Mount Buffalo National Park
Mount Buffalo National Park presents a stunning alpine landscape of imposing granite tors, sheer cliff-faces, crystal-clear waterfalls and a diverse range of vegetation. In summer, wildﬂowers carpet tracts of grassland, and in winter, snow casts a mantle over the park’s gently sloping plateaus and rugged peaks.
From Melbourne via Hume Hwy then Great Alpine Rd to Porepunkah then Mt Buffalo Rd (steep and winding); tyre chains must be carried in winter (hire available in Myrtleford, Bright and Porepunkah)
Winter for snow sports; spring and summer for wildlﬂowers, bushwalking
320 km north-east of Melbourne
- PV 13 1963
- PV Porepunkah (03) 5755 1466
31 000 ha
Bright/Porepunkah (03) 5755 2275, 1800 500 117
Featured Activities in the National Park
Head to the Horn for stunning views across the King Valley
Paddle across Lake Catani in a Canadian kayak
Visit in late spring to enjoy the wildﬂowers
Ski or toboggan down snow-clad slopes in winter
- Mount Buffalo National Park, Eco-friendly activity
A look at the past
The mountain was named by the explorers Hume and Hovell for its apparent resemblance to a buffalo. Declared in 1898, this is one of the country’s oldest national parks and has seen generations of visitors exploring its rugged terrain; it is a wonderful national park for family visits. Over the years the park has slowly grown to include more of the surrounding natural beauty; it now comprises the plateau together with surrounding slopes.
The Minjambuta people knew this country well, gathering each summer to hold ceremonies and to feast on the swarms of bogong moths that hide in the rocky crevices in the warmer months.
The craggy outline of Mount Buffalo, named by Hume and Hovell in 1824, rises dramatically from the gentle landscape of the Ovens Valley, on the western edge of the Victorian Alps. The park is part of the high country, steep and rugged, with bulky granite tors, sheer cliffs and grassy subalpine plains. As the snow melts, streams ﬁll with icy water and dozens of waterfalls tumble over rocky ledges. Crystal Brook Falls is the largest, with water cascading 200 metres into the dramatic Mount Buffalo Gorge.
Eucalypt trees dominate the area, with towering candlebark, ﬂowering mountain ash, alpine ash and other species cloaking the slopes, while higher up are the twisted forms of snow gums, which take on a magical softness during the winter months. After the winter thaw, and during summer, the heathlands and meadows are studded with colour as native plants such as yellow billy buttons, silver snow daisies and royal bluebells ﬂower.
Wallabies and kangaroos live around the foothills, wombats can be found in most areas of the park, while smaller species such as native rats and mice inhabit the higher ground, but are shy and difﬁcult to spot. The heavily forested landscape ensures that birdlife is abundant (at least during the warmer months). Peregrine falcons nest in the rock faces and eagles soar above the cliffs. Near the mountaintop, brilliant crimson rosellas arrive in large and almost tame ﬂocks. Laughing kookaburras, superb fairy-wrens, honeyeaters, nankeen kestrels and noisy gang-gang cockatoos are other typical species. Check with the park rangers about various guided walks.
Mount Buffalo is an all-season national park, enabling enthusiasts to indulge in everything from skiing and abseiling to canoeing, ﬁshing, horse riding, mountain-bike riding, caving, birdwatching, ﬁshing and, of course, some wonderful bushwalking. Tour companies (some based in Bright), as well as national park rangers, can help with guided tours and information.
Around 90 kilometres of tracks traverse the park, with interpretive signs en route and park notes available. The Big Walk (11.3 km, 16 km if detour to Rollasons Falls), is a challenging way to experience the park’s various vegetation zones as well as possibly encounter some of the park’s wildlife. The walk is steep, rising 1000 metres in 9 kilometres (or descends if you are heading from the Chalet downhill), and takes 4 to 5 hours one way. Shorter walks include Rollasons Falls Walk (4 km return, 1½ hours), from Rollasons Falls picnic area to the falls, to see water cascading into pristine rock pools, and the Lake Walk around Lake Catani (3-km circuit, 1 hour). Even on shorter walks, remember that conditions can change suddenly so be well prepared.
Canoeing and kayaking
Canoes and kayaks can be hired to cross the picturesque, tannin-stained waters of Lake Catani.
Anglers will ﬁnd brown trout in Lake Catani and the mountain streams.
Mount Buffalo provides an excellent platform for hang-gliders, who take off from a deck on the rim of the gorge.
Trail rides are usually available from November to April, but are often heavily booked, so check in advance for availability.
Rock-climbing and abseiling
The cliff-faces, including the granite face of the gorge, provide a perfect venue for rock-climbing and abseiling. There are courses for various levels, including beginners.
The park offers exceptional views, with one of the most impressive from the lookout at the Horn, Buffalo’s highest point (1723 metres), across to Mount Feathertop (1922 metres) and the state’s highest peak Mount Bogong (1986 metres).
In winter there is downhill skiing for beginner and intermediate levels (numerous lifts), and tobogganing and snow play areas at Dingo Dell and Cresta Valley. Cross-country skiers will ﬁnd 13 kilometres of marked trails winding through the picturesque snow gums.