On Boxing Day 2019 I dove out to Mount Buffalo to visit the Cathedral, a spot I've been super keen to see for a few years now. The drive from Melbourne is around 3.5 to 4 hours, and wanting to catch sunset, I chose to stay at Elm Lodge in Bright. The Lodge was a nice little home away from home with all the basics covered. They texted me the door combination in the morning so I was all set to enter my unit whenever I arrived. Even though the trip should only take that long, I do love a drive through the country looking out for interesting spots or abandoned buildings. The drive takes the same route as the Great Victorian Rail Trail, an old train route that has been converted to a cycling track. There were some great old buildings along the way that used to service the railway, unfortunately most of them were on private property, and it would have taken too long to stop and get permission to enter the farmland. I do have them noted for next time!
At around 4:30pm I drove up the mountain to first visit the Horn, the highest point of the mountain, with gorgeous 360 degree views. I got there at 5:40pm, officially it's half an hour up and half an hour down, but it took me 15-20 minutes each way. When there's shots to be had, I'm motivated!
The landscape was beautiful, but I was there for the Cathedral, so after taking all in, and getting back down, it was off to the Cathedral car park, a 10 minute drive away.
To get to the Cathedral, you need to take theCathedral and Hump walking track, which first takes you to the base of the Cathedral, and then up to the Hump. The Cathedral is pretty amazing, and you may find yourself taking shots every three steps! Especially when you get there and the light is PERFECT. I was there around 6:40pm, with sunset at 8:30pm. The light was already becoming magical, especially as there is so much smoke haze in the air from some of Australia's worst bushfires in years. Something terrible can also lend some beauty.
Some of the best shots that I've seen are taken from the boulders running up the side of the Hump, just up from the base of the Cathedral. This is off the walking track a little, but it's really close and very easy to find your way back. The shot up top was taken from this spot.
I wanted to get something a little different, particularly as the light was just fantastic! A pity about a cloudless sky, but you make do with what you have at the time.
The climb up to the top of the Hump took maybe 20-30 minutes, and is quite steep. At the very top there is a rock stack that you can climb onto if you are very confident and mindful of your safety. I would not do this in anything other than dry conditions. I set my tripod up on one of the giant rock pointed down at Cathedral rock and waited for the light to change as the sun dipped below the mountains.
Getting down again after the sun goes down is not trivial in the dark and you need to be prepared. If you wander too far from the path at the top of the Hump like I did, you may struggle to find your way back in the dark. A good head lamp is essential, and please make sure people know that you will be going up and what time to expect you back. You can still get some amazing shots from the path, so please be cautious!