Winter wonderland on Mt Donna Buang as winter sets in

The towering forests were frosted. Picture: JOE BUCKLEY

By Callum Ludwig

Winter has hit Warburton with a well-timed flurry of snow as we enter the chilliest months of the year.

The mercury only reached a high of 9.6, 9.7 and 11.3 on Monday 30 May, Tuesday 31 May and Wednesday 1 June respectively according to the Australia Bureau of Meteorology’s weather station in Coldstream.

Owner of Mountain Tucker (a hot food and drink van that sets up on Mt Donna Buang) Joe Buckley said the most spectacular thing is getting to see all of the changing faces of the snow and trees.

“You’re sitting in this most amazing place looking out at the most amazing scenery, and when big soft snowflakes fall on you, you feel really blessed to be there,” he said.

“Working in the middle of the week isn’t normal for me, over the last few years the snow has been falling on the weekends and now it’s coming on weekdays.”

Monday saw 10 centimetres fall before the 16 centimetres forecast for Tuesday turned out to be only 6 centimetres before a light dusting of a few more on Wednesday.

Mr Buckley battled through the bitterly old Tuesday after having some heater problems.

“Tuesday was bitterly cold, probably the coldest I’ve felt up there. The paraffin in our diesel heater was fogged by the cold, so it wasn’t working when it was minus four degrees in there,” he said.

“On Tuesday we were 700 metres down from the summit at the top car park, and the difference was amazing, it was snowing up there before turning to rain just a bit further down.”

A few minor incidents occurred on the slippery icy roads, but nothing worse than a few cars needing to be hauled out of the slight ditch on the side of the road. No damage or towing was a result.

Mr Buckley said a lot of people enjoyed the snow and his work in the van.

“It was a constant stream of customers to the van on Wednesday which was wonderful, and a lot of people enjoyed the snow reports I have been posting on Facebook. There were a lot of kids keen to try their toboggans and snow gear,” he said.

“I meet some really amazing people from such a variety of jobs, and if they’ve got time for a chat, you learn a few things. There are so many different groups of people and it creates a really multicultural mixing of visitors.”

More snow is forecast for the weekend after a couple of days without.

Owner and Founder of Warburton Adventure Company Sam Maddock said while winter is there off-season, people are keen to come out and explore opportunities in Warburton.

“Post-lockdowns, lots of people are still keen to come out to Warburton because of its proximity to Melbourne. Even though it’s a bit colder, we have the gear and equipment to facilitate an enjoyable experience,” he said.

“One of our mottos is, whether it’s our own business or personal travel, we always like to see people in the offseason because they get the place to themselves and get a real feel for what the locals get to live during the week.”

Warburton Adventure Company offers a number of year-round experiences like mountain biking out to the Redwood Forest, cave trips to Britannia Creek caves and abseiling sites. They also run a bus up to Mt Donna Buang in the snow season to run guided tours and ease parking congestion, as well as snowshoe tours from Mountain Victoria with a three-kilometre walk through the mountain ash along the ridge all the way up to the summit of Mt Donna Buang before descending back down to Warburton.

Mr Maddock said there is a real homely feeling to Warburton n the wintertime.

“We have a really good coffee culture, warm fires, and the opportunities to explore like a hike to La La Falls and Mt Donna Buang of course,” he said.

“Warburton gives a cosy vibe and you are so close to Melbourne but yet you feel like you’re so far away, and there was an eerie winter feeling being among a small pocket of snow gums at the top of the hill.”