Circuit Road and Bindaree Road current conditions

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Circuit Road and Bindaree Road current conditions

Postby Drew » Wed 28 Mar, 2012 10:22 am

A group of us are planning on doing a 3 day circuit at Easter, starting from Upper Howqua Camping Area and taking in Helicopter Spur - Mt Howitt - Mt Buggery - Mt Speculation - Queen Spur.

The DSE website has Circuit Rd listed as closed to 2WDs. I just spoke to Parks Vic's Mansfield office and the ranger told me that in a 2WD I should be okay on Circuit Rd as far as Bindaree Rd, but not any further (although Bindaree is not listed as closed on DSE). This would leave us 10km short of our intended start/finish point. Has anyone driven this road recently in a 2WD (we'll be driving in a VW Golf and a Commodore)? Is it manageable? If not, any suggestions for a similar walk? I don't really want to just add 20km or road-walking onto a 3 day walk to make it possible...

Cheers,

Drew
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Re: Circuit Road and Bindaree Road current conditions

Postby iGBH » Wed 28 Mar, 2012 2:31 pm

Unless there has been significant flood damage recently, Bindaree will be perfectly fine in a 2wd. Not sure whether the Parks ranger was being over-cautious or whether there really has been flood damage. It is normally a very well formed gravel road.
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Re: Circuit Road and Bindaree Road current conditions

Postby Drew » Wed 28 Mar, 2012 3:07 pm

Thanks iGBH. When was the last time you were on Bindaree? There was a lot of rain in late Feb-early March, so there may well be flood damage.
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Re: Circuit Road and Bindaree Road current conditions

Postby Out_Walking » Wed 28 Mar, 2012 4:45 pm

Mm... I drove on Circuit Road/Bindaree Road to Upper Howqua Camp in mid February this year. I've got a 2WD and both Circuit Road and Bindaree Road were fine for my car and it doesn't have the highest wheel clearance going around (Mazda SP23). Bindaree is a little bit rougher, but not by much. Like you said, unless rain dramatically changed it in the last month I would think it would be fine. There's a blurb on my blog about the walk I did if you're bored. Oh yeah, all care and no responsibility regarding my advice about the roads:)
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Re: Circuit Road and Bindaree Road current conditions

Postby iGBH » Wed 28 Mar, 2012 6:03 pm

Drew wrote:Thanks iGBH. When was the last time you were on Bindaree? There was a lot of rain in late Feb-early March, so there may well be flood damage.


22 Jan, so before the floods.

I think you should be fine. If it turns out you cant get through, you can still do a very similar circuit walk starting from near King River Hut. A little bit of back-tracking along the Crosscut, but that is not necessarily a bad thing - its a beautiful location!
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Re: Circuit Road and Bindaree Road current conditions

Postby Drew » Thu 29 Mar, 2012 9:50 am

Thanks for that. I think we'll go ahead with the plan then unless someone on here advises against it. Sounds like Helicopter Spur is quite a climb - I might have to cut down the weight somehow!
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Re: Circuit Road and Bindaree Road current conditions

Postby Out_Walking » Thu 29 Mar, 2012 4:11 pm

Sounds like a good plan. You'll love Helicopter Spur (I think?!) I wondered what all the fuss was about until I spotted the first rock band :)
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Re: Circuit Road and Bindaree Road current conditions

Postby dplanet » Fri 30 Mar, 2012 7:09 pm

iGBH wrote:
Drew wrote:Thanks iGBH. When was the last time you were on Bindaree? There was a lot of rain in late Feb-early March, so there may well be flood damage.


22 Jan, so before the floods.

I think you should be fine. If it turns out you cant get through, you can still do a very similar circuit walk starting from near King River Hut. A little bit of back-tracking along the Crosscut, but that is not necessarily a bad thing - its a beautiful location!


Have planned walks in this area too:

A 3 day loop: King Spur - Mt Speculation (1st night) with water available at Camp Creek – Australian Alps Walking Track - Thorn Range with 2nd camp near King River south branch - Stanleys Name Spur.

And a 2 day loop: Howqua River - Howitt Spur - AAWT with camp at Hellfire Creek - Helicopter Spur

There’s no need for a car shuffle for these two walks. Regarding water available, check out with Park Ranger in charge (ref. Lost camera on Mt Koonika Track thread). Hope there won’t be any issue for 2WD to get to the start and/or the finish.

I am keen on updates. Thanks in advance.
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Re: Circuit Road and Bindaree Road current conditions

Postby stuart53 » Fri 30 Mar, 2012 7:52 pm

We did the Bindaree - Stanleys Name - Buggery - Queen Spur loop late in the season (April) a few years ago. There was no water from leaving the Howqua until we got well down the back of Buggery and then just some soaks. Camp Creek is more reliable. We camped on top of Buggery - it was a fantastic experience.
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Re: Circuit Road and Bindaree Road current conditions

Postby Stew63 » Sun 01 Apr, 2012 12:22 pm

stuart53 wrote:We did the Bindaree - Stanleys Name - Buggery - Queen Spur loop late in the season (April) a few years ago. There was no water from leaving the Howqua until we got well down the back of Buggery and then just some soaks. Camp Creek is more reliable. We camped on top of Buggery - it was a fantastic experience.


