Mt Buffalo Chalet - What's the current status?

Mister Tee on XC Skis

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Neoliberalism means that the govt doesn't believe in providing services if there's any chance at all of the private sector making a buck out of it. They do it better, cheaper, quicker blah blah.

The era in which the Chalet was built was the reverse.

Now we have the problem that a lot of money has to be spent with no guarantee of a profit. To ensure patronage the natural environment isn't enough - all these hairy types seem happy to stay in tiny tents, their own! that they bring with them!

Attractions have to be built. Some kind of theme and branding are necessary. Public goods have to be turned into private goods. A free view has to be turned into a chargeable one. That takes real entrepreneurship. You get the the license to build the skywalk, pay it off in 10 years and let the profits roll in for the next 15. Tough about the natural values.
This is why our natural wonders in our national parks must not become privatized. The goose that lays the golden eggs will soon be killed and sold off to KFC.
 

Xplora

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Now we have the problem that a lot of money has to be spent with no guarantee of a profit. To ensure patronage the natural environment isn't enough - all these hairy types seem happy to stay in tiny tents, their own! that they bring with them!

Attractions have to be built. Some kind of theme and branding are necessary. Public goods have to be turned into private goods. A free view has to be turned into a chargeable one. That takes real entrepreneurship. You get the the license to build the skywalk, pay it off in 10 years and let the profits roll in for the next 15. Tough about the natural values.
I do agree that money has to be spent and the risk is high but current tourist trends, particularly in the Nth East, are tending toward the soft bushwalker who is cashed up. These people like to feel they are a part of the natural environment (in a safe and secure way) and at the end of the day can retreat to comfort. The Chalet is ideally suited to cater for these people. Mt. Buffalo is full of soft walks and natural attractions which would be enough without a skywalk. The path walks around the Chalet offer great views and that old world charm would be lost if a fancy skywalk was built. I doubt Buffalo will ever offer reliable snow, enough to encourage people to book ahead for winter sports but there will be enough for winter snow play and that means families.

To be honest, I doubt the majority of hardcore, adventure seeking, hairy unwashed outdoor people who take their own tiny tent would bother too much with Buffalo. And that is just the ladies (don't you love pigeon holing people). Probably been there, done that and no need to do it again. I would be happy to give it up to the cashed up softies, within reason, to keep them away from wilder places. All I am suggesting is some commercial development, around the area which has already been commercially developed, would not take anything away from the existing natural features and provide for a greater variety of customer. Pretty simple, pay for the bed and the meal and the natural wonders are still free. I would have issue if the intent was to exclude those not staying from enjoying the walks and views.
 

Ziggy

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The rub is that the state won't spend the money so only the private sector can. There's been plenty of time for offers to be considered. So it seems pretty clear that it can only get a return by increasing visitor numbers and it will want some guarantees of that including long exclusive access. It has probably already said that Parks should build the skywalk which it will then operate. It will need to turn the Chalet into a boutique hotel - more exclusion. Selling ice creams won't cut it.
And I'm not a fan of rent-seeking nor of exclusion in our parks. CityLink in Vic is an object lesson in how rent-seeking works against users/consumers.
 
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Xplora

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The rub is that the state won't spend the money so only the private sector can. There's been plenty of time for offers to be considered. So it seems pretty clear that it can only get a return by increasing visitor numbers and it will want some guarantees of that including long exclusive access. It has probably already said that Parks should build the skywalk which it will then operate. It will need to turn the Chalet into a boutique hotel - more exclusion. Selling ice creams won't cut it.
And I'm not a fan of rent-seeking nor of exclusion in our parks. CityLink in Vic is an object lesson in how rent-seeking works against users/consumers.
I think we are all agreed that nothing will happen without a long lease and private money. No government (ALP or LNP) is going to front any money. You also have to give some incentive for private money to be spent. Costs will be higher with heritage value and that will create more impediments. Mecure has done some excellent work in this area. Its a 'Field of Dreams' thing in my view. There is also plenty of scope within the defined area to offer a variety of accommodation styles which includes 'boutique'. It may mean a few new buildings but again my example of what has been done at Jenolan Caves, on a very small footprint, would work just as well here. But if boutique is all you can get, isn't that better than letting it rot? At the moment nobody is able to enjoy it so that would make it very exclusive. The Hydro Majestic at Meadlow Bath has also gone through many changes (ups and downs), although not essentially in the National Park it is on the doorstep and shows people will visit for that experience of the old world charm and the natural environment.
 
