Mt Buffalo NP

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Mt Buffalo NP

Postby Hallu » Sun 28 Apr, 2013 8:44 pm

It was long overdue that I'd go to Mt Buffalo. For some reason, the Alpine NP seemed always more attractive. But after this week end, Mt Buffalo is clearly in my top 5 destinations in Victoria. You won't see much wildlife to be honest, but the beauty of this place lies in its variety of walks. Long walks, short walks, waterfalls, granite crops, galleries, lookouts, a lake, etc... Tourism companies in Victoria sell it as a pretty touristy destination, with cafes, chalets and ski fields, but it's not. Only the Gorge Day Visitor area is, and it's the most rubbish part of the park. Luckily, it's also where everybody goes. It's got the worst views (toward farmland instead of wild mountains or rocky outcrops) and it's packed with lazy drivers in for a quick photo op.

On the first day, I woke up early from a campground at Parepunkah, and drove up to the park. The most amazing sight awaited me : from the road I couldn't see the town or farmland, instead it was a beautiful sea of fog with the most amazing light, probably one of the best photos I've ever taken. Good start. Next, since Chapman couldn't be bothered to put Mt Buffalo in his "Day Walks Victoria" book, I picked one from the "Take A Walk" series. More precisely, I did a Mt Dunn/Reservoir/Monolith/The Gorge/Underground River/Lake Catani circuit. Mt Dunn is clearly a must do. First it's fun to climb the ladders and steps to its summit, and second it's got 360 views to most of the rock formations of the plateau. It doesn't seem to get much publicity (I was alone on the track, on the Saturday morning of an ANZAC long week end...), but the views are even better than from the summit of the Hump or the Horn. The Monolith was nice too, and if you want an elevated view of lake Catani, it's quite good too, and shorter than the "Lake View" track that only offers what it's been named for. Now the lookouts near The Gorge Day Visitor area don't offer very nice views, except to The Gorge itself. The rest is hills and farmland. Going to the Underground River isn't that terrific too, and involves a tiring and steep descent/ascent. At sunset I then decided to do the Hump. Very nice light on all the rock formations, especially the Cathedral. At the top of the Hump though, you need to scramble around (off track but it's easy) to enjoy the views, a fact not mentioned anywhere.

On the second day, after a night at Lake Catani Campground (showers are nice but tent sites are pretty rubbish : no picnic table, no fireplace, no level ground), I woke up early again to get the Horn for myself. That I did, and I got some nice views and light as well, although it got very windy. Next I explored the Coral Peak/Sentinel/Mahomet Tomb area. I didn't bother scramble to the top of those rocky formations for views, as I got plenty already, but the rocks themselves were pretty nice anyway. The last walk was Rollasons Falls. Pretty standard falls really, nothing special, with a 2 km steep track, I wouldn't recommend it.

All in all I loved this area. It's easier to explore and closer to Melbourne than most of the Alpine regions (Bogong, Howitt, Feathertop etc...), it's got more rock formations and views, variety, and the roads are better. There's only one expensive car accessible campground though (which will be closed starting next week anyway), and despite walking at sunrise and sunset, a wallaby jumping around was the only marsupial I saw.
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View from Mt Dunn
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Coral Peak at sunset
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The Cathedral in the morning light
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View from The Horn
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Re: Mt Buffalo NP

Postby north-north-west » Mon 29 Apr, 2013 3:51 pm

It's small, though. You can walk almost everything that's worth walking in three days. About the only bit you didn't do that's worth the effort is Eagle & Mac's Points, Giant's Causeway, Og Gog Magog and MacLeod. Good place for the rock climbers, but.

Hallu wrote:First it's fun to climb the ladders and steps to its summit

Awww, they fixed the ladders on Dunn. It was more fun when they were so rusty you expected them to collapse under you.
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Re: Mt Buffalo NP

Postby Hallu » Mon 29 Apr, 2013 4:01 pm

Well now they actually look so nice I took this picture. I reckon they did them very recently, and all the other ones look new too, at the Horn and the Monolith. Having one at the Hump would be nice too though. And yes I agree it's quite small, it's not exactly long hike country. I don't know if many people do "The Big Walk" but from what I can gather it looks pretty boring : it's one way, it's got more than 1000 meters elevation, and basically it goes through the least interesting part of the park, which is the forested bit with small waterfalls and no rock formation.

I reckon a great multi day circuit would be starting at Lake Catani and doing The Monolith, Mt Dunn, Eagle Point, Rocky Creek (1st night, with Mt McLeod for the 1st day as an option), then South Buffalo View Point, The Horn, the Back Wall (2nd night) and then finishing with The Hump, Corral Peak etc... and back to Lake Catani. I don't know why they don't do a track between Rocky Creek and The Horn/Back Wall, and a walker campground near the Back Wall, because such a 3 day circuit would be brilliant.
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Re: Mt Buffalo NP

Postby north-north-west » Mon 29 Apr, 2013 4:21 pm

:shock:
That's not a ladder, it's a bleeding staircase! They're dumbing down everything these days or letting the old tracks go back to bush. No middle ground.
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Re: Mt Buffalo NP

Postby Hallu » Mon 29 Apr, 2013 4:29 pm

The one at the right of the photo is a staircase, but the top 3 stages are ladders (and the lower stage not shown on the photo too). I was quite surprised to see this at the top, because the track didn't look that new before this bit, it was rough and overgrown in parts. These are obviously there for safety issues, and with the wind blowing like hell at the Horn, I was glad to see some protection there too. It doesn't ruin the rocks, because they're built not to be visible from the mains tracks.
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Re: Mt Buffalo NP

Postby photonaturally » Mon 06 May, 2013 1:44 pm

Maybe one of the reason it wasnt crowded because...*** drum roll*** that weekend is not a long weekend. Only the hardcore who took friday off had a long weekend. Like you and me. There wasn't many people during my walk from Mt Loch to Feathertop. In fact I did not see a hiker for the first 2 day. Except Ken Harris who works the Red Robbin mine.

I have been doing the Alpine NP a fair bit. i think its time to try Mt Buffalo. Looks good.
Thank you for posting about it.
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