Sounds great Stu, hopefully I'll be up there this week hiking with the kids.

Drew and dplanet, I was up in that area about 2 weeks ago.

1/. The road down to the Upper Howqua camping area from Circuit Road was open and easily driveable with care down to the Upper Howqua camping area by 2WD. (ie. normal bumps and corrigations)
2/. The bridge across the Howqua River AT the Upper Howqua camping area still hasn't been fixed/replaced, signs indicated that the campsite across the river is closed - 'no pedestrian access'.
3/. The road from the Upper Howqua camping area down to Bindaree is open but was a bit sloshy (then) but still okay by 2WD if done slowly and cautiously.
4/. You won't get through/across the Howqua ford at Bindaree to the hut in a 2WD.
5/. Bluff Link Road is still closed to vehicles.

Hope that helps...
Cheers
Last edited by Stew63 on Mon 02 Apr, 2012 11:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Circuit Road and Bindaree Road current conditions

Postby Drew » Mon 02 Apr, 2012 10:12 am

Thanks for that Stew63, good to have word from someone who's been there so recently. Just to clarify though, you're saying that the bridge across the Howqua is closed, so while we'll be able to drive all the way to there, we'll have to either camp on the north side of the river, or cross the river on foot? And is the river okay to cross on foot if necessary?

Re water Stu53, we're planning to camp at Hellfire Creek on the first night, which I believe is a pretty reliable water source. So I guess we'll need to carry water for the climb up the spur, to last us until camp. Then on day 2 I guess we'll need to carry water for the day until we get to Camp Creek.

Looking forward to it - just hope the weather holds up! I'll try to post a trip report.
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Re: Circuit Road and Bindaree Road current conditions

Postby Stew63 » Mon 02 Apr, 2012 11:28 am

Drew, the vehicular bridge at the Upper Howqua camping area that leads across to the main camping area (from Bindaree Rd. area) to the southern side of the river there was washed away - not sure when. There's a big sign next to the remains of the bridge effectively banning both pedestrians, hikers, motorbikes and obviously vehicles from crossing the river AND stating that the main camping area (on the southern side ) is 'CLOSED'. However this is the same access track that leads to the start of Helicopter Spur! The river (at the time) was easily crossable on foot (ie. shallow) but with steepish banks. Drew, as a bushwalker accessing the Helicopter Spur track I can't see why you can't cross to access your walk - just cross 50m further up?

Cheers Stew :D
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Re: Circuit Road and Bindaree Road current conditions

Postby Drew » Mon 02 Apr, 2012 12:15 pm

Great, thanks a lot Stew.
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Re: Circuit Road and Bindaree Road current conditions

Postby dplanet » Tue 03 Apr, 2012 8:36 pm

Stew63 wrote:
stuart53 wrote:We did the Bindaree - Stanleys Name - Buggery - Queen Spur loop late in the season (April) a few years ago. There was no water from leaving the Howqua until we got well down the back of Buggery and then just some soaks. Camp Creek is more reliable. We camped on top of Buggery - it was a fantastic experience.


Sounds great Stu, hopefully I'll be up there this week hiking with the kids.

Drew and dplanet, I was up in that area about 2 weeks ago.

1/. The road down to the Upper Howqua camping area from Circuit Road was open and easily driveable with care down to the Upper Howqua camping area by 2WD. (ie. normal bumps and corrigations)
2/. The bridge across the Howqua River AT the Upper Howqua camping area still hasn't been fixed/replaced, signs indicated that the campsite across the river is closed - 'no pedestrian access'.
3/. The road from the Upper Howqua camping area down to Bindaree is open but was a bit sloshy (then) but still okay by 2WD if done slowly and cautiously.
4/. You won't get through/across the Howqua ford at Bindaree to the hut in a 2WD.
5/. Bluff Link Road is still closed to vehicles.

Hope that helps...
Cheers


Thanks Stew63. The above plan is in my walk list. Just discovered that map Buller-Howitt Alpine Area by Spacial Vision 2009 (Bushwalking), Scale 1:50 000, has so much to offer, in particular overnight walks from 2 to 3 days and a 5 days/4 nights AAWT.

