Mount Buffalo National Park

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Mount Buffalo is a mountain plateau in Victoria (Australia), 200 km northeast of Melbourne. It is one of the oldest parks in the Australian Alps, being first established in 1898 when 1165 ha was reserved around Eurobin Falls. In 1908 it was expanded to over 105 km² and the park now covers 310 km² over the plateau and foothills of Mount Buffalo.

Mount Buffalo is a moderately tall mountain plateau (elev 1723 metres AHD at its highest point) on the west side of the Victoria Alpine region. The top of the mountain has striking granite boulders and rock formations. From the north, the mountain is quite remarkable, with the highest accessible point being a prominent peak called The Horn. A walking track leads to The Horn and visitors can enjoy a 360 degree view from the top.

Visitor accommodation was available at the historic guest house, the Mount Buffalo Chalet, built in 1910, until January 2007. The lessee is currently negotiating with Parks Victoria regarding plans to reopen the Chalet. Tatra Inn, located at the west end of the plateau near the Cathedral, was destroyed in 2006 by an escaped fuel reduction burn. The view from the chalet overlooks large sheets of granite and spectacular views of the Ovens Valley and Buckland Valley below. This is a popular rock climbing and hang-gliding site. The camping ground at Lake Catani is open from November to April. During the winter season, Mount Buffalo is a popular destination for beginner skiers. There is a small downhill ski area near the Cathedral (Cresta Run) and another at Dingo Dell, both of which are ideal for beginners ski lessons, and many cross-country ski trails for more experienced skiers. Visitors can also stay at the nearby town of Bright.

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History

Aboriginal people made summer ascents to Mount Buffalo and other Alpine areas to gather and feast on protein-rich Bogong Moths that cluster in rock crevices, and also to meet and hold ceremonies.

Explorers Hume and Hovell named the mountain in 1824 from its supposed resemblance to a buffalo. Gold miners and botanists later began to find routes up to the plateau. With the beginning of tourism in the 1880s, an area around the spectacular Gorge was reserved as a national park in 1898. The park has been enlarged several times since and now takes in all the plateau and surrounding slopes. The Mount Buffalo Chalet was built in 1910, soon after the first road to the plateau was constructed, replacing some earlier more "rustic" accommodation. The park became a popular holiday destination for succeeding generations and a place for early skiing and ice skating ventures. In fact Buffalo had the first ski tow in Australia. For many Melbournians in the pre-war years, a trip to Mount Buffalo was their first encounter with snow.

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