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Ziggy

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I don't doubt something is possible but do question whether this is what our natural heritage should be about.

One way or another there will be a public cost with private benefit and that's an equity issue.

It will take Parks Vic energy and they're already unable to meet the environmental objectives of the Act.
 

skifree

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It's kinda hard to reconcile a guvment's willingness to provide $4mill for the feasibility (yes I know Feds not State) of a Power Station but not an alternative growth industry.
 
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Mister Tee on XC Skis

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It would seem that the Chalet at Mt. Buffalo is being allowed to slowly fall down. Demolition in slow motion by neglect with a few band aid measures to pretend that is not the actual case.
I would have to see the details about the "eco pods" but I am sceptical already. It sounds like some shite made up by marketing wallahs who have never XC skied in their lives let a lone bushwalked and camped at Mt. McLeod.
 

Stick

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You would hope that calling for Private Investment in a cafe to be based in the Chalet would mean some kind of improvement works into the Chalet
 
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Ubiquitous Steve

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The rub is that the state won't spend the money so only the private sector can. There's been plenty of time for offers to be considered. So it seems pretty clear that it can only get a return by increasing visitor numbers and it will want some guarantees of that including long exclusive access. It has probably already said that Parks should build the skywalk which it will then operate. It will need to turn the Chalet into a boutique hotel - more exclusion. Selling ice creams won't cut it.
And I'm not a fan of rent-seeking nor of exclusion in our parks. CityLink in Vic is an object lesson in how rent-seeking works against users/consumers.
Couple of Mr Whippy trucks what could go wrong?
 

skifree

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Piss off the stupid "glass sky walk" and just fix it up' I would go up and stay with my family in a heart beat,with all this "building" money being thrown around by Dan it would be well spent, unfortunately I won't be holding my breath :(
Send him a letter. Remind him it’s there and Vicco’s care about it.
 

snowgum

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It would seem that the 2020 October Federal Budget will allocate AUD$3.0 million to the Mt. Buffalo Chalet. The rest of the $$ 6.2 million for restoration of the Chalet will come from the State Budget.

Hazah! About bloody time both Govts. Chipped in to fix the ol gal!

I wonder how far $9m will go though?
 
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Mister Tee on XC Skis

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Hazah! About bloody time both Govts. Chipped in to fix the ol gal!

I wonder how far $9m will go though?
These iffy sounding eco pods are part of the plan. They sound like soft boy thingy glamping thingies for people who don't want to rough it in a tent in the Nat. park. Imagine doing that? None of us could imagine camping out in
nature. Perish the thought! [sic] :p.. They should just make the old Chalet as good as new and people can stay there instead.
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05...ash-injection-to-build-eco-pods-cafe/12266622
 

Billy_Buttons

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They have maintained Yarrangobilly Caves House very well...hopefully they will do same!

image.jpg
 

Xplora

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These iffy sounding eco pods are part of the plan. They sound like soft boy thingy glamping thingies for people who don't want to rough it in a tent in the Nat. park. Imagine doing that? None of us could imagine camping out in
nature. Perish the thought! [sic] :p.. They should just make the old Chalet as good as new and people can stay there instead.
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05...ash-injection-to-build-eco-pods-cafe/12266622
Not everyone is as 'hard core' as you and many older people can have comfort in nature but still enjoy the easy access Mt. Buffalo brings. As far as I recall, the pods were part of the Lake Catani plan and took over a few sites at the existing camping ground. Buffalo lends itself well to this sort of infrastructure and the type of person who would use it. It is family oriented as well. There is no exclusion in the plan (which was the case for the Falls to Hotham plan) so those who wish to camp rough at Catani can still do that. The addition of a renovated chalet will cover all bases on the mountain and inject some money into the area. So will the eco pods. In particular, comments like this 'They sound like soft boy thingy glamping thingies for people who don't want to rough it in a tent in the Nat. park.' can make you sound a bit of a BC exclusionist snob. National Parks are for everyone and Parks Vic even considers disabled access where appropriate. There is even a off road wheelchair available for people in some parts.
I am more of a comfort after nature sort of person and like to enjoy a nice meal and comfy bed after a hard walk and camp out. People enjoy nature in different ways and I think it is great to allow for that range of scope in a place like Buffalo.
 

nezumi

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Hazah! About bloody time both Govts. Chipped in to fix the ol gal!

