Average gradient: 6.3%
Elevation gain: 479m
The climb from Tawonga South toward Bright is the steeper, but shorter of the two approaches to the Tawonga Gap. Climbing straight away from the turn-off, this climb is quite steep in parts and features a terrific descent upon reaching the summit.
The climb to the Tawonga Gap from Mt. Beauty begins at the intersection of the Kiewa Valley Highway (C531) and the Tawonga Gap Road (C536). This intersection can be found 4km north-west of the township of Mt. Beauty.
The climb to the Tawonga Gap concludes, unsurprisingly, at the Tawonga Gap. The conclusion of the climb is designated by the yellow ‘KOM’ line painted on the road just before the lookout.
At a glance
- A steady, consistent climb with few changes in gradient throughout.
- The gradient increases briefly at two left-hand hairpins 1.5km and 2.7km into the climb.
- The gradient drops slightly at the 5km mark as you pass Lawlar Springs.
No sooner have you turned onto the Tawonga Gap Road than the climbing begins. Climbing out of Tawonga South the road assumes a gradient of around 5% which is maintained for most of the first kilometre.
700m after beginning the climb, the road bends sharply into a left-hand hairpin which is far steeper than the previous section of the climb. After flattening off slightly the road continues to climb for another 800m before winding into another steep left-hand bend at the 1.5km mark.
After winding beautifully through native bush for a little over a kilometre, you will reach another hairpin bend at the 2.7km mark. Like the hairpin in the first kilometre, this left-hand bend doubles back very sharply on itself and provides a rather painful increase in gradient. After another kilometre the road bends sharply again, this time around to the right as the road continues to climb toward the Gap.
With the valley views now on the right-hand side of the road, the road continues to climb gradually. 5km from the start of the climb the road flattens out slightly as it passes Lawlar Springs on the left. By this point the gradient has settled back into a managable 5 or 6% which is more or less maintained for the rest of the climb.
6.2km into the climb you will pass Sullivans Lookout on the right-hand side of the road where terrific valley views are possible. At this point the road bends sharply around to the left before doing so once again, at an increased pitch, 300m later.
The climb concludes at the Tawonga Gap as designated by the yellow line painted on the road.
The Tawonga Gap Road (C536) is the main thoroughfare between the townships of Bright and Mt. Beauty, around 350km north-east of Melbourne. Victoria’s alpine district is best accessed by taking the Hume Freeway (M31) north out of Melbourne before taking the Great Alpine Road (B500) from the turn-off just out of Wangaratta.
From the Great Alpine Road turn-off, it is 70km to Bright and a further 10km to the Tawonga Gap Road (C536) turn-off in Germantown. At the other end and the beginning of this climb, the Tawonga Gap Road is only 4km north-west of the Mt. Beauty township.
The ascent of the Tawonga Gap from the Mt. Beauty side is just one of many terrific climbs in the area. If you are staying in Mt. Beauty, the ascent of Falls Creek is an absolute must, including the amazingly scenic approach from Mt. Beauty to Bogong. If you are staying in Bright or in the surrounding towns, the ascent of the Tawonga Gap from the west is also a very rewarding climb.
If you are inclined to race against the clock on climbs such as these, check out the Strava segment for this climb here.