Just like Victoria’s other ski resorts, Mount Buller is still worth visiting over the summer season. With the snow melted and the wild flowers blooming, this provides prime hiking conditions. While it certainly doesn’t see as many hikers as Mount Hotham and Falls Creek, there’s no shortage of trails to explore from shorter trails to longer overnight hikes.
I’ve paid a couple of visits to Mount Buller in the warmer months and been able to complete most of the walking trails up and around the ski resort, including over at Mount Stirling as well. From the iconic Craigs Hut to panoramic alpine views from Mount Buller summit, there’s plenty to see and do on foot.
In this post, I’m going to outline the best walks to do at Mount Buller, including an overnight hike to Craigs Hut.
Visiting Mount Buller in the Summer Season
Melbourne to Mount Buller: 236 km or 3.5 hours driving time via Lilydale and Yea
Mount Buller seems more like a ghost town in summer compared to winter. You’ll likely only see some construction crew and resort maintenance staff milling around. There’s also very little open in terms of shops or cafes, so it’s best to be self-sufficient and bring your own food or pick up some from Mansfield. But, this doesn’t matter too much if you’re keen to hit some of the trails.
It’s also completely free to visit in the warmer months, with no entry passes required. The road up to Mount Buller is windy, but generally very quiet in summer.
Bit of History and Respect to Traditional Owners: Mount Buller and Mount Stirling are on the traditional land of the Taungarung People. Mount Buller was named by British explorer and surveyor Major Sir Thomas Livingstone Mitchell after an acquaintance in the Colonial Office, Charles Buller. However, it is believed that the Aboriginal name for the mountain is Bulla Bulla meaning “good”.
Where to Park?
There are a few options for parking, especially because it’s so quiet during summer you can have a pick of the best. However, some of the most convenient spots for walking include just behind Village Square Plaza, this gives you access to public toilets and has bigger parking spots for vans.
Or if you’re just going up to visit the Mount Buller Summit, then you can continue driving on Summit Road and you’ll find a couple of small carparks towards the top.
Where to Stay near Mount Buller
Looking to stay the night before or after your hike? There are accommodation options open during the green season at Mount Buller Village itself, otherwise, you can find more affordable choices down towards Mansfield. Check out some of these options:
- Apartment K2 06: A fully self-contained four-bedroom apartment in Mount Buller Village with mountain views.
- ELM Riverside Accommodation – Merrijig: Just 30km down from Mount Buller, they offer self-contained two bedroom apartments with an outdoor pool.
- Mansfield Apartments: Studio apartments right in Mansfield town, with a kitchenette and balcony.
- High Country Holiday Park: Caravan park in Mansfield with camping sites, double rooms, cabins and cottages.
- Delatite Hotel: This pub right in Mansfield town has basic rooms for budget prices, some sharing bathrooms and some private ensuite options.
Looking for a budget camping option? You can camp for free at Carters Mill Campground, just off Mount Buller Road before Mirimbah. There’s a toilet there and space for tents, camper trailers and small vans. Though it’s not overly flat. We free camped in Mirimbah at the trailhead for the Klingsporn Bridle Track (see Wikicamps entry).
Hiking Essentials for Mount Buller
Mount Buller Day Hikes
Here are all the day hikes to do at Mount Buller, including shorter options up to longer, more challenging trails. Whether you’re only visiting for the day or have more time up your sleeve, all of these trails will provide some beautiful views.
Mount Buller Summit Nature Walk
- Distance: 4.5 km loop
- Time: 1.5 hours
- Difficulty: Moderate
This is certainly a must-do for everyone who visits Mount Buller in summer. The Mount Buller Summit Hike takes you to the highest point of the resort area at the summit of Mount Buller at 1,861 m. It’s best to park on Summit Road near the Arlberg Hotel, as this is where the walk begins.
Across from the small carpark and hotel, you’ll see a track leading to a wooden shelter, this is the start of the walk. Follow the trail around past the chairlift and reservoir until it meets up with the summit carpark (the closest carpark to the summit if you want the shortest walking option).
Then, follow the track to your right leading straight up to the summit. This is the steepest part of the whole loop but it’s only short. You’ll reach the summit fire hut, where you can take in the incredible panoramic views of the Australian Alps and the Mount Buller Ski Resort.
