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Rock climbing on Mount Buffalo

Listed under Rock Climbing in Victoria, Australia.

  • Photo of Rock climbing on Mount Buffalo
  • Photo of Rock climbing on Mount Buffalo
  • Photo of Rock climbing on Mount Buffalo
Photo of Rock climbing on Mount Buffalo
Photo by Cam Walker
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The Buffalo plateau is a classic 'island in the sky', a unique high altitude area surrounded by lower country. It is an outlier of the hills that make up the Australian Alps and offers fantastic views back into these mountains. It is a great old granite plateau, on the traditional lands of the Minjambuta people.

It has been badly burnt in two major bush fires over the past few years and this has had a profound impact on the vegetation. Buffalo had been a refuge for big and old alpine ash, a wonderful eucalypt tree that is heavily logged throughout much of the high country, and most of this is now dead. The ash mostly lives around the upper fringes of the slopes leading up to the 'tabletop' of the plateau, which is a mosaic of snowgum woodland and open frost hollow valleys up on top. Now there is an absolute riot of regrowth as the ash and snow gums regrow, along with a host of other species.

The plateau has Victoria's best granite rock climbing, including the impressive Gorge, which has climbs of up to 300 metres on clean lines. There are some commercial operators who offer climbing and abseiling. The Gorge lookout is a popular take off point for hang gliders. The downhill (alpine) ski infrastructure was largely destroyed in bushfires and snow cover is more unpredictable than in other high country resorts, but when it is in form there is great cross country and back country skiing. There is a great campsite by Lake Catani (you need to book in peak season), and excellent bushwalking. The temperature is often a few degrees cooler than the surrounding valley towns when it is baking hot down there.

A great way to get a sense of the plateau is to do the Big Walk, an 11 kilometre path from the park entrance to the snow gum forests on the plateau. The altitude gain is around 1,000 metres. If you are short on time, do the second half, from Mackeys lookout (there is a space to park just past the 'Mackeys lookout/ Big Walk' sign), which is on the main tourist road. From here you skirt around big granite slabs, get a great view into the Gorge, climb through the mad re-growth of burnt forests (with a range of species that only exist on the plateau, like the Buffalo Sallow Wattle), then emerge into a maze of granite slabs and snowgum before finishing at the historic tourist chalet. You can then either retrace the journey, or hitch hike back down the road to your car. As a round trip you can usually do this well within 4 hours, which includes sitting and watching time.

Further info on Buffalo.

Written by  Cam Walker.

Other expert and press reviews

“Mount Buffalo”

The sheer granite of Mount Buffalo’s North gorge wall is Australia’s answer to Yosemite, and a great testing-ground for those wishing to explore further afield. It offers a vast array of multi-pitch aid climbs including the classic “Ozymandias” (3 star … Read more...

Written by  Adrian McCallum.

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