it would be Mt. Buffalo:

Mt. Buffalo is in the northeast of Victoria and received its name from the explorers Hume and Hovell who thought the mountain looked like a buffalo from a distance. The mountain is bordered by both the Buckland and Ovens Valleys that are lush with farms and wineries due to the ample amounts of water these stunning mountains provide:

Mt. Buffalo was first accessed by European settlers who used the top of the mountain as grazing land for their cattle. However, before European settlers arrived the mountain top was actually long used by the local Aboriginal tribes who made summer ascents of the mountain to feast on large bogong moths which annually flock to the Victorian high country every summer. The Aborigines enjoyed eating these moths because they were very rich in protein. The Aborigines no longer remain but the scenic wonders of the mountain does. To protect this scenic attraction, the Australian government designated Mt. Buffalo as Mt. Buffalo National Park in 1898.


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I say that Mt. Buffalo is the best mountain for tourists to the state to visit simply because its many spectacular scenic attractions are easily accessible due to a well paved road that travels to the top of the mountain:

When I was driving up this road I constantly found myself wanting to stop and take in the spectacular scenery around every turn on the road. The rock formations that compose Mt. Buffalo are really quite stunning.  At times if you look closely at the massive rock formations you can even see waterfalls falling off the sides of the mountain:

Here is a closer look at the above waterfall:

However, not all of the mountain is scenic because large swathes of the forest that covers Mt. Buffalo has been burned down in recent years due to the periodic bush fires especially the massive 2006 fires that scorched large portions of the mountain. However, even the areas that are scorched are interesting to see because of how quickly the forest is regenerating from the bush fires:

For whatever reason though the scorched areas on the mountain are not recovering as fast as the scorched forests around Mt. Buller are. This could be because the fires burned more severely on the mountain compared to Mt. Buller as well as wetter climatic conditions on the mountain.

As the road begins to get above the tree line the massive rocky sides of the mountain become accessible for me to do some rock scrambling on:

From here I was also rewarded with a beautiful view looking back towards the Ovens Valley:

The snow capped peaks of the Victorian Alps was also easily visible from the rocks:

After finishing doing some walking on the rocks I then got back into my Jeep and continued driving to the top of the mountain. The top of Mt. Buffalo is actually a relatively flat plateau with various massive rock outcroppings:

Most of these rock outcroppings have trails accessible from the main road for visitors to take a short walk up to get some spectacular views of the areas such as from The Monolith pictured below:

Here is a closer look at The Monolith:

A complete listing of the trails on Mt. Buffalo are available on the Mt. Buffalo National Park brochure that lists 23 different walks on the mountain.  However most visitors including myself, the first place they go is over to the Mt. Buffalo Chalet:

The Chalet was first opened in 1910 and has to have one of the best views of any hotel in all of Australia from its perch of 1,337 meters overlooking what is known as The Gorge:

From The Gorge Lookout there a beautiful view of the snow capped Victorian Alps:

From the Chalet Victoria’s highest peak Mt. Bogong at 1,986 meters is easily visible to the northeast of Mt. Buffalo:

You can read about my hike to the summit of Victoria’s highest mountain at the below link:

The steep rocky cliffs of The Gorge are quite popular in Australia with both rock climbers and hang gliders which after having seen this rocky gorge myself, I can understand why. However, you do not have to be an active person to enjoy this area. The view itself makes visiting The Gorge and the Chalet well worth it.

After checking out The Gorge and the Chalet I then proceeded to head over to the beautiful Lake Catani:

There is no fishing at Lake Catani but it does serve as the main camping area for visitors to the park. Just up the road from Lake Catani is the hulking rock giant called the Cathedral:

Like most of the rock outcroppings on the mountain The Cathedral has a trail that allows visitors to access its summit. Further down the road was the Mt. Buffalo ski area:

The ski area is very simple with a single lift and not a whole lot of snow when I visited. This area is popular with beginning skiers but I saw a few people there sledding and even snowboarding on the limited snow. From the ski area the summit of Mt. Buffalo, the 1,723 The Horn was easily visible:

Some dark clouds were brewing over the mountain so I wanted to hurry up and get to the top of it before some bad weather moved in.  So from the ski area I walked across the high alpine plain to the trail head leading to the summit of the Horn:

There is actually a road that goes to the start of the trail but due to the snow it was closed thus leaving me to walk a little bit farther then anticipated which wasn’t a problem:

The footing was a bit slippery trying to go up the mountain but I reached the official start of the trail to the summit with few issues. The view just from the start of the trail was quite scenic so I could only imagine how spectacular the view from the top must be.

Next Posting: The Horn Trail to the Summit of Mt. Buffalo

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