National Parks + Wildlife
MT BUFFALO NATIONAL PARK
Mt Buffalo National Park is a place of amazing contrasts; from the gentle trails of its plateau to the plunging cliffs of its Gorge; from the towering forest of its lower slopes to the gnarled snow gums of its peaks.
Mt Buffalo National Park is one of Australia’s oldest and most spectacular national parks. It is renowned for its walking trails which vary from short and sometimes gentle rambles to longer hikes into remote area. One of the most popular tracks begins at the top of the sheer 300 metre granite walls of the Gorge. It leads you past thundering waterfalls, towering granite tors and reveals picture-postcard views of the vineyards and farms of the Buckland Valley. Another walk that really should be attempted is up to The Horn, the highest peak on the Mt Buffalo plateau. This is a short climb from the car park, giving the kind of views walkers have come to expect from a high country summit.
Mt Buffalo National Park offers a great environment to enjoy many activities as well as walks, eg canoeing, bike riding and swimming, with snow play in winter.
Toilets are available on Mt Buffalo at the Chalet carpark. Currently the Chalet and its cafe are closed. Take a picnic with you instead and enjoy a whole day on the mountain. A cafe at Dingo Dell operates usually in peak periods. Enquire at the local Visitor Information Centre to find out opening days and hours.
Free entry to Mt Buffalo National Park as from July 1, 2010
In winter Mt Buffalo has a day shelter, toilets and first aid facilities at the Cresta area. Cross country ski trails are groomed starting at the Cresta area and there are other non groomed trails as well. A cross country ski school is based at Cresta Valley. Refreshments and toboggan hire are available at Dingo Dell (Keown Lodge) and if sufficient snow the tubing park at Dingo Dell runs as well.
Tobogganing, tubing and snow play is available under the control of Parks Victoria. There are also snow shoe shuffle tours for families to enjoy.
ALPINE NATIONAL PARK
The Alpine National Park is Victoria’s largest national park, with ten of the state’s eleven highest mountains, rare fauna and a rich botanical community ranging from alpine herb fields to snow gum woodlands. The park offers a tremendous variety of alpine walks ranging from an hour to several days. You can choose an easy wildflower walk in summer or make a day of it and walk to vantage points where you can see Mt Buffalo, Mt Feathertop, the Bogong High Plains and the Kiewa Valley.
Parks Victoria offer Easter and summer programs in the school holidays in our National Parks. Call Parks Victoria on 13 19 63 or visit www.parkweb.vic.gov.au
WILDLIFE, WILDFLOWERS AND FORESTS
The foothills of the Victorian Alps are clothed in eucalypt forest and create a picturesque frame for the towns of Bright, Wandiligong, Harrietville and Porepunkah. In spring the native eucalypt forest, especially those on the drier northern slopes, are rich in wildflowers including native orchids.
Commonly seen birdlife includes King Parrots, Crimsons Rosellas, Satin Bowerbirds, Pied Currawongs, Scarlet Robins and Blue Wrens.
You are not likely to see them but these foothill native forests are the home to Sugar Gliders, Feathertail Gliders, Brushtail and Ringtail Possums, Long-nosed Bandicoots, Marsupial Mice (Antechinus) and Bush Rats.
The best chance for seeing wildlife is by being quiet, listening for movement and calls, and having patience. The best time to see wildlife is at dawn and dusk. Time any walks for the early morning to see more bird life or to finish at dusk to have a better chance of seeing kangaroos and wallabies. After dark take a spotlight or strong torch to look for wombats, possums and other nocturnal animals.