I wonder how far $9m will go though?

It's not $9m, it's $6.2m in total, with $3m from federal funding and $3.2m from state funding.

Unfortunately it appears that most of this is being directed to the development of new cafe facilities in the chalet, rather than repurposing and refitting the existing facilities.
 

Mister Tee on XC Skis

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It's not $9m, it's $6.2m in total, with $3m from federal funding and $3.2m from state funding.

Unfortunately it appears that most of this is being directed to the development of new cafe facilities in the chalet, rather than repurposing and refitting the existing facilities.
It does not seem that the Chalet will actually be completely rescued from demolition by slow neglect. It seems to be a quick fix to fading tourist visitation numbers. Many wineries and other vested business interests in the NE area have made a lot of noise about creating "visitor bait " through artificial attractions.
Mt. Buffalo as a natural attraction itself is unique and extraordinary , year round. One should remain vigilant that the goose that lays the golden egg is not killed off to make room for tacky new shiny things that can be easily found anywhere else in suburbia .
 
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sbm_

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The Hydro Majestic at Meadlow Bath has also gone through many changes (ups and downs), although not essentially in the National Park it is on the doorstep and shows people will visit for that experience of the old world charm and the natural environment.

The Hydro Majestic is different in a few ways - it's just 5 minutes from a regional tourist town, which is itself only 2 hours from Sydney. I'm guessing they get the majority of their money from day visitors and evening visitors. I don't think that strategy would work as well at Buffalo.

Though I actually don't know much about the new Hydro - it's certainly a comparison worth looking in to, as a lot of people were sceptical it would ever be anything but a liability in the future.
 

Xplora

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The Hydro Majestic is different in a few ways - it's just 5 minutes from a regional tourist town, which is itself only 2 hours from Sydney. I'm guessing they get the majority of their money from day visitors and evening visitors. I don't think that strategy would work as well at Buffalo.

Though I actually don't know much about the new Hydro - it's certainly a comparison worth looking in to, as a lot of people were sceptical it would ever be anything but a liability in the future.
I stayed at the Chalet and had dinner. Great meal and it was packed. It can feed off Bright and Beechworth and fits right into the Tourism Nth East tourist drive. A big part of the attraction is the building and the history. A bit like the Hydro. Caves House another example. Old world charm and lots of stories. I don't see the distance being much of a bother given visitation to the neighbouring towns.
 

Chaeron

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Parks now calling for expressions of interest to run a year round cafe in the Lodge...

https://www.parks.vic.gov.au/news/2020/11/19/00/07/seeking-an-operator-for-mount-buffalo-chalet-cafe

“The first stage of the EOI is open from Thursday 19 November 2020 to Sunday 31 January 2021. Applicants are invited to clearly define their vision for the café. Short-listed stage one applicants will be invited to submit a full business case in stage two of the EOI. The café is expected to open in summer 2021/22.”
 
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2ESki

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It's not $9m, it's $6.2m in total, with $3m from federal funding and $3.2m from state funding.

Unfortunately it appears that most of this is being directed to the development of new cafe facilities in the chalet, rather than repurposing and refitting the existing facilities.
Oh FFS how much does it cost to furnish a bloody cafe :mad: fix the old dame up, if nec cut off the back siberia bit and get the rest of it fixed up, surely the local councils can chip in as well, it will increase visitor numbers , which means more spending in the area from tourists and local employment. Can't all these different muppets in government see this, no brainer in my opinion :headbang:
 

Chaeron

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Oh FFS how much does it cost to furnish a bloody cafe :mad: fix the old dame up, if nec cut off the back siberia bit and get the rest of it fixed up, surely the local councils can chip in as well, it will increase visitor numbers , which means more spending in the area from tourists and local employment. Can't all these different muppets in government see this, no brainer in my opinion :headbang:
Most of the money needs to go to consultants doing risk assessments, environmental impact assessments, tourist visitation projections, health and safety and asbestos removal advice and tourism and marketing planning, leaving not much over for the actual cafe fitting...:evil:
 

