Trip Report Donna Buang - Victoria

GS

Part of the Furniture
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May 20, 2004
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Living in the shadow of this beautiful mountain certainly has its benefits on a day like today when the temperature climbed into the 30s in the valley below. I drove up in the arvo and went walking for a couple of hours in temps 15 odd degrees cooler.

No sign of anything drying off up here


Always enjoy strolling around the forest






Climbed the tower


Bit hazy but still a great view


But it was the sort of afternoon to stay under the canopy of the tall timber




Probably the slowest 7.5km I've walked for some time, but I enjoyed smelling the roses
 

Beerman

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Meant to add, those mountain ash are special, being the worlds tallest hard wood trees ,we have some fantastic flora and fauna in our country, although places like Japan get xx meters of snow most years, the beauty of our mountain and forest areas are truly world class.
 

Slalom

A Local
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Some pics from this morning.
9D18D01C-2DBF-4889-9449-6755E50BBB97.jpeg
51C1B71F-6C75-47AE-B6FC-AA2BA9472F36.jpeg
BE8A0541-45A3-45CB-B49A-3A05BA604C6F.jpeg
829F2C49-C8EF-4A88-A4CF-9BCD63DE9B01.jpeg
C9A99C74-3B51-40D8-BF20-9E583958AB68.jpeg
 

Mister Tee on XC Skis

Not your average unconventional eccentric.
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I maaaay have plans to take my toddler to Donna Buang with his teeny snowboard and a pull reel this year. >.>
When there is snow at Mt DB,it is often very busy with people who have no idea how to drive in such conditions. There are other places to throw a snow ball in the Yarra ranges , such as Mt. Margaret which are lower on the numpty factor.
 

Tanuki

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I maaaay have plans to take my toddler to Donna Buang with his teeny snowboard and a pull reel this year. >.>
I did that with my now 5 yr old daughter over the last two years. So much fun.
 

nezumi

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May 28, 2009
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When there is snow at Mt DB,it is often very busy with people who have no idea how to drive in such conditions. There are other places to throw a snow ball in the Yarra ranges , such as Mt. Margaret which are lower on the numpty factor.
I did that with my now 5 yr old daughter over the last two years. So much fun.

We went up there in 2017 when he was 18 months old - had some fun doing some toboggan runs up there. It was busy, but not overly full. :)
 

Bogong

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I really like Donna and some of you are aware of the manifestation of that interest.
I like the way it blends eucalypt and beech forest.
I like that it produced a million tons of planks that built Melbourne and its complete recovery from timber harvesting
I like its past as Victoria's busiest ski resort before 1950.
I like that it gets enough snow to be interesting, but not enough to get huge crowds,
I like almost everything to do with the place. :)

I even like the kamikaze trees and their determination to destroy road signs.
Donna+Ben+Cairn.png
 

nezumi

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I really like Donna and some of you are aware of the manifestation of that interest.
I like the way it blends eucalypt and beech forest.
I like that it produced a million tons of planks that built Melbourne and its complete recovery from timber harvesting
I like its past as Victoria's busiest ski resort before 1950.
I like that it gets enough snow to be interesting, but not enough to get huge crowds,
I like almost everything to do with the place. :)

I even like the kamikaze trees and their determination to destroy road signs.
Donna+Ben+Cairn.png

My favourite day on Donna Buang so far was on the QB long weekend 3 years ago, when 3 mates and I rode from Lilydale on the rail trail, turning left onto Don Rd and up the back road to the summit.

Only 3 of us made it up Donna (and only two made it to the observation tower - I wasn't one of them, and went straight downhill after the end of the dirt road). One of the guys caught a stick in his gears about 2/3rds of the way up the climb, and had to turn around and begin the slow descent to Launching Place where he got a maxi taxi home.

Seeing snow on the ground around me as I rode up the mountain was ridiculously cool.
 

nezumi

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Continuing on from my adventure today with Mr 3 and Ms nezumi.

