Dickson’s Falls and The South Walk Walk : April 1

Monday, April 1st, was a great bush walking day on Mount Buffalo, with 16 walkers prepared for the hike incorporating Dickson’s Falls followed by The South Walk.

The sun was shining, and from on top of the plateau no smoke haze, which was about in the preceding week, was evident.

Our starting point was Cresta Valley carpark which allowed for the formalities of handouts of maps and introductions. Today we welcomed two new walkers; to the club, not to walking. They’ve been doing that for years. Jan who had moved to the area a year ago, and Jishnu who came all the way from India just to participate in my walk. No joke. I am pretty sure I have that fact correct.

From Cresta Valley, my plan was to walk to Dickson’s Falls and then return for morning tea. However, there was one member of the group, who shall remain nameless, but she is Swedish, who had another idea. Morning tea would be best taken at the Falls. Now I am not one to argue with a Swede. Not since they have recently joined NATO.

The path to Dickson’s Falls is clearly defined and passes the turn off towards The Back Wall. Small streams were still flowing, which was promising for water at the Falls, and the occasional colourful and lone wildflower could be seen, the last of a long summer.

Our maps had a point of interest marked, THE VALLEY OF THE GODS. It was capitalized for dramatic effect on the map too. However, it went unnoticed by all of us. I can only assume that being a Monday public holiday, all gods were watching the footy.

Once we reached the lookout for Dickson’s Falls, a view over the south face of the park was before us. An information board noted various Australian peaks in the distance. The Falls, and I use the term loosely, admittedly, were flowing.

After morning tea in this pleasant spot, measured by the time it took Adrian to consume his apple, and with one noticeably happy Swede, we retraced our steps back to Cresta Valley. My GPS measured this as being 3.5km, so a little shorter than the expected 4km return.

A quick break, and the group were soon ready for the South Walk. The early stages of this walk had a little navigation through some more densely crammed bush. It wasn’t long before the area opened with numerous conglomerations of granite boulders and Snow Gums. With names like The Tombstones, The South Bluff and Wilfred’s Hill, you wonder how they come up with such names for landmarks. Shannon noticed one boulder outcrop with an interesting formation on one end. She decided it looked like something Fred Flintstone would live in. It’s now been christened FRED’S PLACE. Capitalized for dramatic effect, obviously.

The remainder of the trail towards our destination, the South Buffalo Viewpoint, is best described as undulating. From when we began at the car park, our elevation was around 1480m. After walking for about 3.7km we reached the viewpoint at an elevation of about 1620m. This section of the park has spectacular views in all directions. A rather dwindling Lake Buffalo in one direction, the well visited Horn and the Back Wall in the opposite direction, and interesting granite boulder formations everywhere else.

After a leisurely lunch break, and customary group photo shot, we again retraced our steps. By this stage the group had spread out significantly, with everyone walking at their own comfortable pace. Although wildlife found here is varied and abundant, today I only spotted small lizards darting about my feet.

Once back at the cars we made use of one of the tables for Pat’s afternoon tea; a spread which is welcomed at the end of each walk and is renowned the world over.

Jan was suitably impressed with the hike, the company she kept, and afternoon tea, that she joined as a full member upon completion of the walk.

Thanks to everyone for participating. The day’s hike of 11.73km was completed in five hours, and was a great day of walking in this remarkable National Park.

Apparently, there are over 90km of walking tracks on Mount Buffalo; I think we should make a weekend of it in the future and see how we go. [Michael Braendler]

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