2ESki

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Most of the money needs to go to consultants doing risk assessments, environmental impact assessments, tourist visitation projections, health and safety and asbestos removal advice and tourism and marketing planning, leaving not much over for the actual cafe fitting...:evil:
Yeah I know, bunch of bloody leeches :(
 
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currawong

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the biggest issue is how to make the chalet pay it's way in future. they can throw a lot of money at it now, but how much will they need to keep throwing? i'd love to see the chalet operating again but I just can't see how.
if you were responsible for the funding decision, would you really think that the upkeep cost would be more important for the state than a host of other things?
hopefully at least a cafe can pay it's way and I induce them to invest a bit more.
 

Billy_Buttons

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the biggest issue is how to make the chalet pay it's way in future. they can throw a lot of money at it now, but how much will they need to keep throwing? i'd love to see the chalet operating again but I just can't see how.
if you were responsible for the funding decision, would you really think that the upkeep cost would be more important for the state than a host of other things?
hopefully at least a cafe can pay it's way and I induce them to invest a bit more.
Advertise it and they will come. It's pretty simple. It's a wedding setting heaven for starters.
 
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Mister Tee on XC Skis

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Advertise it and they will come. It's pretty simple. It's a wedding setting heaven for starters.
If we could stay on the hill at the Chalet for XC skiing when the snow is good then we 'd see punters turning up. I don't mind snow camping at the Lake Catani hut but that is not everyone's thing really.
 

wean

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Hi everybody. For some reason I haven't been getting any updates from the site - looks like the posts are fairly recent though so this section is still up and running. Went up to Buffalo a few weeks ago and saw the new 'skywalk' - thank goodness it's nowhere near as large as I thought it might be - it just extends over the rock to the right of Bent's lookout - the one I used to sit on when I worked there. Well, the chalet is still wrapped up at the rear with protective wrap and with the rotten cladding underneath it - at least there's some protection going on. Will be interesting to see what happens when the aboriginal group - if it does - take over the cafe, but that's only a a small proportion of the building. As the govt has demonstrated with this stupid virus lockdown (sorry for those who believe in it - try reading the Vic Ombudsman's report just released on the high rise lockdown) it certainly isn't acting in the public interest. As a result of the government's position and the Park's position, the place is still stuck between two granite boulders unfortunately...
 

chriscross

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"stupid virus lockdown"? Pardon? You getting on a plane to Europe or USA any time soon?
Look, I'm no fan of the way the situation on Mt. B has been handled (first experienced snow there in the 60's) but any comparison with the pandemic response is completely out of proportion and irrelevant to this thread. Express those frustrations somewhere else. Please.
 

wean

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"stupid virus lockdown"? Pardon? You getting on a plane to Europe or USA any time soon?
Look, I'm no fan of the way the situation on Mt. B has been handled (first experienced snow there in the 60's) but any comparison with the pandemic response is completely out of proportion and irrelevant to this thread. Express those frustrations somewhere else. Please.

I understand Chris. With due respect, I did not make that comment lightly. I've been studying the current virus situation very carefully and have received ongoing information from an experienced medic in the city since it began. I think you need to have a very close look at the actual figures - particularly the demographic graphs covering deaths over time, age and sex - if you can find them as most have recently disappeared off the internet for some unknown reason. In addition, you can check details on the North East Health, and Albury Wodonga Health Home facebook sites (not sure why they put them on here - you need to scroll down the pages). I was reading the Border Mail today regarding how businesses in north east Victoria (Bright area - the area closest to the chalet) had been affected by the bushfires and the latest crisis on top of this. As you probably know, Bright and other areas were evacuated early this year, which I think is the first time I can recall, even though a fire a few years ago came so close it cut the phone lines to the town. I was really concerned about the impact and necessity of the evacuation not only for the impact on local businesses who rely on this income every year, but also the immense disruption this caused to holidaymakers who really needed a long awaited break. In addition, mass evacuations put those involved at further risk due to possible traffic jams at a point at where a fire may not only have crossed the road, but in the worst case scenario CFA vehicles could have been delayed in getting through. I simply couldn't understand why the government ordered this, and found the move very disturbing. We all know that in the case of the chalet the govt refuses to act in the public interest and the evacuation raised further questions about its motives and competance in acting in the public interest. I probably don't need to remind everyone of the impact on the north east border area generally - again not only for tourism but business, employment, and the general day to day needs of people living here. I don't know if everyone realises that when the state govt created a border 'bubble', this fell five kilometres short of Wangaratta for no logical reason. This was of course corrected later, but you have to ask why this completely illogical 'error' occurred in the first place. Another Border Mail article only days ago revealed that a family holidaying just over the border - where they had holidayed for years from Victoria - found out about the sudden recent border closure purely by chance - the information should have been passed on to the caravan park they were in but apparently was not, and there have been numerous cases where this lack of critical information has been ongoing. It will take a long time for many n the area to recover from this 'double hit'- some will never recover.Just like the situation with the chalet (as we all know) there are effective methods of dealing with a situation like this and ineffective ways. The government has unfortunately chosen the latter.
 