It seems a reasonably fine forecast for Easter.
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Re: Circuit Road and Bindaree Road current conditions

Postby Drew » Tue 03 Apr, 2012 10:07 pm

Reasonably fine forecast for Easter you say? We're actually considering cancelling our walk if the forecast doesn't improve! Windy with snow for Monday!
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Re: Circuit Road and Bindaree Road current conditions

Postby dplanet » Tue 03 Apr, 2012 10:30 pm

My friend works on Tuesday; therefore, our plan is back on Monday. We will be up high near 1400m.
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Re: Circuit Road and Bindaree Road current conditions

Postby Drew » Wed 11 Apr, 2012 4:59 pm

The drive in on Bindaree Rd was a little nerve racking in parts, but we did make it in and out without any problems. I would definitely advise people in low slung cars to take it very slowly, and check conditions before going in. Heavy rain could make things a lot trickier.

Finding the start of the track to Helicopter Spur proved much more difficult than the drive in. We were using Glenn van der Knijff's track notes, but these didn't make it all that clear where to go. I'll do a trip report with details, but we ended up having to cut a day off the walk because we stuffed up the start and ran out of time to get to Hellfire Creek. For anyone planning to climb Helicopter Spur, the "closed 4WD track climbing south from the camp area" is right next to the washed out bridge. Cross the bridge and don't head left into the camping area, just veer right up the hill.
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Re: Circuit Road and Bindaree Road current conditions

Postby Out_Walking » Wed 11 Apr, 2012 5:33 pm

Finding the start of the track to Helicopter Spur proved much more difficult than the drive in


Oops...I should have mentioned that. The start is directly behind the toilet block at the Upper Howqua camp. I've got a GPX file for the walk up Helicopter Spur to Hellfire Creek for anyone who's using a GPS wants it...
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Re: Circuit Road and Bindaree Road current conditions

Postby Drew » Wed 11 Apr, 2012 6:21 pm

Well, now we have more incentive to go back!

There are actually two ways to the start. You can veer right straight after crossing the bridge (as I suggested above), or turn right just before the toilet. The two tracks join together. Neither one is obvious.
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Re: Circuit Road and Bindaree Road current conditions

Postby Drew » Mon 21 May, 2018 11:42 am

Resurrecting an old thread that I created years ago before my first visit to Helicopter Spur (been up it a few times since then!), just wondering if anyone has been in to Upper Howqua on Bindaree Road in the last little while? Planning to drive in in a Golf on June 2 (assuming Telephone Box Junction doesn't close until after Queen's B'day weekend) to do the Viking Circuit via Stanley's Name Spur.

Thanks!
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Re: Circuit Road and Bindaree Road current conditions

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Tue 29 May, 2018 8:07 pm

The track behind the dunny at the Upper Howqua camp site reportedly goes up to Picture point with scrub bashing involved. The Helicopter spur track goes from behind the information board as soon as you cross the upper Howqua river bridge. I am going up there in Spring once they open the roads.
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Re: Circuit Road and Bindaree Road current conditions

Postby JohnR » Mon 04 Jun, 2018 9:57 am

I did this walk on the weekend - up Chopper Spur and then down Howitt Spur.

Circuit Rd and Bindaree Rd are in very good condition. Just a few pot holes but easily done in a 2wd. The road up to TBJ from the gate is definitely softer - particularly in the corners. So would take it easy up to and down from TBJ.

As for the walk, Helicopter Spur track is very easy to follow. Found the way through the rock towers very obvious. A fair amount of snow from Picture Point - more so on the southern facing slopes.

Plenty of water everywhere.
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Re: Circuit Road and Bindaree Road current conditions

Postby Drew » Mon 04 Jun, 2018 5:20 pm

Thanks John. We were supposed to be going over the weekend (would have been camping tonight at Mac Springs perhaps) but had to cancel due to illness. Looks like we won't get a chance to go before road closures unfortunately. Surprised to hear that there's snow on the ground - we weren't there'd be any around.
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Re: Circuit Road and Bindaree Road current conditions

Postby neilmny » Mon 04 Jun, 2018 5:26 pm

I received an email from Mt Stirling last week. I believe that Circuit Rd will be closed at TBJ, Howqua Gap and the Razorback track from midday Friday 8th. June.
To get there you'll need to go in via Carters rd. and No.3 road and around the north side past Clear Hills track. Alternatively via the Howqua Track and Bluff Link Road.

http://www.mtstirling.com.au/latestnews180601.php
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Re: Circuit Road and Bindaree Road current conditions

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Mon 29 Oct, 2018 6:50 pm

I am now plotting my Nov. 2018 ascent of Helicopter spur. Is it actually the case that the right route starts from behind the information board at the Upper Howqua?
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Re: Circuit Road and Bindaree Road current conditions

Postby neilmny » Tue 30 Oct, 2018 2:46 pm

PCV, do you use a GPS?
There is a trace here https://www.trailhiking.com.au/howitt-helicopter-spur/
It seems to start on the right just after crossing the Howqua on the way into the Upper Howqua camping area.
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Re: Circuit Road and Bindaree Road current conditions

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Tue 30 Oct, 2018 7:01 pm

I don't have a GPS but could be persuaded to get one.I usually just use a map and compass.
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