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The Great Gnome Hunt

Home > Melbourne > Fun for Children | Fun Things To Do | Outdoor | Quirky | Walks
by Jeni Wilson (subscribe)
Teacher educator and author of many teacher reference books. Amused by random ideas and loves random acts of kindness. Enjoys writing humour...seriously!Please see my Instagram: wilsonjeni
Published July 14th 2014
Sneaky, Evasive and Fun Loving Little Ones
It is well documented that about eight years ago, fun loving gnomes built their first house at Mt Buller to protect the mountain pygmy possums. They are very private folk who mostly come out at night. Privately, I think they might also be a bit daft as it's damn cold in the winter and it takes an extraordinary amount of time to rug up to brave the outdoors even in the daytime.

Walk, scavenger hunt, outdoor activity, family activity, physical activity, gnome hunting, gnome trail, Mt Buller
A helpful but elusive gnome

A few facts about gnomes*

Gnomes are about 15-30cm tall
Male gnomes usually wear a tool belt because they like to fix things (in my books all handymen deserve bonus points).
A gnomes' hat is very important to them. They get one as a child and keep it for their whole life so I assume their heads don't grow much – ouch.
Gnomes conduct a snow dance (much like a rain dance) to bring on lots of snow.
Gnomes love a joke, their friends, games and songs (they'd have to because there's nothing much else to do if you are snowed in!).
Gnomes can live up to 400 years old because of their healthy lifestyles except if they are set upon by their arch enemies - trolls and domestic cats (fortunately cats and trolls have more sense than to venture into sub-zero temperatures).

According to Mt Buller folklore, gnomes will only allow themselves to be seen if they know you are of good character and know you are looking for them. I find this insulting because I couldn't spot any of them in all that snow. I hope they didn't hold all that cursing against me.

So if you consider yourself lucky and resilient grab a gnome trail map and see if you can find the gnomes that roam around the Mt Buller Village. While you are on the hunt you can find other great sights around the village. I rather liked the outdoor art even if the kids didn't appreciate the creative arrangement of the skis. They just thought that it was an odd spot to store your skis while getting a bucket of chips across the road.

Walk, scavenger hunt, outdoor activity, family activity, physical activity, gnome hunting, gnome trail, Mt Buller
Maybe you need binoculars

The clock Tower in the Village Square is where you start. If you look up you are meant to find the first (weather) gnome. I am easily discouraged because he was clearly out shopping for another winter scarf. Luckily the other supposed gnome sites are all within close proximity so that children can walk the trek without too much nagging. Actually they were less discouraged than me. I needed results.

Apparently, if you follow the map and you will find gnomes under rocks, in trees, near statues, up ladders and indoors. We were staying across the road from the police station and for five days I was determined to catch that safety gnome out but he was also too evasive. I must say that at this point my feeling towards these fun loving gnomes was less than honorable. I was imagining them smirking when we went in search again. I'm not competitive, but I wanted my reward! Why else would anyone spend so much time in blizzards with running noses and freezing red cheeks?

Walk, scavenger hunt, outdoor activity, family activity, physical activity, gnome hunting, gnome trail, Mt Buller
This is the police station!

It must be easier when you are not surrounded by metres of snow and constantly reaching for a tissue. If you answer all the questions in the booklet and find all the gnomes head to the post office for your congratulations sticker. Good luck to you!

Walk, scavenger hunt, outdoor activity, family activity, physical activity, gnome hunting, gnome trail, Mt Buller
Keep looking

If you really get into the spirit at the finish the gnome trail you can purchase a hot chocolate and gnome cookie for $8 at the Whitt –Ski Club of Victoria and other cafes. Oh, I should be so smug! Numerous souvenirs such as gnome mugs are available at many outlets.
P.S. I didn't see any mountain pygmy possums either and lost the marathon monopoly game!
P.P.S. The sculptures are much easier to find in the park!

*Adapted from
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Your Comment
Cool Gnome facts; haven't heard of them before.
by Bryony Harrison (score: 4|12626) 2331 days ago
What a great article. I really enjoyed reading it and had a few smiles at your failure to find a gnome. Thank you for sharing a great idea.
by CassandraJoy (score: 3|1021) 2326 days ago
I love the idea of a gnome hunt in the snow. This is now on my To Do List
by eve.c (score: 2|302) 2331 days ago
Well done for coming second.
by Bryony Harrison (score: 4|12626) 2320 days ago
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