Mt Buffalo launches green season
By STRUAN JONES
MEMBERS of the Mount Buffalo business community met last week over informal drinks and snacks at the Punkah Pantry to review the 2018 winter season and to launch the summer ahead.
Leading the meeting was long-time tour operator David Chitty, who confirmed that winter visitor numbers were their highest in 22 years, with almost 50,000 people getting onto the mountain in July and August.
The feeling among the business community was that Mt Buffalo is an incredible location, more affordable compared to nearby resorts, and has lots of potential to improve.
The 90 days of snow was definitely a bonus this year, with Parks Victoria able to groom cross-country ski trails and promote snowshoeing on newly signed trails.
Tobogganing and snowplay was most popular among families and first-timers who were looking to explore the area without having to pay entrance fees to the park.
Many intrepid snow-goers also visit Mt Buffalo in winter however, attracted by its camping and snow-touring potential.
To start the summer period, camping grounds opened last weekend, including new glamping sites set up with heating, a queen-sized bed, coffee machine, Wi-Fi, and a luxury outdoor setting.
Also discussed were Chalet tours starting next January, and the newly signed native title claim which will see the Taungurung Clans Aboriginal Corporation begin to work with Parks Victoria going forward to manage the park.
Eddie Wilson from Tourism North East spoke about the huge interest there is among visitors in the Aboriginal history of the region, and made it clear that with the signing of the native title, there could be potential to have more interpretive information about the local indigenous culture.
He also flagged a new push to advertise and encourage walking in the region’s towns and mountains, after a successful emphasis on promoting cycling, including introducing the ‘7 Peaks Challenge’, where cyclists log their rides and receive recognition for cycling up seven of Victoria’s toughest mountains.
Talking of the community around Porepunkah, John Lowes, manager of the Punkah Pantry, suggested a formal group be established by business operators in Porepunkah, Eurobin and Mt Buffalo, “to come up with ideas for businesses and to make this place a better place to live,” and described the Porepunkah area as a big asset that has not been fully realised, and should receive more support.
The meeting ended with talk around how the mountain can best be promoted through photography on social media, emphasising the scenic panoramas and natural beauty of the entire park.