• Length: 26.7km

  • Duration: 2 days

  • Grade: 4-5

  • Style: Circuit

  • Start: Upper Howqua Camping Area

  • End: Upper Howqua Camping Area

  • Location: Alpine National Park

  • Closest Town: Mansfield

  • Distance from CBD: 246km

  • State: VIC

  • Latitude: -37.1737058

  • Longitude: 146.5620724

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2WD Access

4WD Access

Public Transport

Bitumen Road

Gravel Road

Steep Road

Winding Road

Speed Bumps

Vehicle Ford

Entry Fee

Large Car Park

Small Car Park

Accessible Parking

Accessible Toilet

Public Toilets

Drinking Water

Untreated Water

Picnic Shelter

Picnic Table

BBQ Facilities

Campfire Pit

Camping Area

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Alpine National Park...

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Concrete Path

Timber Boardwalk

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Sandy Trail

Rough Trail

Undefined Trail

Prams & Strollers

Manual Wheelchair

Motorised Wheelchair

Bicycle Trail

Mountain Bike Trail

Historic Rail Trail

Dog Friendly

Urban Walk

Coast & Beach

Historic Lighthouse

Waterfalls & Lakes

Rainforest Walk

Goldfields & Mining

Heritage Walk

Aboriginal Art

Alpine Region

Alpine Huts

Exposed Ledges

Rock Scrambling

Steep Terrain

Bush Bashing

River Crossings

Scenic Viewpoints

Well Marked

Drinking Water

Untreated Water

Fishing Spots

Swimming Spots

Overnight Campsites

Trail Running

Horse Riding


Howitt and Helicopter Spur is a 26.7km, grade 4-5 circuit hike, located in Alpine National Park, Victoria. The hike should take approximately 2 days to complete.

Hike Summary

This spectacular Howitt and Helicopter Spur alpine hike visits both Mount Magdala and Mount Howitt traversing one of the best sections of the long-distance Australian Alps Walking Track. Helicopter Spur, the route used to reach the treeline, is one of the steepest and most challenging climbs in the region. Except for Helicopter Spur this walk follows generally good walking trails and offers magnificent views across the heart of the Victorian Alps.

Day 1 (10km)

Water is plentiful at the start point of this hike but it is essential that you carry enough ( I recommend 3 litres) to last through to the overnight camp at Hellfire Creek.

Day 2 (17km)

You will need to carry enough water (I recommend 4 litres) for all of this day, although the final few km are along the Howqua River.


If you are not comfortable driving on rough gravel tracks then it might be an idea to car pool.

About the region

The Alpine National Park is a national park located in the Central Highlands and Alpine regions of Victoria, Australia. The 646,000-hectare national park is located northeast of Melbourne. It is the largest National Park in Victoria, and covers much of the higher areas of the Great Dividing Range in Victoria, including Victoria's highest point, Mount Bogong at 1,986 metres and the associated subalpine woodland and grassland of the Bogong High Plains. The park's north-eastern boundary is along the border with New South Wales, where it abuts the Kosciuszko National Park.

Getting there

From Mansfield follow the Mount Buller Road for 32km to Mirimbah. Turn left and continue up the Mount Stirling Road for 9km to Telephone Box Junction. Keep right on Circuit Road and continue over Howqua Gap to the Bindaree turnoff (60km from Mansfield). Follow Bindaree Road down to the Howqua Valley. Turn left and after 200m you will arrive at the Upper Howqua Camping Area.


This is a challenging hike that should not be underestimated. Helicopter Spur is steep and rocky requiring exposed scrambling in places. Some people may find that ropes will be useful. Some navigational experience is required.

Be Prepared

This hike requires that you have a sufficient level of equipment (in good working order), fitness and self-reliance. It is vital that you take personal responsibility for ensuring you are prepared! If you are not sure, contact the hike leader prior to the hike.

GPX File

Total distance: 26727 m
Max elevation: 1734 m
Min elevation: 840 m
Total climbing: 1711 m
Total descent: -1711 m
Download GPX File

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26 thoughts on “Howitt and Helicopter Spur (26.7km)

  1. We describe that walk in our book Take A Walk in Victoria’s National Parks. Not the easiest walk in the park. You can also visit the area while doing the Australian Alps Walking Track. We describe that walk in Take A Walk in Kosciuszko National Park

  2. We did this a few years ago, with a variation of going up the slope of Mt Buggery. It was tough and the route on the map was a very old track with many fallen trees requiring one to go under or over each tree, which was slow going. The climb up Mt Buggery was tough, but great views. We camped below the top and then climbed up to the top in the disappearing morning mist which was spectacular. Crosscut saw with its views to the left and right was amazing. We took lunch a little past Mt Howitt, overlooking Mt Buller and beyond, was well worth it. Mt Howitt was a little disappointing in itself.

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