You have to head back down the steep hill to the carpark and then continue the loop to your right which takes you around the slopes and below another dam. There’s then a little ascent back up towards the Arlberg Hotel again, which you reach once the trail joins back up with Summit Road.
You can also add a side trip to Little Buller, mentioned below.
- Distance: 7.5 km return
- Time: 2.5 hours
- Difficulty: Moderate-hard
A far less visited little peak near Mount Buller, Little Buller is easily accessible from the village area, making it a challenging but good hike to do. You can either add it onto the Mount Buller Summit Loop, or do it as it’s own hike. We decided to complete it as its own stand alone hike, as I’d already down the Summit Loop on a previous visit.
Little Buller walk begins from the Village Square carpark, although it’s not very clear when you’re there where to go. Maps.Me (or a similar offline maps app) helps a lot here, as we had to check it a few times to make sure we were right.
From the carpark, walk along The Avenue. Now, you can either follow this to the end and then jump onto the trail, but we cut through some chalets off The Avenue and found the trail from there. The trail to follow at first is called Family Trail and it travels along the back of the chalets on the south side of the resort.
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At the end of this trail, you have to turn left onto the wide gravel management track. This heads steeply down the slope to an intersection, then you have to turn left again onto a vehicle management track called Whiskey Creek Trail. This descends quite steeply as well, until you get down to a saddle where the skinny walking track to Little Buller is signposted heading to your left. This climbs a rocky spur up to Mount Little Buller.
The view from here is stunning, looking across to Mount Buller and over towards The Bluff, and other incredible peaks and ridgelines in the distance.
We returned the same way, with a leg and lung burning climb back up to the carpark. But you can make this a loop, by returning back down the skinny walking track to Whiskey Creek Trail and then turning left to continue up to the Summit Nature Walk. Otherwise, turn right and head back the same way to Village Square.
Read next: The Ultimate Day Hike Packing List
Klingsporn Bridle Track
- Distance: 9 km (one way)
- Time: 3 hours
- Difficulty: Moderate-hard
An old stockman’s route, the Klingsporn Bridle Track is an opportunity to discover how the early adventurers managed to make it up to Mount Buller. In the late 1800s, the Klingsporn Track was the only way for people to reach the summit area, as the road was not completed until 1972. Today, it’s maintained as a bit of history and a challenging hike to go up or down.
Tip: Walkers can hitch a free downhill shuttle with Blue Dirt from Buller Village to Mirimbah – perfect if you plan on hiking up Klingsporn Track. This depends on when the shuttles are running, which are more reliable on weekends in summer. Call to confirm.
We had two vans, so we decided to car shuffle and only walk the trail one way going down from Mount Buller to Mirimbah. At Buller, we parked near the Arlberg Hotel on Summit Road, as the start of the walk heads off from the Mount Buller Summit Nature Walk.
There is a sign at the wooden shelter that indicates Klingsporn Bridle Track to your right. However, after this, it becomes a bit ambiguous as there are so many Mountain Biking Trails crossing all over the slopes. We used Maps.Me a lot to get us down towards Burnt Hut, where things a much more clear. At Burnt Hut, veer left and you’ll reach the bottom of Bonza chairlift. There’s a management track going right, but don’t take that. You need to continue left onto the Klingsporn Bridle Track.
From there, it’s much easier to follow as it heads down, down, down through the forest to Mirimbah. It’s a pretty well-worn trail considering we didn’t think it would be used all that often. You’ll eventually pop out at the picnic area opposite the Mount Buller Entry Gates.
Hint: We free camped in our vans at the picnic area in Mirimbah at the trailhead (see Wikicamps). There are toilets across the road near the river.
Delatite River Trail
- Distance: 8.5 km (one way)
- Time: 2.5 hours
- Difficulty: Moderate
Of the Mount Buller hikes, this gives you less mountain views, but nice variety as you walk through the forest and along the river. This is also a shared bike trail, so expect a lot of mountain bikers on weekends.
The walk takes you from Mt Buller to Mirimbah Park or vice-versa. From Mount Buller Village, you can park and access the trail at Box Corner on Mount Buller Road. Walk through the storage compound and follow the signs to the Delatite River Trail. At Mirimbah, the trailhead is in the lovely green park on the river, where there’s a playground, toilets, and picnic tables.
