The Monolith and Pulpit Rock is an amazing circuit that commences at the Lake Catani campground and visits some of the most striking features of the eastern end of the Buffalo plateau. These include View Point, the Underground River, Haunted Gorge, Billsons Lookout, Echo Point, Crystal Brook Falls and the sheer cliffs of The Gorge. Commencing at the picnic area near the Jetty head north east along The Gorge – Lake Catani Walking Track. Turn off just after the bridge on to the View Point Nature Walk. Ignore a turnoff on your left to the Underground River and climb steadily through alpine ash forest before a final rock scramble to View Point. This vantage point provides excellent views from the edge of the plateau over the farmland of the Buckland Valley below.
After soaking up the views, retrace your steps to the previous trail junction and turn right onto the path that leads to the Underground River. After a short distance the trail begins to drop steeply into Haunted Gorge before crossing the river. As you are crossing the river, keep an eye out between the rocks and make sure you take a peek at the water rushing underneath you. This the entrance point to the Underground River. Do not attempt to enter the river caves as this is a place for experienced cavers only. Continue to head north as you climb out of the gorge then follow the trail through the forest to Billisons Lookout for more amazing views.
After leaving the lookout, continue north for approximately 300m to Echo Point car park; the main day visitors area which provides vehicle access to The Gorge and the Mount Buffalo Chalet. At Echo Point there are numerous view points to explore before continuing north west along The Big Walk trail that leads you to Crystal Brook Falls and The Gorge. The Gorge’s North Wall is the credited as being the highest cliff in Australia and was created as Crystal Brook carved out the Gorge over 360 million years. The first view of The Gorge is from Gorge View Lookout which provides a unique vantage point into the depths far below. From Falls Lookout you can see the start point of the Big Walk 1000 metres below. Proceed over the Crystal Brook bridge, turning right to follow the trail to Pulpit Rock which has fine views of the sheer walls with climbers often clinging to them. Continue to follow the trail north east to the Wilkinson’s lookout trail. Take a short side trip to Wilkinson’s Lookout for breathtaking views from the 330 metres North Wall. Back on the track and again head north then west to complete a small circuit that includes both Manfields Lookout and Reeds Lookouts. From Reeds finish this circuit by returning back onto The Big Walk and follow this back to Echo Point. After returning to Echo Point don’t miss the view from Bents Lookout of the sheer 300 metre cliffs of the North Wall of the Gorge and the Victorian Alps beyond.
Locate the Monolith Walking Trail (also known as the Lake Catani Trail) in the south west corner of the car park. After a short distance you will reach a junction. Keep right and follow the signs to The Monolith. After approximately 1km keep right at the junction then left towards the Monolith; a giant balancing rock that towers above Lake Catani. A ladder once allowed you to climb it but has been removed for safety reasons. After appreciating the view retrace your steps to the main trail and turn left, following the trail through the forest towards the Mount Buffalo Road. When you reach the road, near the park office, turn left and walk for approximately 500m along the road verge to reach the Lakeside Track. Take another left turn here to follow the path along the lake shore to a footbridge below the dam wall at the far end. Cross the bridge, turn right and return to the start point along the The Gorge – Lake Catani Walking Track.
There are unpowered campsites available set among picturesque Snow Gum woodland. Each is marked by a numbered post. Camping is only permitted within the boundary of these sites. Toilets, hot showers, dish washing and a basic laundry (no washing machines) are provided. A separate disabled hot shower and toilet is also available. A communal stone shelter with tables and fireplaces is located adjacent to the amenities building. Basic lighting in the amenities is provided by solar panels. Campers are required to be self sufficient with drinking water. Click here for more information.
About the region
The Mount Buffalo National Park is a national park located in the alpine region of Victoria, Australia. The 31,000-hectare (77,000-acre) national park is located approximately 350 kilometres (220 mi) northeast of Melbourne in the Australian Alps. Within the national park is Mount Buffalo, a moderately tall mountain plateau, with an elevation of 1,723 metres (5,653 ft) above sea level. Mount Buffalo is a moderately tall mountain plateau on the west side of the Victorian Alpine region. The top of the mountain has striking granite boulders and rock formations. From the north, the mountain is quite remarkable, with the highest accessible point being a prominent peak called The Horn. A walking track leads to The Horn and visitors can enjoy a 360 degree view from the top.
Drive towards Bright via Hume Highway, Wangaratta and Myrtleford. Take the turn off to Mt Buffalo near Porepunkah. Drive up to the Buffalo plateau, continue past the road to the chalet and drive until you see the Parks Office on your right. Follow the signs off the Mount Buffalo Tourist Road (C535) to Lake Catani Campground and the Lakeside Day Visitor Area. Lake Catani Campground is open from the beginning of November until the end of April.
Max elevation: 1406 m
Min elevation: 1272 m
Total climbing: 634 m
Total descent: -634 m