Terrys Avenue

2nd category climbLength: 3.2km
Average gradient: 6.9%
Elevation gain: 225m

View from the Terrys Avenue climb.

Introduction

Don’t let the average gradient fool you: this is one of the most challenging climbs you are likely to do. Rising sharply out of the township of Belgrave, this climb has several sections in excess of 20% and will push you to the limit, regardless of your cycling ability.

The start

The Terrys Avenue climb starts at the main roundabout in the township of Belgrave, 40km east of Melbourne.

Start of the Terrys Avenue climb.

The finish

The Terrys Avenue climb concludes at its intersection with the Mount Dandenong Tourist Road (C415).

End of the Terrys Avenue climb.

At a glance

  • A very challenging short climb with a couple of painfully steep ramps and two brief descents.
  • The first 700m of the climb have an average gradient of 14% with a maximum slope of 20%+.
  • From 700m to 1km the road is flat and from 1km to 1.6km the road actually descends.
  • From 1.6km to 3km the gradient stays above 10% with a maximum grade of 20%+.
  • From 3km to 3.1km the road is slightly downhill before a final 10%+ ramp to the top.

Climb details

A warning to recreational riders – while this climb is short, it is extremely steep in parts and will prove very challenging for all but the strongest climbers. The average gradient might be only 6.9% but this climb contains one 700m section at 14% and a 1.6km section at 11%. If you are going to attempt this climb, be mindful of your own ability and consider whether the satisfaction of reaching the top is worth the pain of getting there!

It’s more or less impossible to ride the Terrys Avenue climb without having an idea of what’s ahead you. From its start at the main Belgrave roundabout, Terrys Avenue shoots up at an impossibly steep angle and disappears around a right-hand bend. This initial pinch is in excess of 20% gradient but luckily it only lasts for 50m or so.

After the initial pinch, the road settles into a comparatively pedestrian gradient of around 11% which is maintained until the 500m mark at which point the road kicks back up. For 100m the gradient sits at a punishing 15% before flattening out at 700m, giving you a chance to rest.

After 300m of nearly-zero gradient the road, now called Belgrave-Ferny Creek Road, actually descends. The road falls away for 600m, reducing the climb’s average gradient to something completely unrepresentative of the climb itself. At the 1.6km mark the road begins to climb again, doing so at a gradient beyond 10% for several hundred metres.

But it’s at the 2.2km mark that things start to get even more challenging. At a gradient of around 20% the road winds its way through the Dandenong Ranges National Park, the beautiful scenery most likely ignored in the face of lung-busting steepness. After 2.5km of climbing a more modest gradient of 10% returns but by this stage you are likely to be wishing for the end of the climb.

2.8km into the climb, the gradient increases again, punishing you until a slight crest in the road at the 3km mark. For 100m the road descends gently before bending left, climbing with a gradient of greater than 10% for the final 100m to the Mount Dandenong Tourist Road.

The descent of Terrys Avenue should be treated with respect. While speeds in excess of the speed limit are well and truly possible down here,  at least one rider has had a nasty fall on this descent in recent years and all caution should be taken to avoid further incidents.

Profile

This profile was created using Bike Route Toaster. To see the full version of this profile, complete with elevation details, click here.

Location

The township of Belgrave is found at the end of Burwood Highway (C412), 40km east of Melbourne’s CBD. If you are riding from the city, Burwood Highway starts at the intersection of St. Kilda Road where it is called Toorak Road.

This climb can also be attempted after descending from the Mt. Dandenong Tourist Road. The point where the Mt. Dandenong Tourist Road and Terrys Avenue intersect is 6km north-east from Upper Ferntree Gully and 6km south-west from Olinda, both along the Tourist Road.

Times

If getting to the top of this climb isn’t challenging enough for you, you could always try to set a good time as well. To add your time to the list, visit Cycle2Max. A Strava segment for this climb can be found here.