Along the way you’ll cross the river 12 times on log bridges, which are perfect opportunities to get down to the river to cool off on a warm day. Similar to Klingsporn Track, you can car shuffle or hitch a ride with the Blue Dirt team if you only want to walk one way.
We started from Mirimbah and just walked a section of the trail out and back.
Mount Stirling Loop
- Distance: 14.5 km
- Time: 4 hours
- Difficulty: Moderate
In my opinion, this is the best hike at Mount Buller. Although, technically it’s over at Mount Stirling, but close enough. This takes you up to Mount Stirling summit at 1,747 m and also around to multiple High Country Huts, through beautiful snow gums. It’s surprisingly not overly difficult, so it makes for a great hike for beginners.
The walk starts and ends at Telephone Box Junction (TBJ), at the start of the 4×4 touring route, the Circuit Road. There’s a carpark there and the dirt road to reach it from Mirimbah is 2WD accessible.
It’s recommended to do this loop anticlockwise, which is what we did, although it wouldn’t really matter whichever way you choose to do it. From TBJ, you have to first walk on the Circuit Road to your right for a short bit, before turning off it on your left to Baldy Loop and then turning right onto Bluff Spur Trail.
This is a steady climb up to Bluff Spur Hut, a nice rest spot before getting to the summit. From there, walk through the intersection, with West Summit Trail on your left and Stonefly bike track on your right. You’ll soon walk through a gate and then take a sharp left onto Howqua Gap Trail, a management track.
This then leads you past the summit. To actually reach Mount Stirling summit, you have to take the short side trail for 150m to your left where there’s a trig point. I also recommend taking the short side trail to your right as well, for a different view and a closer look at the famous snow gum tree (the only tree on the entire summit), recognised by the National Trusts of Australia’s Register of Significant Trees (yes, it’s a thing).
Then, continue the loop on the Howqua Gap Trail until the Clear Hills track intersection, then turn left through the gate to GGS Hut. From there, it’s more straight forward as you follow the Summit Trail past King Spur Hut and to Cricket Pitch Shelter.
From there, you have a couple of options. Some trail notes have you turning left onto Upper Baldy Trail and cutting across back to TBJ that way. However, we decided to continue on Summit Trail down from Cricket Pitch Shelter to King Saddle Shelter on the Circuit Road. It’s not that much longer and offers a nice return via another hut. From the King Saddle Shelter, we could have just walked back along the Circuit Road, but we decided to cross the road and head up on the Hut Trail to Razorback Hut, a popular horse riding camp. The trail then continues down to TBJ on the Circuit Road. Phew!
Mount Buller Overnight Hike
If you’re looking at completing an overnight hike, then the walk out to Craigs Hut from Mount Stirling is highly recommended. While most people drive out to the iconic High Country hut on the Circuit Road, I think the overnight walk there makes it all much more rewarding. This is an easy hike to navigate and would be perfect for a first-time overnight hike, but I’d still recommend good fitness as it’s deceivingly tiring.
Read next: 10 Tips for Your First Overnight Hike
Mount Stirling and Craigs Hut Circuit
- Total distance: 21 km
- Difficulty: Moderate
This overnight hike takes in the Mount Stirling Loop hike mentioned above, and adds on an out and back side trip to Craigs Hut. While the 21km walk could be completed in a day if you left early from TBJ, I highly recommend doing it as an overnight hike. While you could camp at any of the huts on the Mount Stirling Loop, it’s much better to camp close to the iconic Craigs Hut, to witness the sunset or sunrise there (it’s also halfway on this hike, so it makes more sense too). Here are my track notes:
Day 1: Telephone Box Junction to Craigs Hut via Mount Stirling Summit
Distance: 11 km | Time: 3 hours | Ascend: 653 m | Descend: 433 m
I’m not going to repeat everything I wrote above on the Mount Stirling Loop hike, as it’s literally the exact same. It’s safe to leave your car at Telephone Box Junction (TBJ) overnight, which is what I did. From there, I followed the same loop mentioned above up to Mount Stirling summit.
Just after the summit, as you continue on the Howqua Gap Trail, you’ll come to the Clear Hills track intersection. On the summit walk, you turn left through the gate to GGS Hut, but on this hike, you turn right onto Clear Hills Track to Craigs Hut.
Then, you just simply follow Clear Hills Track for 4km all the way out to Craigs Hut. This is a 4×4 track, so if you’re there on a weekend, be aware of cars coming along. There’s a couple of very steep sections at the start which are slippery to walk down, so hiking poles are handy there.
