We enjoyed a visit to Lake Buffalo today, about 22km from where we are staying, to cool down.
Lake Buffalo is a Goulburn Murray Water storage on the Buffalo River, 24km south of Myrtleford. It lies at the foot of the western slope of Mount Buffalo National Park, and is a popular fishing, water skiing and picnicking venue.
Lake Buffalo was originally planned as a two-stage project. Stage one involved the construction of a 31 metre high and 600 metre long earth and rockfill embankment, with a gated primary spillway and outlet works located within the dam wall. This structure was completed in 1965, and created a storage with a capacity of almost 24,000 megalitres.
It doesn’t say on the official website, but I guess stage two never went ahead. There has been talk of expansion over the years, but nothing has come of it.
The water stored in Lake Buffalo is used to supplement flows in the Ovens River for irrigation and urban water supply. The dam initially supplied a thriving tobacco industry in the valley, however this has now changed to numerous vineyards.
The Federal Government bought out the tobacco industry, partly to end the infiltration of organised crime and tax avoidance through the manufacture of illegal chop chop.
The capacity of the storage represents only six percent of the mean annual flow in the Buffalo River.
When I was editor of the Myrtleford Times there was always talk of Lake Buffalo’s development potential for tourism.
It’s definitely an underrated site in that regard. I suspect Goulburn Murray Water is happy to keep it that way.
The facilities are a little rundown, but at least there are toilets available if you need them. The grassy bank hadn’t been mowed for a while, despite this being the peak of the January tourist season.
There were only eight or nine families there today and two boats on the lake, that we could see.
It is a lovely spot on a hot day.