After being diverted from our intended destination of Lake Mountain due to a collision on Maroondah Highway, we decided to go to Donna Buang instead.

Google attempted to route us up the closed back road - well, that wasn't going to happen. Fortunately I know my way around this area well enough, and so we continued on via Don Rd to Launching Place, and then up Donna Buang.

Coverage was patchy at best, with the best spots being suspiciously located past the toilet blocks - these still had moderate cover. We took along Mr 3's snowboard, and so he had his first go sliding around on snow (instead of carpet). This was moderately successful - he was more interested in throwing snowballs and making a snowman.
 
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GS

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Whilst I would have preferred to be taking face shots at Hotham, there's something bloody beautiful about skiing through tall timber in a temperate rainforest....and all within a 10 minute drive from home!

I woke Sunday morning with a terrible case of FOMO, so many fantastic photos from the storm of the season made me all the more determined to get amongst it, and even though I didn't score a single turn all day, I did score some faceshots as snow fell from heavily loaded mountain ash trees.

A few pics...

After walking about 4km I started wondering if I was just a tad too optimistic about strapping the skis on, particularly as a few crazies had been thru on push bikes
ben1.jpg


The forest looked simply fantastic, trees and ferns heavily loaded
ben 2.jpg


ben4.jpg


ben8.jpg
ben9.jpg


For forays like this, one simply cannot beat double camber touring skis and old leather boots for smashing out the kms easily...well sort of. Those skis hadn't seen wax or snow for about 25 years, I've been keeping them for a day just like this and they didn't let me down.....25km and almost 700 VM later my legs are a different story though!
ben7.jpg
ben6.jpg


I absolutely love tootling through these moody forests when the clouds are down, everything is still, so atmospheric I didn't want to turn back.

ben11.jpg
ben12.jpg


Not a single turn but it would be up there with one of the best days on skis in my life, and once up higher I didn't see another soul, just loved it.
 

Tanuki

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Whilst I would have preferred to be taking face shots at Hotham, there's something bloody beautiful about skiing through tall timber in a temperate rainforest....and all within a 10 minute drive from home!

I woke Sunday morning with a terrible case of FOMO, so many fantastic photos from the storm of the season made me all the more determined to get amongst it, and even though I didn't score a single turn all day, I did score some faceshots as snow fell from heavily loaded mountain ash trees.

A few pics...

After walking about 4km I started wondering if I was just a tad too optimistic about strapping the skis on, particularly as a few crazies had been thru on push bikes
ben1.jpg


The forest looked simply fantastic, trees and ferns heavily loaded
ben 2.jpg


ben4.jpg


ben8.jpg
ben9.jpg


For forays like this, one simply cannot beat double camber touring skis and old leather boots for smashing out the kms easily...well sort of. Those skis hadn't seen wax or snow for about 25 years, I've been keeping them for a day just like this and they didn't let me down.....25km and almost 700 VM later my legs are a different story though!
ben7.jpg
ben6.jpg


I absolutely love tootling through these moody forests when the clouds are down, everything is still, so atmospheric I didn't want to turn back.

ben11.jpg
ben12.jpg


Not a single turn but it would be up there with one of the best days on skis in my life, and once up higher I didn't see another soul, just loved it.
Sensational. thanks for sharing. Did you happen on to any Lyre Birds doing their thing in the forest? Was the snow down to Cement Ck Boardwalk?
 
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Mister Tee on XC Skis

Not your average unconventional eccentric.
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Jul 29, 2015
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Melbourne, Lockdown-i-stan .
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Whilst I would have preferred to be taking face shots at Hotham, there's something bloody beautiful about skiing through tall timber in a temperate rainforest....and all within a 10 minute drive from home!

I woke Sunday morning with a terrible case of FOMO, so many fantastic photos from the storm of the season made me all the more determined to get amongst it, and even though I didn't score a single turn all day, I did score some faceshots as snow fell from heavily loaded mountain ash trees.

