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Mount Buffalo, VIC

Dramatically beautiful National Park on the edge of the Snowy Mountains.

Mount Buffalo is spectacular. Its dramatic granite cliffs, its grand vistas, its excellent bushwalking tracks, its rich wildlife (wombats, lyrebirds) and flora (snow gums, wildflowers), its excellent cross country skiing in winter and rock climbing in summer, its unusual waterfalls, and its pristine beauty all combine to make it a very special National Park. Geologists have determined that Mount Buffalo was once three times its current height (1723 m). The 31,000 ha National Park now comprises the entire plateau and most of the forested foothills. It is covered with striking rock formations  and huge sheets of granite.

Location

Mount Buffalo is located 349 km north-east of Melbourne via the Hume Freeway and the Great Alpine Road. The last 29 km are a long and winding climb up the mountain.

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Origin of Name

The mountain was named by the explorers Hume and Hovell who, seeing it in the distance, decided that it looked like a buffalo.

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Things to See and Do

Outdoor Activities
Mount Buffalo is for those people who want healthy outdoor activities. Parks Victoria suggest that the National Park is ideal for "sightseeing, walking, bike riding, rock climbing, abseiling, tobogganing, cross country skiiing and hang gliding. The park boasts 400 plant species  - eucalypt woodland, scrubby heathlands and an array of springtime wildflowers - as well as waterfalls, escarpments, granite tors, high plains, deep river valleys, exceptional views of the Alps."

Walking
The National Parks brochure Mount Buffalo National Park: Visitor Guide to the Great Granite Plateau (it is downloadable at http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/315597/Park-note-Mt-Buffalo-Great-Granite-Plateau.pdf) offers a staggering 23 walks ranging from short 45 minute walks to the 16 km Mount McLeod Track.

The most popular are:

(1) Eurobin Falls Track - a short 500 m walk  leads to the small and pretty Ladies Bath Falls (the water is always beautifully clear) and the more impressive Eurobin Falls which is "a series of broad cascades spilling over large granite rock slabs". It should be noted that the last 250 metres to the top lookout is considerably harder than reaching the lower two vantage points.

(2) Gorge Heritage Walk - 2.5 km, 1 hour return is a loop walk below the chalet with interpretative signs and some excellent vantage points with spectacular panoramic views.

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History

* Aborigines were once drawn to Mount Buffalo in the summer months by the bogong moths. They caught and roasted the moths on strips of bark. It is claimed the moths tasted like prawns. Today the Mitambuta and Taugaurong identify the Mount Buffalo National Park as their Traditional Country.

* the first Europeans into the area were Hume and Hovell who passed the present day site of Glenrowan in 1824 and named both Mount Buffalo and the Ovens River.

* The mountain's highest peak, The Horn, was first climbed by Baron Ferdinand Von Mueller in 1853. Von Mueller was a government botanist who collected many unique floral species on his excursion.

* By the 1850s visitors were coming to the mountain to enjoy the magnificent views.

* An alpine club was established in 1883 to promote tourism.

* A local guide book was published in 1887. It described local walking tracks and bridle paths.

* The Bright Alpine Club lobbied the government and in 1898 an area of 1,152 ha around the Gorge was set aside as a national park.

* A road was constructed the mountain in 1908 and The Mount Buffalo Chalet was opened in 1910.

* Australia's first ski tow and ski lifts were installed at Cresta Valley in 1936.

* The chalet was closed in 2007 and is yet to reopen. There is currently discussion of it reopening after an investment of $7 million.

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Visitor Information

There is a Parks Victoria Office only a few kilometres from the Mount Buffalo Chalet, tel: 13 1963. There is also good information at the Myrtleford Visitor Information Centre, Post Office Complex, Great Alpine Road, Myrtleford,  tel: (03) 5755 0514.

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Useful Websites

The best site is http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/explore/parks/mount-buffalo-national-park which has a number of downloadable brochures for visitors wanting to spend time on the mountain.

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