Along with the Rainforest Gallery at the junction of the Acheron Way and the Donna Buang Road, this short Mt Donna Buang – 10 Mile Turntable to Summit hike is a pleasant introduction to Mt Donna Buang.
Park your car at the large car park at the 10 mile turntable and walk back down the road for 20 metres. There you will see a track heading up hill with a couple of posts to prevent vehicle access. Walk up this gently climbing track for 400 metres to a signposted junction. Turn left and continue uphill through mixed beech and eucalypt forest for another 600 metres to the summit area. Have a look around and if the weather is clear, it is well worth climbing the lookout tower which has stunning views in all directions.
For the return trip, head down the stairs next to the toilet block to the toboggan run. When you reach a former road, turn left along the track, climbing over a gate to cross the toboggan run. Continue walking along the old road until you reach the track you climbed earlier. Head down the track for about 400 metres to the junction. Turn right and walk another 400 metres to the 10 mile car park.
If you wish to extend the walk by an hour to Mt Victoria, on the return trip take the signposted track to Mt Victoria and follow the directions for the walk below.
Drive through Warburton until the highway, B 380, crosses the Yarra River. Shortly afterwards turn left onto The Acheron Way, C 507. The road climbs steadily for 7 km to the Cement Creek junction. Park here and spend 15 minutes inspecting the impressive Rainforest Gallery, a 350 metre walking circuit that starts high in the canopy before descending to the forest floor. Then drive up the Donna Buang Road, C 505, for 6 km to the 10 Mile picnic area and park. This is the most attractive place on the road and much nicer than the rather bleak summit area.
Mt Donna Buang (1250 metres) is the nearest snowfield to Melbourne. The tall ash forests on it’s slopes were harvested at the turn of the 20th century and the timber was moved by a network of tramlines and cable haulages. The industry took off in 1901 with the completion of the railway to Warburton.. Before the Second World War, Doona was also a minor ski resort with cleared runs, a huge ski jump and four ski lodges. In 1935 12,000 watched ski races on Donna. However the snow was never terribly reliable and after the war, two of the lodges that survived the 1939 fires were moved to the more dependable snowfield at Mt Buller, while the ruins of another can be seen at the foot of an old ski run.
Today most of the mountain is parkland. It is a accessed by a sealed road and is a popular tourist destination. In winter it attracts families to play in the snow. There is a 21 metre high lookout tower on the summit accessed by a strange double helix staircase. From the top there are impressive views of the mountains and forests, as well as the farmlands and towns of the Yarra Valley.
While you can drive to the top, there are a number of walking tracks up the mountain. One is a long day hike from Dom Dom Saddle, another begins at the aptly named Martyr Road in Warburton while a third starts half way up, near the Cement Creek Rainforest Gallery. There is also an easier option of a scenic walk near the summit.
Summary provided by: David Sisson | www.australianmountains.com/donnabuang/#10
Max elevation: 1252 m
Min elevation: 1069 m
Total climbing: 187 m
Total descent: -187 m