A few pics...

After walking about 4km I started wondering if I was just a tad too optimistic about strapping the skis on, particularly as a few crazies had been thru on push bikes
ben1.jpg


The forest looked simply fantastic, trees and ferns heavily loaded
ben 2.jpg


ben4.jpg


ben8.jpg
ben9.jpg


For forays like this, one simply cannot beat double camber touring skis and old leather boots for smashing out the kms easily...well sort of. Those skis hadn't seen wax or snow for about 25 years, I've been keeping them for a day just like this and they didn't let me down.....25km and almost 700 VM later my legs are a different story though!
ben7.jpg
ben6.jpg


I absolutely love tootling through these moody forests when the clouds are down, everything is still, so atmospheric I didn't want to turn back.

ben11.jpg
ben12.jpg


Not a single turn but it would be up there with one of the best days on skis in my life, and once up higher I didn't see another soul, just loved it.

Mag effing nificent!
 

POW Hungry

Old n' Crusty
Moderator
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May 28, 2000
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Whilst I would have preferred to be taking face shots at Hotham, there's something bloody beautiful about skiing through tall timber in a temperate rainforest....and all within a 10 minute drive from home!

I woke Sunday morning with a terrible case of FOMO, so many fantastic photos from the storm of the season made me all the more determined to get amongst it, and even though I didn't score a single turn all day, I did score some faceshots as snow fell from heavily loaded mountain ash trees.

A few pics...

After walking about 4km I started wondering if I was just a tad too optimistic about strapping the skis on, particularly as a few crazies had been thru on push bikes
ben1.jpg


The forest looked simply fantastic, trees and ferns heavily loaded
ben 2.jpg


ben4.jpg


ben8.jpg
ben9.jpg


For forays like this, one simply cannot beat double camber touring skis and old leather boots for smashing out the kms easily...well sort of. Those skis hadn't seen wax or snow for about 25 years, I've been keeping them for a day just like this and they didn't let me down.....25km and almost 700 VM later my legs are a different story though!
ben7.jpg
ben6.jpg


I absolutely love tootling through these moody forests when the clouds are down, everything is still, so atmospheric I didn't want to turn back.

ben11.jpg
ben12.jpg


Not a single turn but it would be up there with one of the best days on skis in my life, and once up higher I didn't see another soul, just loved it.
Epic, mate. Well done.
I don't know DB at all. What elevation were most of these shot at?
 
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Ijay

Addicted
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May 20, 2000
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"double camber touring skis" , that's all I've ever had!. Just don't get out enough these days.
Great that you posted this time, love it !!
 
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CarveMan

I Never Slice
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May 12, 2000
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Whilst I would have preferred to be taking face shots at Hotham, there's something bloody beautiful about skiing through tall timber in a temperate rainforest....and all within a 10 minute drive from home!

I woke Sunday morning with a terrible case of FOMO, so many fantastic photos from the storm of the season made me all the more determined to get amongst it, and even though I didn't score a single turn all day, I did score some faceshots as snow fell from heavily loaded mountain ash trees.

A few pics...

After walking about 4km I started wondering if I was just a tad too optimistic about strapping the skis on, particularly as a few crazies had been thru on push bikes
ben1.jpg


The forest looked simply fantastic, trees and ferns heavily loaded
ben 2.jpg


ben4.jpg


ben8.jpg
ben9.jpg


For forays like this, one simply cannot beat double camber touring skis and old leather boots for smashing out the kms easily...well sort of. Those skis hadn't seen wax or snow for about 25 years, I've been keeping them for a day just like this and they didn't let me down.....25km and almost 700 VM later my legs are a different story though!
ben7.jpg
ben6.jpg


I absolutely love tootling through these moody forests when the clouds are down, everything is still, so atmospheric I didn't want to turn back.

ben11.jpg
ben12.jpg


Not a single turn but it would be up there with one of the best days on skis in my life, and once up higher I didn't see another soul, just loved it.
Magic!!!!
 
