26 Jul 2022
Less than an hour’s drive from Bright in the ‘Aussie Alps,’ Mount Buffalo is one of the crown jewels of Victoria’s High Country.
Known as a prime location for cross-country skiing and tobogganing, Mount Buffalo, which sits inside Mount Buffalo National Park, is ideal for a bit of snowy wintery fun - especially if you don’t have a lot of ski or snowboard experience.
Mount Buffalo’s gentle slopes and family-friendly facilities make it the best spot in Victoria for kids to get their first taste of white powder before graduating to the bigger mountains. Even better, entry and parking here is always free.
Declared a national park as far back as 1898, Mount Buffalo covers the entire sub-alpine plateau of Victoria and offers incredible hikes, views and immersive nature all-year-round.
Here are 5 ways to make the most of Mount Buffalo this winter!
1. SKI HIRE ON MOUNT BUFFALO
Once you arrive at Mount Buffalo, it’s too late to hire ski gear!
They stock a full range of rental skis and snowboards for all ages. They also have chain mail for your car tyres and a wide range of ski clothes, gloves and goggles if you’ve forgotten to dress for the cold!
2. DRIVE SAFELY ON MOUNT BUFFALO
For the majority of the winter when there is snow at Mount Buffalo and parts of the roads are icy - chains must be carried and fitted as directed, generally from mid-July to mid-September.
Victoria's Official (declared) snow season commences on the Queen's Birthday long weekend in June and concludes on either the last weekend of September or the first weekend of October.
Snow Chains must be carried during the declared snow season in Victoria with only some exceptions at Mount Buffalo when there is no snow.
Every day at approximately 9am the Duty Ranger contacts Visitor Information Centres, ski hire shops and other stakeholders with an update on current snow conditions.
This report includes whether or not chains are required on Mount Buffalo that day. At approx 4pm the Ranger will then assess the forecast for the next 24hrs, the state of the road and will make a determination as to whether chains will be required the next day.
You can also check if chains are required by:
- Contacting a Bright or Porepunkah ski hire shop or the Bright Visitor Information Centre
- Checking the Visit Mount Buffalo Facebook page
- Contacting the Park Ranger on 13 19 63
The Chains Must Be Carried sign at the entrance to Mt Buffalo is ultimately the official word on whether chains need to be carried or not. When this sign is visible chains must be carried by all vehicles. When it is not visible, chains are not required for any vehicle.
A daily snow and mountain driving report is also posted at the Visit Mount Buffalo Facebook page.
3. STAY NEAR MOUNT BUFFALO
Need Accommodation near Mount Buffalo?
Discovery Parks - Mount Buffalo (formerly Porepunkah Bridge Holiday Park) is at the foot of Mt. Buffalo and sits on the banks of the tranquil Ovens River.
Featuring a wide range of cabin, site and glamping options - plus all the modern amenities anyone could ask for - Discovery Parks - Mount Buffalo is minutes from the much-loved Punkah Pub, Rail Trail Cafe and only 5kms from Bright town centre.
4. LEARN TO SKI ON MOUNT BUFFALO
They run winter activities at both Dingo Dell and Cresta Valley with lessons, tours and rambles suitable for children as young as 5.
All of their instructors and guides are ready to help you have a fantastic time and lessons are normally conducted at Dingo Dell with ski tours leaving from Cresta Valley.
The main toboggan slope is at Dingo Dell, where the school operates a small toboggan and snowshoe hire shop inside the day shelter/cafe.
For more maps check the Visit Mount Buffalo site here.
5. SNOW FUN ON MOUNT BUFFALO
Free entry to the mountain, multiple toboggan slopes, small crowds and easy car parking. All of it combines to make Mount Buffalo one of Australia’s most popular mountains for family snow play, snow-shoeing and tobogganing.
Dingo Dell and Cresta Valley
The two main winter locations for snow play and tobogganing are Dingo Dell and Cresta Valley. Both offer a much more relaxed winter experience in comparison to the larger Victorian resorts.
Dingo Dell has a Day Visitor Centre including a cafe selling hot drinks and snacks as well as basic items such as sunscreen. You can hire toboggans and snowshoes from here, but take note, there are no other hire facilities on Mount Buffalo!
Cresta Valley has toilets but no day shelter or cafe and parking is free and close to both snow play areas.
The Dingo Dell toboggan slope is popular with families looking for a fun, easy day in the snow. The slope is long and has the perfect gradient for tobogganing. Go as fast or slow as you like.
Cresta Valley offers an even longer toboggan slope for the slightly more adventurous.
As long as there’s enough of the white stuff, why wouldn’t you build an Aussie snowman, have a snowball fight or just relax and enjoy the winter views? There's lots of space at both Dingo Dell and Cresta Valley to spread out and play.
For a slightly different bit of snow fun, try a snowshoe ramble through the snow gums. Snowshoes are available for hire during winter from the Dingo Dell Visitor Centre, and a licensed tour operator runs snowshoe tours whenever conditions allow.
Backcountry downhill skiing and snowboarding
Mount Buffalo has no operating chair lifts, but if you’re into backcountry skiing, snowboarding, splitboarding, or just want to avoid the lifts, then the old ski runs at Cresta Valley are the place for you.
The blue and black runs to the left of the old valley chair provide great entry-level backcountry downhill skiing and snowboarding, and there is some more challenging terrains along the old international line.
Cross Country Skiing
The wide plains, granite boulders and small valleys of Mount Buffalo create an interesting place to cross country ski during winter.
When the snow arrives the trail network around Cresta Valley is transformed into an ideal XC ski location for beginners and intermediate skiers. Two groomed cross country trails, the Bogong Loop and Horn Road ski trail are popular throughout the season.
6. CHECK OUT THE MOUNT BUFFALO SNOW CAM
Not sure about conditions?
There is a snow cam located at Dingo Dell with a view of the toboggan run so you can check out the current snowfall and weather.
7. BOOK FOR SUMMER!
Mount Buffalo is an all-year-round adventure-lovers paradise.
Blessed with all four seasons, the mountains play host to all manner of outdoor activities such as mountain biking,and road cycling, and the park has trails that are perfect for hiking, running and waterfall exploration. You can also kayak the beautiful Ovens River.