Average gradient: 2.2%
Elevation gain: 943m
At more than 40km in length, the ‘climb’ from Omeo to Dinner Plain is a real test of physical and mental toughness. While it’s not uphill all the way — there are several long descents and flat sections throughout — there is enough tough climbing to make this a very challenging ride.
The climb to Dinner Plain begins on the main street of Omeo, at the intersection of the Great Alpine Road (B500) and Tongio Road.
The climb from Omeo to Dinner Plain ends at the entrance to the Dinner Plain Alpine Village.
At a glance
- A long, variable climb with many flat and downhill sections throughout.
- The first section of climbing begins at 1.9km and ends at 9.1km.
- Apart from a 500m section, it’s all downhill from 9.1km to 12.3km.
- There’s no significant climbing from 12.3km to 22.4km as you cross a wide plateau.
- The second section of sustained climbing is from 22.4km to 27km.
- The road is quite undulating from 27km to 35.1km but gradually uphill.
- The final 7km of the climb are largely uphill with a couple of flat sections.
While the road is uphill as you head out of Omeo, it flattens off soon after and it’s not until 1.9km after leaving town that you’ll cross Livingstone Creek and come face-to-face with the first section of sustained climbing.
For several kilometres you’ll wind your way through farmland at around 5-6% before some great views on the right-hand side of the road at 3.2km. At 3.4km you’ll bend sharply around to the left and the gradient increases to around 6-7% as the road follows the ridgeline.
At 4.6km you’ll get some brief respite from the climb with a 500m section that starts off flat and then heads downhill. At 5.1km the road heads back up at around 6-7% and 400m later the gradient increases slightly as you bend around to the left. The road flattens off briefly at 6km and 6.3km but when you bend around to the right at 6.8km the going gets a little tougher.
Looking over the guardrail on the left-hand side of the road you’ll be able to catch some terrific views down into Omeo. This next little section is one of the most challenging of the entire climb with the gradient increasing to around 8%. You’ll bend around to the left at 7.5km and 100m later, on the right-hand side of the road, you’ll pass the Mt. Kosciuszko lookout.
From 8.5km the gradient eases right off and at 9.1km you’ll find yourself on the longest downhill section of the ‘climb’. For 2km the road falls away sharply as it winds its way down the hill. At 11.1km you’ll be climbing at around 3-4% again but after just 500km you’ll be descending once more. This 700m downhill stretch is quite steep in parts, particularly at the bottom where you’ll be descending at -10% just before you reach Jim and Jack Creek.
At this point, 12.3km from Omeo, you’re into the undulating middle section of the ‘climb’. As you traverse the plateau you’ll start to get a real sense of just how remote this section of the road is. The road and the views open right up and it’s impossible not to feel quite small as you make your way slowly toward Dinner Plain.
For the next 10km the road is largely up and down, with many short uphill and downhill sections to keep you on your toes. There are some particularly nice views at the 17.3km mark and in fact, this wide, open section is probably among the more scenic parts of the ‘climb’.
At 22km you’ll pass the Cobrunga township which, despite being listed on most maps, is little more than a couple of houses by the roadside. There certainly aren’t any shops or obvious sources of water here so make sure you’ve got enough food and drink to last you to Dinner Plain when you set off from Omeo.
At 22.4km you’ll cross the Victoria River and find yourself face-to-face with some proper climbing once more. For most of the next 5km you’ll be climbing at around 7% as the road winds its way from left to right into the state forest. There are some great views on the right-hand side of the road after 25.8km and when you reach the 27km mark, the road begins to flatten off.
For the next 1.6km the road undulates quite a bit, with some flat sections, some short sections of climbing and a few downhills thrown in for good measure. At 28.6km the road drops away quite sharply for the best part of a kilometre and it’s not until 2km later, 30.6km from Omeo, that the more sustained climbing returns.
At 30.9km the lines on the road change from white to yellow — a good sign that you’re getting closer to the summit. For the next 4km or so the road is largely uphill, albeit at a mostly pedestrian gradient and with a few flatter and downhill sections thrown in.
After 35.1km you’ll begin another section of more-sustained climbing at around 4-5%. There are a few moments of respite in this section, including a brief flat section at 36.7km and a 400m descent which begins at 37.7km. As you reach the 38.1km mark you’ll notice there are now poles on the side of the road indicating to drivers in snow season where the edge of the road is — another good sign you’re getting close to the top.
The road flattens off at 39km before heading back up again with some nice views off to the right-hand side of the road. The road is flatter again at 40.9km and 400m later it’s slightly downhill before you begin the final 900m pinch at 41.4km.
After 42.3km you’ll reach the climb’s final crest and 100m later you’ll reach the entrance to the Dinner Plain Alpine Village on the left-hand side of the road.
The Dinner Plain climb begins in the small alpine town of Omeo, 400km north east of Melbourne. If you’re coming from Melbourne, Omeo is a little harder to get to than other alpine towns, given that it’s on the far side of the Victorian Alps. The most direct route is to take the Princess Freeway (M1) through Warragul out towards Gippsland. At Bairnsdale head north on the Great Alpine Road (B500) and follow it through to Omeo.
If you’re in Omeo and looking to do more climbing, the ride from Omeo to Falls Creek and back is roughly 150km long and takes in the challenging Back of Falls climb.
If getting through this long, challenging climb isn’t challenging enough, you could always compare yourself to other riders. The Strava segment for the Omeo to Dinner Plain climb can be found here.