Earlier this year, I went with a friend to Mt Donna Buang. It is a mountain that is part of the Yarra Ranges National Park. Mt Donna Buang is perfect all season around, with tobogganing and snow play during the winter and BBQs, picnics and mountain walks during the warmer months. Also during the warmer months, you will find many cyclists in the area. It’s a wonder to me how they can cycle up such a tall mountain. There fitness levels must be beyond comprehensible.
Mt Donna Buang is about 90km east of the CBD, and takes about 1hr 45 min to reach. The drive to the mountain summit is fairly straightforward; I didn’t even have to use a GPS. The drive home was another story told. If you scroll to the end of the post, you will know why!!
Majority of the drive is along Warburton Highway. What are some fun things to do whilst driving along Warburton Highway? Why not visit the Blue Lotus Water Garden. Read my review of this beautiful oriental style garden here.
Some slight detours may include strawberry picking at Strawberry Springs, or stone fruit picking and farm tours at Rayner Orchards . Of course, there are numerous wineries to stop by at too if you fancy some wine tasting and fine class dining ;p
Mt Donna Buang summit is 1250 meters high and features a 21 m lookout tower. When I saw the imposing metal tower, I thought, whow, I can’t wait to climb it and see what awaits me at the top.
I wasn’t let down by the spectacular views of the Yarra Valley region and the Great Dividing Ranges. Just as a fun fact, did you know the Great Dividing Range is actually a whooping 3,500km in length and spans from Queensland, to Sydney and finally, down here to Melbourne <- a local in the area told that to us and suddenly I felt like a tourist in my own country haha 😀
Mt Donna Buang is surrounded by a forest of alpine ash and mountain ash trees. When we were there, it was closing in to golden hour, and the forest looked absolutely stunning, with the perfect amount of golden rays shining through the alpines trees onto the grass. It felt like I was inside a medieval fantasy story.
Going up the mountain is one thing, coming down is another. You can either follow the same path down, or you can continue along the road which saves time by cutting across the mountain to the other side of the Yarra Valley (eg. Maroondah Highway, Heasville etc..). The downside to this is that for around 20km, the road turns entirely gravel and suddenly, all you see is a mass of gravel dust flying up to your windows. I felt pained having to drive on such a nasty road. Luckily, the tyres were fine, and none of those horrid flying pebbles damage the paint on my car. But still, it was a nasty experience.
Note to self, and note to others reading this: I definitely do not recommend continuing along Mt Donna Buang Summit Rd (ie. where the blue dot is on the map below). In fact, this road is closed for majority of the year, especially in winter. Aside from the gravel, the road is also immensely narrow, windy and turns are sharp. If the speed limit was 60km, I found myself going at 30km. For one, I didn’t want to damage my car if I went any faster and for two, I didn’t want to get a surprise from a turning car.
Taking about turning cars, if you have two cars coming in opposite directions, one car must stop and give way to the other. I found myself stopping at least 5 or 6 times to give way. The car besides me, would ever so slowly and cautiously drove pass. Rarely do you ever see people drive so slowly.
So after visiting Mt Donna Buang, do not continue along Mt Donna Buang Summit Rd because you will be in for a nasty surprise. Just go down the way you came up is my message to you all 😀
- Mt Donna Buang is a snow covered mountain during the winter, but perfect for hikes, sight seeing and picnics/ BBQs in the warmer months.
- The drive up to Mt Donna Buang is easy, but when coming down, do not cheat and cut across the mountain because the road is entirely gravel and very nasty. Just follow the same road you used to come up when going down.
- The 21m lookout tower was a highlight with beautiful views of the Yarra Valley and Great Dividing Range.
- I would recommend Mt Donna Buang as a secondary activity. Having it as the main activity for the day won’t take that long, unless you plan to hang around and BBQ there.
- Rating 7/10