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 fires of late 2006 destroyed the small ski centre at Cresta Valley and the historic Chalet has been closed for a number of years. Although a small cafe operates seasonally out of the Dingo Dell building, it seems lots quieter nowdays on the Plateau. Cross country ski trails are maintained when there is sufficient snow and the climbing – on some of the best granite in the state – is as good as ever. But sometimes it does feel like the wild is reclaiming the plateau.
Access to the Park is now freeand a good road takes you onto the plateau from near Porepunkah.
There is camping available at Lake Catani (you need to register with Parks Victoria) and incredible walking, climbing, caving, swimming, and mountain bike riding opportunities. There are often road bike cyclysts on the road, so take care if you’re driving up. Adventure Guides Australia offer a range of outdoor adventures.
- the Big Walk from the Park entrance to the Gorge. If you have limited time, the top half of the walk, from Maceys Lookout to the Gorge gives great views
- (on a quiet day) the incredibly beautiful Lady Bath Pool below Eurobin Falls
- the remote feeling Mt McLeod on the northern side of the plateau
- a swim at Lake Catani
- a wander around the Horn for great views into the Victorian Alps
- the frost hollows and snow plains around Cresta Valley – you can do short round trips here that give a real sense of the Plateau
- from the Gorge car park walk the first section of the Big Walk to find remnant Alpine Ash that survived the fires
Parks Victoria offers various materials on walking in the park.