Porepunkah

 Sitting right at the foot of Mt Buffalo Porepunkah is the departure point both for Mt Buffalo National Park and the road that winds through the peaceful Buckland Valley.  But don’t head off too quickly!  Porepunkah is at the junction of the Buckland and Ovens rivers, perfect for trout fishing and the town has a very attractive reserve with shady riverbanks and playground, swimming holes, picnic tables and riverside walks.  Enjoy the 45 minute Porepunkah river circuit walk that follows the river, crosses over a swing bridge and returns via the Rail Trail.

Porepunkah has a wealth of accommodation options supported by a wide variety of activities.  Together with Bright and Mt Buffalo, Porepunkah is recognised as one of the top destinations in Australia for microlighting, paragliding and hang gliding.  The alpine views are unforgettable and while the gliding relies on warm air from spring to autumn, you can go microlighting (powered hang gliding) year-round.  Tandem flights are available at Porepunkah airfield, as are lessons if you want to fly solo


History of Porepunkah

The earliest sightings of this area were by Hume & Hovell, in 1824.  They would have been able to see Mt. Buffalo and speculate on the adjacent valleys from their camp at Whorouly.

By 1837 a cattle run between present day Myrtleford to Eurobin was established.  Later, two local pastoral enterprises, the Port Punka Station and Junction Run together with the adjacent Wandiligong Run would have seen the first permanent habitation of the area by Europeans.

In the 1850’s significant gold deposits were discovered in the Buckland Valley and a large number of miners subsequently flooded the area.  To get to the new gold fields the miners would have used the ‘Ovens Crossing’ at the site of what we now know as Porepunkah.  The local population then consisted of Europeans and a lot of Chinese.  On the 4th of July 1857, the infamous ‘Buckland Riots’ took place with the Chinese driven from the gold fields.

In April 1860 the ‘Ovens Crossing’ or Porepunkah, was surveyed as a township prior to both Bright (Morse’s Creek) and Wandiligong (Growler’s Creek) and a few years later the first bridge was built at Porepunkah.  When the railway line through to Bright was finally opened in 1890 it provided a very useful avenue for the expansion of tourism to the Buffalo Plateau and Porepunkah became a well known staging post for this memorable journey.

Dredge mining in the valleys commenced in 1901 and continued until the 1920’s with up to ten dredges around Porepunkah alone.  The resulting devastation and degradation of water quality saw their eventual decline and even though the dredges brought a period of prosperity, the cost was high.

Through the depression, the wars and to the present day, Porepunkah has continued as a close rural community sustained by a mix of agriculture, forestry and tourism.


Attractions and Activities in Porepunkah

 Porepunkah has a riverside park with shaded playground and the river is dammed from Christmas to Easter to provide a safe river swimming pool.  Look for walking tracks on the local walks brochure for a further insight into the history.  A drive down the Buckland Valley from Porepunkah takes you passed the airfield (great for watching incoming and outgoing aircraft) and then through apple orchards, olive groves and nut farms.  You can even visit an alpaca farm or have a gourmet meal.