CAVING & ABSEILING ON MT BUFFALO:
For seasoned pros and newbies alike, there are countless climbing, abseiling and caving adventures on Mt Buffalo that will get you pumped. On this occasion we jumped on an adventure arranged by the legends at Adventure Guides Australia, who have a few ‘off the shelf’ adventures, and plenty more options if you organise a group – just give them a call to discuss.
For our adventure, David and the team guided us on a 200m multi-pitch abseil, caving and climbing adventure that can go ahead rain, hail or shine. It was an absolute stunner.
- Mt Buffalo’s a 5 hr drive from Melbourne, so make a weekend of it. Stay/camp in Bright, a major gateway to Alpine Victoria.
- Book your adventure with the awesome team at Adventure Guides Australia.
- While no experience is necessary, this adventure is suited to confident climbers. There is a beginner abseil if you want to build your confidence.
- Bring your lunch, snacks and at least 2 liters of water as it’s a whole day of shenanigans.
- Weather in the Alpine Region can be unpredictable, so pack layers and check the forecast before you go.
- Explored in Spring. Possible all year round, although most comfortable September – May.
- Make time to check out Rollason Falls (on Mt Buffalo), it’s worth your while!
WE’RE STRAIGHT INTO IT
When someone mentions the Victorian Alpine Region, most thoughts drift toward shredding gnar on the slopes. But the Alpine Region delivers all year round, with the summer menu consisting of mountain biking, hiking, rock climbing and last but not least, abseiling.
It’s not every weekend that you get to abseil off the top of a mountain, so we thought we’d better give that a crack. While ‘just winging it’ and taking a ‘she’ll be right’ attitude was tempting, clearer heads prevailed and we decided to hook up with the experts at Adventure Guides Australia and increase our chances of surviving the day.
There is no mucking around with these guys. Meeting at the Buffalo Chalet at 8am, we were strapped up and peering over the cliff by 8.30.
START THE DAY WITH A MASSIVE ABSEIL
After running us through the safety it was straight into the deep end on the first abseil with a 90m drop. Despite the size, it was one of the simpler abseils for the day, with a gentle slope leading into the abseil rather than a drop-off and overhang. The hardest part about the first abseil was deciding whether to fly down the rope like a daredevil or take your time and enjoy views out over the whole valley.
YEP, WE ABSEILED INTO CAVES
Next up was a series of three smaller abseils to finish off the blissful 200m multi-pitch. Not content to let the 90m super-abseil steal the show, abseil number two was into a cave. Yep, that’s right, a cave. There was a small hole that you dropped through before coming through the roof of a cave big enough to fit a house inside.
There was one small abseil and then we got to another beaut, a 40m abseil with views out over the whole valley. This was another choose your own adventure, where you could take your time and enjoy the view, or go Indiana Jones style and whip down the rope.
David then took us up a bunch of small paths back to the Chalet for a lunch break. All the way he explained the history of the mountain, the different types of rocks and interesting facts about the scrub we were walking through. I guess it’s only expected that someone who’d spent as much time in the area as David would know as much as he did.
SUCK IT UP FOR CONFINED CAVING
After lunch, David was determined to prove to us that he isn’t a one trick pony, so we strapped some torches onto our helmet and got ready for some caving. In true Adventure Guide Australia style, we again had an epic abseil down into the cave. This one was a 30m overhang, suspended in open air above the valley with the now-familiar- but-no- less-breathtaking views.
These caves were more suck-in- your-breath- and-squeeze type rather than the fit-a- house-in- them caves we were in before lunch. David and his team were experts in guiding us through and kept you calm and moving the whole time.
I may not have mentioned this previously, but David is 71 years old, so seeing him slip through the tight cracks is certainly reassuring. To finish off the day and get out of the caves, we got the challenge of climbing up an overhanging cliff using a wire ladder.
Having seen people climbing and abseiling up and down Buffalo but ever having tried it myself, and not even knowing that a cave system existed under Buffalo, this weekend had me thoroughly impressed.
The alpine region never ceases to amaze me with all of the activities you can do there. Just when you think you’ve got it figured out, it throws another epic adventure at you. And if its adventure you’re looking for, Adventure Guides Australia are an awesome outfit to hook up with.
HOW TO GET TO MT BUFFALO FROM BRIGHT
Bright is a solid 3.5 hr drive north east of Melbourne, along the Hume Highway before turning off just shy of Wangaratta and heading up and into Alpine Victoria. We suggest you base yourself in Bright and make the trip up to Mt Buffalo from there.
Allow around 1 hour to get from Bright to the Gorge Precinct Visitors Car Park (below the Old Mount Buffalo Chalet), which will be your meeting spot on the day. It’s a fair old climb up Mt Buffalo, so ensure you’re well prepared for a much cooler temperature and well stoked with food and drink.