Mt Buffalo is a beautiful park anytime of year, but the combination of Autumn colours in the valley and the beginnings of a chill in the air makes this a particularly great walk in Autumn. The valley is a fascinating place, a place where a lot of Australia’s changing rural landscapes can be seen – farms that once were growing hops and tobacco now are vineyards. Railways that have been abandoned have now become iconic rail trails where cyclists travel. Mt Buffalo itself, once a thriving ski resort, is now about to have life breathed back into it when its heritage listed chalet is renovated and opened again.
This valley is a thriving example of how local slow travel can support communities and landscapes. For LoST travelers, this reinvention by walking, cycling, landscape mosaics (national parks, wineries, farms, dairy, communities and villages) and local produce allows us to see changes and see possibilities.
For those slow travelers and walkers who want to really feel the contours of the Buffalo landscape, there is a walk that takes you from the bottom to the top – the Big Walk. It’s a great idea to spend some time at the top, camping at Lake Catani and exploring the many trails and rock formations of the plateau.
The Big Walk covers over 1 kilometre in height over 9 kilometres of walking. Yes it’s a hard seven hours to the top, but it is one of the most scenic and fulfilling walks in the Mount Buffalo region. It’s no wonder it’s called the ‘Big Walk’.
Take the time to enjoy the walk and the bush of the Buffalo massif whilst getting to the top. There are vegetation zones to pass through as well as scenic lookouts and waterfalls to discover. You can feel the changes in the temperatures of the micro-climates, and smell the different vegetation as the trail passes through. The lookouts on the way can be visited and the extraordinary vistas from the plateau taken in. The Big Walk is a walk of the senses as much as an ascent to the top.
The walk is well signposted and so should not hold any surprises. However it is an Alpine environment, though not as harsh as in other areas. Changes in weather can occur quite dramatically and quite quickly, so you need to be prepared for cold snaps and snow at any time of the year.
The walk starts at the Entrance Station to the Park and goes from the Eurobin Picnic Area to the Gorge Day Visitor area at the top of the plateau. From the Gorge it is a relatively easy walk to Lake Catani Camping Area for those who decide to stay at the top and do some further exploration of the plateau.
The beginning of the trail is at the north end of the Eurobin Creek Picnic Area. Walk across the swing bridge and begin the steep climb to Eurobin Point (reached after approximately 2.7 kilometres of fairly steep walking).
However once at Eurobin Point, the hard part of the walk is over. Whilst it is still uphill, the climb becomes more gentle. A visit to Rollason’s Falls is approximately a 2 km round trip (about an additional 1.5 hours) along the signposted and well-marked track.
Continuing on your upward journey, the main road is again crossed to reach Mackay’s Lookout. Here is another lookout providing magnificent views of the valley below. Further along, a short divergence (around 100 metres) takes you to Marriot’s Lookout, providing views back to the Buffalo gorge, the ultimate conclusion to the walk.
It’s still up to Mansfield’s Junction (1350 metres) after 3 kilometres. Here there are two choices – a trip to Mansfield’s Lookout or to Reed’s Lookout. Both return to the Big Walk and to yet another decision – between following the Gorge Heritage walk or continuing along the track.
Either way, the end is the path to Crystal Brook Falls and the Gorge Day visitor area. This is the end of the sign-posted Big Walk.
However, for those continuing on to Lake Catani and further adventures exploring this unique landscape, there are plenty of signposts. And if you’re not? In the absence of a lift in a vehicle, just follow the path back down – it’s quicker than coming up!