Mister Tee on XC Skis

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"stupid virus lockdown"? Pardon? You getting on a plane to Europe or USA any time soon?
Look, I'm no fan of the way the situation on Mt. B has been handled (first experienced snow there in the 60's) but any comparison with the pandemic response is completely out of proportion and irrelevant to this thread. Express those frustrations somewhere else. Please.

We Victorians will be lucky to ski in Vic. without further dramas in 2021. One day when the coast is clear I will Nordic ski in Japan, Switzerland and Canada but until then, Mt. Buffalo is a top spot for XC skiing when the conditions are good.

Myrtleford is my home away from home really so I have a strong connection to the area.

Just fix the Mt. Buffalo Chalet properly FFS!!
 

currawong

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I understand Chris. With due respect, I did not make that comment lightly. I've been studying the current virus situation very carefully and have received ongoing information from an experienced medic in the city since it began. I think you need to have a very close look at the actual figures - particularly the demographic graphs covering deaths over time, age and sex - if you can find them as most have recently disappeared off the internet for some unknown reason. In addition, you can check details on the North East Health, and Albury Wodonga Health Home facebook sites (not sure why they put them on here - you need to scroll down the pages). I was reading the Border Mail today regarding how businesses in north east Victoria (Bright area - the area closest to the chalet) had been affected by the bushfires and the latest crisis on top of this. As you probably know, Bright and other areas were evacuated early this year, which I think is the first time I can recall, even though a fire a few years ago came so close it cut the phone lines to the town. I was really concerned about the impact and necessity of the evacuation not only for the impact on local businesses who rely on this income every year, but also the immense disruption this caused to holidaymakers who really needed a long awaited break. In addition, mass evacuations put those involved at further risk due to possible traffic jams at a point at where a fire may not only have crossed the road, but in the worst case scenario CFA vehicles could have been delayed in getting through. I simply couldn't understand why the government ordered this, and found the move very disturbing. We all know that in the case of the chalet the govt refuses to act in the public interest and the evacuation raised further questions about its motives and competance in acting in the public interest. I probably don't need to remind everyone of the impact on the north east border area generally - again not only for tourism but business, employment, and the general day to day needs of people living here. I don't know if everyone realises that when the state govt created a border 'bubble', this fell five kilometres short of Wangaratta for no logical reason. This was of course corrected later, but you have to ask why this completely illogical 'error' occurred in the first place. Another Border Mail article only days ago revealed that a family holidaying just over the border - where they had holidayed for years from Victoria - found out about the sudden recent border closure purely by chance - the information should have been passed on to the caravan park they were in but apparently was not, and there have been numerous cases where this lack of critical information has been ongoing. It will take a long time for many n the area to recover from this 'double hit'- some will never recover.Just like the situation with the chalet (as we all know) there are effective methods of dealing with a situation like this and ineffective ways. The government has unfortunately chosen the latter.
Can't be bothered addressing all the wrong thinking in here. I will point out one totally inaccurate statement. The ridiculous border bubnnlke boundary was set by nsw. Vic had no say in that. When vic introduced a border bubble in Dec, it included all the areas that had already been added to the nsw defined bubble
 
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