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Tanuki

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Didn't see any Lyrebirds, only the tracks of some Wallabies and smaller animals.

Stayed well away from the main Donna Buang road, it was apparently chaotic
Yeah, my dad lives in the bush near Woori Yallock and said the road has been busy all week.
 

GS

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May 20, 2004
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Yeah, my dad lives in the bush near Woori Yallock and said the road has been busy all week.

Yep, it sees an extraordinary amount of traffic on weekends when there is a good cover. Both days this weekend it was closed at Cement creek until late morning as they cleared snow. I either drive up very early or walk up
 
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Bogong

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Magnificent stuff GS. :cheers: Lovely photos too.

I've been trying to work out where you were skiing. You were too low for Road Two which does see a few skiers on days like this, so judging by the road signs, perhaps you were on the Ben Cairn road?

I still have some old fashioned double cambered skis with half metal edges, so I may decide to replicate your ski tour.
 

GS

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Magnificent stuff GS. :cheers: Lovely photos too.

I've been trying to work out where you were skiing. You were too low for Road Two which does see a few skiers on days like this, so judging by the road signs, perhaps you were on the Ben Cairn road?

Yep, walked up from the gate until there was enough snow to ski. Was hoping to reach Donna Buang summit but too much walking at the start and breaking trail in softish snow is rather taxing for unfit old blokes! Probably fell about 4km short.....next time!
 
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Bogong

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Thanks GS.
I'm about to spend a few more days delving through dusty archives to tie up a few minor unresolved issues in my ski history of Donna, including rumours of a fifth ski club with a lodge on the mountain. So if anyone hears a story about the place from an old timer or sees a ruin in the bush, please let me know.

image-asset.jpg

Driving up Donna Buang in 1932.
 

piolet

Better make it three
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May 27, 2004
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in the cupboard covered in dust
Whilst I would have preferred to be taking face shots at Hotham, there's something bloody beautiful about skiing through tall timber in a temperate rainforest....and all within a 10 minute drive from home!

I woke Sunday morning with a terrible case of FOMO, so many fantastic photos from the storm of the season made me all the more determined to get amongst it, and even though I didn't score a single turn all day, I did score some faceshots as snow fell from heavily loaded mountain ash trees.

A few pics...

After walking about 4km I started wondering if I was just a tad too optimistic about strapping the skis on, particularly as a few crazies had been thru on push bikes
ben1.jpg


The forest looked simply fantastic, trees and ferns heavily loaded
ben 2.jpg


ben4.jpg


ben8.jpg
ben9.jpg


For forays like this, one simply cannot beat double camber touring skis and old leather boots for smashing out the kms easily...well sort of. Those skis hadn't seen wax or snow for about 25 years, I've been keeping them for a day just like this and they didn't let me down.....25km and almost 700 VM later my legs are a different story though!
ben7.jpg
ben6.jpg


I absolutely love tootling through these moody forests when the clouds are down, everything is still, so atmospheric I didn't want to turn back.

ben11.jpg
ben12.jpg


Not a single turn but it would be up there with one of the best days on skis in my life, and once up higher I didn't see another soul, just loved it.

10/10
POTY material
Thanks for sharing such wonder
 
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GS

Part of the Furniture
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Thanks GS.
I'm about to spend a few more days delving through dusty archives to tie up a few minor unresolved issues in my ski history of Donna, including rumours of a fifth ski club with a lodge on the mountain. So if anyone hears a story about the place from an old timer or sees a ruin in the bush, please let me know.

image-asset.jpeg

Driving up Donna Buang in 1932.

Your history of DB is a great read, very well written. I look forward to any additions.

The whole area is steeped in history, I have a book titled 'Mountains of Ash' and it is quite extraordinary the amount of timber tramways that were built on the slopes of DB, none of which aren't extremely steep!
 