The track descends steeply for a bit, then rises again, before heading down again. It’s surprisingly quite tiring. As you come up towards Craigs Hut, you’ll reach an intersection, the carpark and hut are to the left and down to the right is the free campground.
There’s no camping permitted at the hut itself. I checked out the campground, which is just a big clearing area. I decided not to camp there though and camped in the bush, on the Clear Hills Track just before Craigs Hut. You’ll see spaces there where people have camped before.
I highly recommend heading back up to Craigs Hut though at sunset!
Day 2: Craigs Hut to Telephone Box Junction via
Distance: 10 km | Time: 2.5 hours | Ascend: 382 m | Descend: 580 m
The next day, I packed up my tent and just headed back the same way along the Clear Hills Track. At the top of the track, I turned right to GGS Hut. If you follow my track notes from the Mount Stirling Loop above it’s the same, as I continued down to Cricket Pitch Shelter, then King Saddle Shelter.
However, instead of going up to Razorback Hut, I just walked back along the Circuit Road to TBJ, because bad weather was closing in fast. Luckily, I got back to my van and down to Mansfield before the storm hit!
Things to Know About Hiking at Mount Buller
Serious dangers mainly come in the form of injury or snakes. Make sure that you carry a first aid kit, including a snake bite bandage, in case of emergency.
Water access is limited. Some of the huts on the Mount Stirling Loop have tanks, a couple were empty and a couple had a trickle left. You shouldn’t rely on getting water at all, even on the Mount Stirling and Craigs Hut Loop, so it’s best to carry enough for your intended hike.
I use a Sawyer Squeeze for water filtration in the alpine region.
Weather can change pretty quickly up in the alpine. The first day of my overnight hike to Craigs Hut was clear blue skies and warm, while the next day it was cold, windy and very foggy conditions. You should be prepared for all temperatures and weather.
Read next: How to Leave No Trace and Be Respectful in the Outdoors
Where to Hike Next?
If you’re looking for other nearby places in the alpine region to go hiking during summer, then check out my posts below:
Lake Cobbler and Mount Cobbler
Mount Buller to Lake Cobbler: 38 km or 1.5 hours drive via Circuit Road and Speculation Road (4WD only)
Lake Cobbler is a unique alpine destination that is often combined on a 4WD road trip with Craigs Hut at Mount Buller. Whether extending your trip or just looking for another weekend destination within the Alpine National Park, Lake Cobbler offers beautiful lakeside camping and the stunning hike up to Mount Cobbler and the hidden waterfall, Dandongadale Falls.
Read more: Camping at Lake Cobbler in the High Country
Mount Buffalo National Park
Mansfield to Mount Buffalo National Park: 200km or 2.5 hours drive
One of the most beautiful national parks in Victoria, Mount Buffalo is a must-see. The distinct alpine granite plateau is home to plenty of hiking trails, a bush campsite on Lake Catani, and swimming holes at the base of waterfalls. You can never get bored at Mount Buffalo, with so much to do and see there you can easily spend a few days.
It’s located northeast of Mansfield and Mount Buller, with a great drive via the Great Alpine Road to Myrtleford and Porepunkah, before climbing the steep road to Mount Buffalo.
Read more: Best Hikes and Views at Mount Buffalo National Park
Mount Howitt and Mount Speculation
Mount Buller to Mount Howitt Carpark: 63 km via Bindaree Falls and King Billy Track (high clearance 4WD only)
Mansfield to Mount Howitt Carpark: 210 km via Jamieson and Licola or 102 km via Merrijig and Howqua Hills (both 4WD only routes)
One of the most beautiful parts of the Alpine National Park is around the Howitt Plains, just southeast of Mount Buller. There’s some incredible hiking trails there, including the walk up to Mount Howitt, as well as the extended overnight hike across to Mount Speculation via the notorious Crosscut Saw.
From Mount Buller or Mansfield, it’s possible to reach Howitt Plains via some rough 4×4 tracks, with some like the King Billy Track requiring high clearance and previous off-road experience. For those with a 2WD, you’ll have to head all the way around to Licola via Heyfield and then drive up Tamboritha Road instead.
Read more: Exploring Mount Howitt and Bryces Gorge in the Alpine National Park