Mount Buffalo National Park

Note: I have put an updated version of this guide on my website under the blog section.  It covers some of the walks in Bright, and also more trails within Mount Buffalo National Park. (30/9/2011).

Described by geologist EJ Dunn as the ‘Garden of the Gods’, Buffalo Plateau offers numerous photo opportunities for the avid photographer/bushwalker.  Imposing granite tors and vistas encompassing the entire Australian Alpine region make this a worthwhile place to spend a few days.

Special Photographic Features and Notes

Mainly landscape photographic opportunities at Mount Buffalo National Park (MBNP) however there are numerous wildflowers in spring/summer for macro enthusiasts and also birds for wildlife shooters.

MBNP is a very accessible park with a lot of great trails of short duration close to various car parks.  However when in the bush always take appropriate precautions such as bringing a map, compass, water, cold and wet weather gear as the weather can change very rapidly in the mountains and it it easy to get lost as some trails are not clearly marked.

Below is a photo shot just off the Horn walking trail (which is only 1 km long) at sunset.  You can get parking at the Horn parking lot however note that to get here will involve driving along 3 km of unsealed roads.  It is possible to do this in a 2WD car.

Another photo from the Horn walking trail at sunset.  This shot does not require you to deviate from the trail.  Note that the elevation from the Horn viewpoint (which is above where this shot was taken) allows for 360 degree views of the Australian Alps.  You may wish to bring a telephoto lens to compress the layers of mountains.

Photo taken from the top of the Hump walking track at dusk. Once again, this is a very short track (~1.5 km) and is easily accessible from the car park at its base.  Note that the altitude of MBNP tends to lead to interesting cloud formations as you can see below.  This is also an excellent spot for viewing sunsets as there are 360 degree unobstructed views of the Australian Alps.

Below is the view just off the ‘Mac’s Point’ walking track.  This is only about 400m from the road so once again this is a very accessible location.  The big rock structure in the background is known as the Cathedral.

Close up shot of the Cathedral rock formation in the late afternoon light.  This was taken just after the point where the Cathedral track and the Hump track diverge.

Special Equipment

MBNP is an all seasons park and so is open thourghout the year.  Keep in mind you may need chains / cold weather gear if you intend on going in winter.  I recommend going in spring when the weather is fine and the wildflowers are in bloom.

Camera Equipment

  • Bring a tripod in order to shoot at low ISO’s for cleaner images
  • Shoot f8-11 if possible to increase sharpness and depth of field
  • Bring graduated neutral density filters if you intend on taking landscape photos

Hiking Equipment

  • Bring cold/wet weather gear as the weather can change very quickly in the mountains
  • Bring a compass and a map as not all the trails are clearly marked

Getting there

The Victorian High Country is about 4 hours North East of Melbourne.  Porepunkah is the nearest town to MBNP, however Bright is only 5 minutes down the road and has more accommodation and eating options – I would recommend staying there.  There are plenty of motels for a very reasonable price.

Note that it will take approximately an hour from the entry gate to get to the Hump / the Cathedral so plan accordingly.  Also note that the everything in Bright shuts down ~9PM so if you’re taking sunset shots make sure you bring dinner with you or make appropriate plans.

Good luck,

Author Bio


  1. Brent Pearson January 29, 2010

    Lovely guide – You are now live — Hey Tze
    Thanks for the lovely guide, great pictures.

    I have made your guide live now.


  2. Anonymous February 23, 2010

    More than Gardens of God — Sze,

    Awesome guide for an awesome location. I have been there once, during mid winter after a few days of good snow. So I basically went to the cathedral rock, saw that scene in your photo, but it was a little different. It was all covered in snow, and it was sunrise.

    The snow made things look much better, and sunrise makes the place much colder. It also meant I stayed up at night over in the park with my car. The views were unforgettable, it produced some of the best shots from my 14 day road trip, leveling with some at Mt Hotham. Only difference though, is that Mt. Hotham is much more civilized 😛

    If anyone wants to stay up there at night or go up early during winter you better be prepared. Snow chains, 4WD, a good snow shovel to shove off all the snow on the side, appropriate clothings etc.

    I remember there is a lake a little down from the cathedral, still in Mt Buffalo National Park, not sure whether it will look nice during winter though.

    Regarding the Horn, would you think it is negotiable with snow as I have done with the cathedral?

    • Sze Tang February 23, 2010

      Hi Reagan,

      Thanks for taking the taking time to comment on and add to the guide, it is appreciated. I think you are right, MBNP would be amazing in winter, however it doesn’t help when your car is only 2WD 😛

      In reference to your comments, the lake you refer to is called Lake Catani. It is possible to camp there in summer.

      I think the unsealed track to the Horn would be negotiable with a little snow if you take the precautions you have suggested. Generally the snowfalls in oz aren’t large so I don’t think the snow will be a big issue with a 4WD and/or chains.

      I would be interested to see some of your shots from your time at MBNP.


  3. Tim Wrate November 7, 2010

    One of my favourite places to shoot in Aus! — Sze,

    Thank you for your wonderful guide! Being from Sydney I am not too familiar with the Victorian High Country. I must admit that your guide inspired me to head down to Mount Buffalo over the October weekend. What an incredible place! I only managed to sqeeze in one evening’s shooting – but I came away with a couple of keepers!

    Thanks again for an informative guide to an incredible place!!


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