Warburton to Mt Donna Buang

My other half never comes on any walks with me because “they’re all long, uphill and steep.” I’m starting to think he might be right…

I’m pretty sure I had some pleasant routes in mind, but as usual, picked the steepest option, which was Mt Donna Buang. You can walk straight up through the forest from Warburton, starting at Martyr Road. You don’t need a map. There’s a sign at the start of the trail that says 12km return, 7 hours.

I don’t know if the trail is always like this, but it was very muddy and slippery. It was pretty slow going at the start. There are quite a few fallen down trees and although it’s a well formed track, it seems a little overgrown at times. I heard many lyrebirds, but only saw one. I’m surprised there were no leeches, but maybe it was too cold for them.

It was quite cool and I knew that soon I’d be in the clouds.

After the first few kilometres it actually gets easier. There are even some flat and downhill bits after the radio tower near Mt Victoria!

I really liked this bit, as it starts to have a bit more of an alpine feel with that short green grass and less dense trees. And it’s always very pretty being in the clouds.

It was definitely getting colder.

I realised I should have put more effort into my attire. My shorts/tshirt/arm warmers combo was not quite warm enough, and I should have been bothered to find my gloves.

At the top there’s a lookout tower. On a clear day I imagine the views would be fantastic.

I’m not a fan of out and back routes, but that was all this was. I could have added a little loop at the top to Mt Boobyalla, but I didn’t feel like it. So since it was freezing cold, there was no stopping, just time to head back down.

I felt very slow going down, especially the last slippery bit. I wasn’t wearing my most grippy shoes, but these still have a good amount of grip for most jobs. The lugs just collected the mud so I was basically walking around with heavy shoes with a nice smooth mud sole. I felt like I was trying to walk down a slide while wearing socks. Yeah, I slipped over quite a few times.

My watch said this route was a bit over 15 km return, it and took me 4 hours 40 mins. Elevation was around 1074 m, and with the undulating bit up the top, total elevation gain was 1426 m 🙂

Click to enlarge

10 thoughts on “Warburton to Mt Donna Buang

  1. Greg

    Great post and nothing beats the mist in the trees. I’ve been hoping to do this walk for a while, but I can’t see myself knocking it off in under five hours like you did!

    1. Anna Post author

      My walking pace is unbelievably slow, and there wasn’t much Cliffy shuffle happening here either. I reckon you’d easily do it in 5 hours with photo stops.

  2. Tzu-yen

    Went on Aug 16. Similar conditions as your pics. First section is steep and muddy. Before we cross the road the ferns were quite thick and in your face. The second part was fantastic and alpine. Great hike!

    Wonder if you have doe Mt Juliet?

    1. Anna Post author

      Fantastic! I’ve been meaning to go again this year, but the weather has always been bad when I’ve been available.

      Haven’t done Mt Juliet yet. Have you? I don’t have a map for that area so I’m not even sure where to start there.

  3. Frosty

    Going to try Mt Donna Buang soon, as I’ve been up and down My Dandenong a few times now via the Glasgow Track and am looking for something higher which will be more of an all-day expedition. I’ve just returned from 3 weeks walking in the English Lake District and have never walked in Australia before. The experience is so different, being among the trees more-or-less all the time. Don’t like slippery muddy tracks, that’s for sure, so have been waiting for a few consecutive days of dry warm weather.

    1. Anna Post author

      Walking around the lake district sounds AWESOME Frosty! Where are you from? It’s only a little muddy at the bottom of Donna Buang, and we haven’t had much rain in the last few days so I reckon you’d be right to head up there any time 🙂

      1. Frosty

        Hey, sorry it took so long to reply! I’m in Lilydale. I’ve been up and down Mt Dandenong half a dozen times since October and have also been out on the Warby Trail lots in the past few months. I’m heading back to the UK for a holiday and more walking in June. Will make sure I get Donna Buang under my belt soon.

  4. Ryan

    Hi Anna,
    Went up Mt Donna this weekend with a couple of buddies, and had a great hike at a good pace. First half of the hike was tough, as you said, but thanks to your gloves call, we were all warm enough. Did it in 2 hrs with a stop, and the return trip was quite funny , bit like a slip and slide at the bottom near the barb wire fence.
    We are heading up MT Juliet in the next month, and have found Strava, the most helpful tool, in addition to great blogs like yours for preparation.
    I keep fit by the Glasgow Grind X2 a week and a 50km bike ride, and i found the Warbi to Mt Donna, medium to hard… 8pm the night of completion i was in bed and happy about it:)

    Thanks for sharing Anna, and will keep in touch of our Mt Juliet climb..

    PS saw lyar birds, but didnt see the leeches till it was too late


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