37 Comments

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  1. Dave / Apr 9 2014

    I’ve been eyeing this one fearfully for years and finally plucked up the courage to tackle it on the weekend. The first bit past the police station was easier than it looked although that may be due to the momentum I was carrying from the roundabout at the bottom but after that it is horrific – looking ahead and seeing the road snake up at a terrifying angle is not nice. The worst part for me though, was the bit after the flat, which although not as steep as the first pinch, just seems to go on forever. Kudos to anybody who takes on this beast and makes it to the top!

  2. Tim / Dec 26 2013

    Nailed this one this morning to cure a Xmas hangover. Did it on a 21kg Surly Pugsly fat bike. In the saddle all the way, one advantage of riding a bike built for sand is it has a few gears road cyclists can only dream of! No way I’m going down it though even with the extra stability of 4″ tyres and disk brakes, that’s a mad descent.

    Great site Matt!

  3. Jamie / Dec 11 2013

    My Brother called me up about Terry’s last week after driving up it and he said I should give it a go. He warned me about it so I jumped onto your site to have a read and thank God I did. Without some insight into what lay ahead, it would have made it much, much harder. What an absolute beastie!!! I have a MTB background and have been up many a wheelie inducing climb on the dirt in the past but this is by far the hardest road climb I’ve ever done by such a long way its not funny. Needless to say, the legs and lungs were burning but in addition, my arms and shoulders were also worked extremely hard from wrenching on the bloody bars so hard. Never knew you could have such an upper body workout on the bike before. In other words, Terrys will work every part of your body to its maximum. What a climb.

    If I were to come down it, I’d be taking every possible precaution and would be doing it at sparrows fart to reduce chances of any cars coming out of driveways etc as an incident of any kind while descending would be catastrophic.

  4. Orlando / Oct 11 2013

    I was housesitting for a friend in Belgrave Heights, so I decided to go for a ride up Mt Dandenong and I plotted the most direct route … big mistake. I didn’t check the elevation at all and I headed out. It was murder, and I had no idea when the suffering would end… Also, it was a wet day, so once I got part of the way up I was absolutely petrified of turning around and descending, so I was forced to keep going. One of these days I will do it again!

  5. Don / Oct 4 2013

    I’ve ridden past and avoided this climb for a long time, but your climbing map and this entry inspired me and my mate to include it in our weekly ride together this morning. Tough alright. My friend is a lot stronger than I am and he zig zagged in parts. I didn’t, because I had my ‘back of Falls’ casette on, so 34 x 32. Given suitable gears you can get up anything. We then proceeded with our usual ride, across to the Emerald Bakery and then to Monbulk and up the Wall and on to the summit. The Wall seemed easy after Terrys!

    Thanks for your work, a great resource.

  6. Tim / Aug 25 2013

    Love the site Matt. It’s been invaluable since I started on a road bike a few months back with a plan to do Amy’s Gran Fondo and then the 3 Peaks ride next year. Went up Terry’s today after doing The Wall and a couple of the other climbs on your site and “lung-busting steepness” hits the nail on the head, but the pain was definitely worth it. Another one ticked off the list!

    • Matt / Aug 25 2013

      Thanks Tim, I appreciate your kind words. Great work on conquering the beast that is Terry’s!

  7. Pete / Feb 11 2013

    After 2800m vert & 5hr in the Dandenongs that was hard. We had to do it before DD13 to know what we were getting ourselves into. Steep sections felt harder that Baw Baw but no where near as long. Maybe that was due to fatigue at that time. I wouldn’t do Baw Baw after 2800m climbing.

  8. Gavin Dore / Feb 5 2013

    How funny is that! We parked at Icy Creek and rode from there, good warm up before the last 6.3kms.

  9. Dave / Feb 5 2013

    Gav Dore! You taught me at Rowville! Small world. Thanks for the advice. 34/24, nice. I guess all those Great Victorian bike rides have paid off!

  10. Gavin Dore / Feb 5 2013

    If you made Terry’s ave you will do Baw Baw, it’s just a bit longer. I used a 34/24 on both and lived!

