Hiking throughout the Mt Buffalo region in the Victorian High Country felt more like hiking through a great open air gallery as we traversed from mound to mound to view piles of granite boulders weathered into giant rocky installations.
Throughout our travels we've grown fond of many of the world's mountainous regions and the Australian Alps prove no exception. This mountainous landscape is filled of quiet and secluded pockets of rocky outcrops, snowgum woodlands and alpine lakes all waiting to be explored under vivid blue skies.
Needing a break from studio life, we set out on the long eight hour road trip, bound for the Victorian Alpine. Travelling though countless small country towns, we were eager for that lovely feeling when you finally bid farewell to the highways and begin the windy incline into elevated climes. The repetitive pasture-lands giving way to continuous ridges of burnt snow gum forests and, in what seems an instant, the air becomes crisp and cool, as if cleansed by a mountainous air-conditioning system.
We arrived to find our campsite in the shade of tall mountain gums with long strips of bark strewn across the bush clearing. Noting that this was odd, but with more important tasks to attend to, we set about making camp, coaxing our small camp flame into a roaring campfire with this barky windfall. As the afternoon light faded an odd silence fell over the campsite, with not a peep from the twilight birds or animals of the night. The only sound we heard before turning in, was the quick patter patter of paws passing through, which when illuminated by our torch, turned out to be a local dingo on some seemingly urgent evening business.
We awoke to the night's silence shattered by the noisy morning routines of the day birds, who promptly provided an explanation to the bark-strewn camp scene. Eager for breakfast, they levered ribbons of loose bark off the trees in search of the insects hiding beneath, showering us with fat drops of gum tree dew and falling bark from above. Having enjoyed our own breakfast of porridge and coffee we set about exploring the ranges of Mt Buffalo.
Hiking through meadows and woodlands, up and down hilly rock staircases, we admired nature's handiwork of sculpting enormous granite tors into spectacular installations. These pieces titled with the regal sounding names of The Castle, The Sentinel, The Monolith and our personal favourite; the curvaceous roadside Torpedo Rock. Alpine paper daisies lined the paths to each weathered work and we explored the area's sheer cliffs and ambient peaks until the sunbeams signalling the start of golden hour, flooded the plateau of this open air gallery.
Basking in the last light of the day, we assembled a simple fare of cheese, home baked sourdough miche and natural wine and settled in for a stargazing picnic under the dusky ambience. As the sun set, the stars started to emerge, covering the clear evening skies with blinking golden and silver dots. The Milky Way, as always, glistening overhead.