Bogong

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Your history of DB is a great read, very well written. I look forward to any additions.

The whole area is steeped in history, I have a book titled 'Mountains of Ash' and it is quite extraordinary the amount of timber tramways that were built on the slopes of DB, none of which aren't extremely steep!
Mountains of Ash is an amazing and incredibly comprehensive book. I actually bumped into the book's author, Mike McCarthy at some historical meeting and offered to commission him to produce some decent maps for my Donna history, but 15 years after his book was published he still seemed to be a bit exhausted by the research and mapping that went into the book, so he politely declined. I'm still looking for someone to produce maps of that quality, but I suspect I'm stuck with the fairly average ones a mate and I produced.
 

slotele

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Jun 3, 2016
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So if anyone hears a story about the place from an old timer

just saw this, have talked with my 91 yo dad about skiing there in 1930's. He has some newspaper clippings and home movies. He skiied there, Buffalo & Feathertop in 30s and 40s. Will get his materials together if you want to have a look at them. His memory of that time is pretty sharp.
 
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Bogong

Part of the Furniture
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just saw this, have talked with my 91 yo dad about skiing there in 1930's. He has some newspaper clippings and home movies. He skiied there, Buffalo & Feathertop in 30s and 40s. Will get his materials together if you want to have a look at them. His memory of that time is pretty sharp.
What can I say, except thanks so much! Any memories or anecdotes of what it was like to be at Donna or Feathertop and even Hotham and Buller in the 1930s and 40s is exactly what I've been looking for.

If it's not too much trouble, it would be great to have a chat with him, I've interviewed a few people his age, so I know to be patient, quiet and not worry if they repeat themselves. However if that wouldn't be comfortable or convenient, then a look at the materials and any stories you can relay to me would be almost as useful.
 
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Snowy Joey

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Any on-ground reports from today or do we need to see what happens tonight?
Might take the niece up tomorrow morning.

Looks like they have had a fair bit up there.
Would be worth the trip if there's not too many other folks. Can he kaos on that road sometimes with folk that have never driven on snow + a pretty narly road. LOL
 

KylePee

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Feb 10, 2012
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Got turned back just after the turnoff yesterday - carpark apparently full. Facebook groups reported 10-15. We continued along Acheron Way, over to Marysville for lunch, then looped back past Lake Mtn turnoff. Found some slushies above 1000m ASL in a forest area, then later saw a few remnant patches over toward Lake Mtn. Was wet and misty so must have been some more around earlier
 

Bogong

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More woke than thou.
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Got turned back just after the turnoff yesterday - carpark apparently full. Facebook groups reported 10-15. We continued along Acheron Way, over to Marysville for lunch, then looped back past Lake Mtn turnoff. Found some slushies above 1000m ASL in a forest area, then later saw a few remnant patches over toward Lake Mtn. Was wet and misty so must have been some more around earlier
In addition to car parking near the lookout tower, there were three large car parks near the top, as well as the huge one at 10 mile. About 10-ish years ago, one of those car parks was closed off entirely and the lower of the remaining car parks seems to get little use. So I suspect that "The Powers That Be" were deliberately limiting the parking spaces at the top of Donna. During "the current difficulties" I suspect they are reducing numbers even more.
 
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KylePee

Cage rattler
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As well as car parking near the lookout tower, there were three large car parks near the top, as well as the huge one at 10 mile. About 10-ish years ago, one of the car parks near the top was closed off entirely and the lower of the remaining car parks seems to get little use. So I suspect that "The Powers That Be" were deliberately limiting the parking spaces at the top of Donna. During "the current difficulties" I suspect they are reducing numbers even more.
Yes, there is commentary from authorities to that effect
 

GS

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According to local FB group the queues of traffic through Warburton and up the DB road were a little nuts on both days. Might be time to close the road and install a cable car to the summit....will also be good for the mountain bike riders accessing the MB trails.
 
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