  11. Dave / Feb 5 2013

    Took on this bad boy after doing the Devil’s Elbow and let me tell you; there are no photos that do this monster justice! I went up with a 34/27 and was out of the saddle a lot of the time. Looks like I’ll be on my toes the whole way up Baw Baw!

    Can anyone that has done Terry’s & Baw Baw offer me some advice? If I made it up Terry’s with a 34/27 will I be okay on Baw Baw? Only one way to find out I guess!

  12. Dave Owen / Jan 1 2013

    Went up Terry’s yesterday after riding up thru Kallista from Black Rock.

    It’s been nearly 20 years since my old coach use to take us up there,
    and with an extra 15kgs- and stupidly a 39/23 gear- it blew me to smithereens.

    Believe the hype because for anyone but the elite this climb is going to give you a hiding!!

  13. David / Jan 1 2013

    Wow I can’t believe I found “MY” mountain on this site!! I moved to just around the corner from Terry’s avenue 12 months ago, and this climb was my goal from the start. So with a crappy mountain bike I went up, again and again, after a long hard day at work, mainly off the saddle, and stopping quite a bit. 12 months and a good mountain bike later, I can do it sitting down (except the very start) and no breaks. I still love this climb, however generally bypass the first stage due to car danger.

  14. TRiathlete_tom / Sep 24 2012

    Did this for the first time on Saturday, wasn’t too bad after getting in a rhythm, at least I had 20 gears instead of last time when I had 18 and didn’t even get to the flattened out section before it descends. Hard limb though especially when doing the others around the dandenongs as well

  15. Damian / Sep 23 2012

    id only decend Terrys during Summer or late Spring. I’ve hit 103 km/h – make sure you’re wearing a good pair of sunglasses, as a combination of watery eyes and/or getting an insect in your eyes at those speeds, is a one way ticket to the local hospital. I raced A grade in the Canberra Milk race years ago and hit my fastest ever speed of 113km/h in the bunch down Fitz’s Hill, and still had to use the brakes, as i was drafting up too fast behind a few guys in front of me. Another little speed record i set with a training mate of mine, was down Olivers Hill in Frankston, which was 85 km/h in a 60 km/h zone -fun watching the reaction of motorists as we passed them…I think these days id be about 20-30% slower as age and common sense takes over youth.

  16. Mark / Jul 9 2012

    great site and catelog of rides, 2 things about Terry’s Avenue climb, yes it’s steep and very tough, but climb ends up being something you just want to get out the way quickly. It’s too short and steep to be of any climbing value apart from the obvious brute force required to get up it. I much prefer longer climbs even Baw Baw, 1/20, Wall where you can settle into climb and enjoy the pain in chunks.

    Descending, watch out, last time we desceneded with mates there was mould/moss on road and one guy slid straight through round-a-bout. I had to bail out on side grass, tyres had no grip and it was a very slippery steep surface. So be ‘very’ careful descending!

  17. David Rafferton / Jun 24 2012

    The first time I did Terrys I was at my lightest (about 84kgs) and I went out for a late training ride, forgetting I had my crit gearing on: 11-23 and 39-53.

    After riding from Montrose up Mt Dandenong, across the top and down Devils Elbow, I rode up to Belgrave and on a whim decided to do Terrys Ave.

    Yeah.. that hurt. I was starting to zig zag in sections and at one point I was doing 5kph but I did make it with 39-23.

    Oh yeah.. after doing the first half of Terrys, I went down Sandels Rd and back up The Serpentine before finishing off the Terrys climb. I must be a glutton for punishment! LOL

  18. Rob / Apr 21 2012

    OUCH! – The 20% Parts did hurt. Happy to say I knocked this one off today on the way to Mt Dandenong. Thought my legs were going to lock up doing one revolution at a time in the steep bits. Thanks for listing it. Now looking for the next challenge…..

    • Matt / Apr 21 2012

      Great stuff Rob. Have you climbed Mt. Baw Baw before? It’s a good challenge!

      • Rob / Apr 23 2012

        Hey Matt,
        Haven’t done Baw Baw as yet and look forward to the challenge. I am 1/2 way through your list so far.
        Cheers
        Rob

        • Matt / Apr 23 2012

          Great to hear Rob!

  19. Gavin Dore / Apr 15 2012

    I’d like to thank my neighbour Larry for showing me Terry’s Ave today but I can’t. What a monster of a climb, not in length but in gradient, it hurt!!! Another one ticked off the bucket list!

  20. Victor / Mar 11 2012

    Having recently done Terrys Ave, followed by Mast Gully Rd several weeks later, I’d recommend you add a write up for the latter on this site. Although the grade on Mast Gully Rd varies, allowing a few breathers here and there, its maximum grade seems to be more than for Terrys Ave / Belgrave-Ferny Ck Rd. I rode up it yesterday, and my legs still hurt (more than usual, anyway :)

  21. Damian / Mar 10 2012

    also try out “The Serpintine” – its a small road that runs off the mid way point of Terrys Ave -i cannot remember the road it starts off, but it essentially runs parrallel with Terrys Ave. Its about 25% and dont try using anything less than a 39 x 27.

    • David / Apr 5 2012

      Constant Hairpins on The Serpentine too. It joins Sandells Rd. Great road for sure, the ride might be a little short though.

  22. Thad Roos / Jan 18 2012

    What a great description of this brutal Climb. I recently used it to wake the old legs up and start getting fit for the alpine Classic. It was a lot harder than I remember as I used to be quite fit… Luckily I ran a 39/27 and just made it. I have concluded and 39/28 would be better. Love the site also. Used it last summer to get info on Hotham as I had never ridden it before and the info was invaluable.

    • Matt / Jan 18 2012

      Thanks Thad. Your kind words are much appreciated. :) (And yes, Terrys Avenue is all kinds of brutal!)

  23. Sam / Dec 20 2011

    My mate and I did the descent, simply due to so much breaking I managed to completely wear out my rear brake pads and in-deed you can hit maximum speeds in the 90s. But I am looking forward to going up Terrys ave sometime soon.

    P.S. Love the website.

    • Matt / Dec 21 2011

      You won’t be looking forward to it once you start climbing it! ;)

  24. Damian / Sep 18 2011

    hi guys, great web-site. I’d suggest that you start making reference to suggested gears to use. Yes, i can here you say, ‘it all depends on the level of rider’, but on average most people will use within 1 or 2 cogs, of the suggested gears. – i.e. gear ratios for Mt Baw Baw are critical in getting the best result, without busting a muscle. It will also help people to be better prepared on the day and tune their bike according the the gradient.

    • Matt / Sep 19 2011

      Hi Damian, thanks for your suggestion. I’ll take it on board. :)

  25. Madmike / Aug 17 2011

    Love this site! My nana used to live on this hill and had many cars/ motorbikes end up in her front yard! So yes take extreme caution when descending and if you are a little mad like me then make sure you have a very well maintained bike before you fly down at 109.6……

  26. Derek / Aug 5 2011

    I must admit I have only been down, not up. The time I did go down I managed to do 98km/hr and end up in the bushes. I was okay but unfortunately for my mate ended up in hospital with a broken collarbone. Pay Terry’s the respect and ride up it before you ride down and you won’t be tempted to break the land speed record any time soon!

    • Matt / Aug 6 2011

      Yikes Derek. Sounds horrible!

      But you’re completely right. This hill needs to be respected – on the way up and on the way down!

  27. Rob Crowe / Sep 9 2010

    Great survey of the monster that Terry’s really is… We were required to ride ‘repeats’ of this hill in 1993 for the VIS training to national AUS squad selection under coach Dave Sanders; there really was no rider who could just ‘ride’ up this hill easily (although Lloydy does now). It requires plenty of strength training & fitness on lesser gradients before a successful attempt at Terry’s, unless you’re happy to ‘stand-still’ on the pedals &flex your triceps for every stroke. There are steeper climbs in nearby Upwey (such as Mast Gully Rd.?!@*^#?!?) but Terry’s is the best of the ‘training climbs’ that don’t force riders to WALK. Thanks to ‘The Climbing Cyclist’ for great details!

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