Tawonga Gap (Mt. Beauty side)

3rd category climb

Length: 7.6km
Average gradient: 6.3%
Elevation gain: 479m

View from the Tawonga Gap.

Introduction

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 start

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.

Start of the Tawonga Gap (Mt. Beauty side) climb.

The finish

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.

End of the Tawonga Gap (Mt. Beauty side) climb.

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.

Climb details

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.

Profile

Location

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.

Times

If you are inclined to race against the clock on climbs such as these, check out the Strava segment for this climb here.

19 Replies to “Tawonga Gap (Mt. Beauty side)”

  1. I had a wonderful experience driving home from Bright one afternoon.
    Being “idiot cyclist”aware i took the top right hand hairpin at the lookout sedately and was confronted by 5 cyclists around the blind corner standing in the middle of the road with bikes,discussing the descent,swerved around them,missed them by inches,nearly had a head on with some poor family heading to Bright who came close to going into the spoon drain avoiding me and the cyclists….
    Please remember that this is a public road !! I wont mention the amount of times ive had bikes out of control on my side of the road descending…..

  2. This is a narrow winding road that is not suitable for push bikes.
    You idiots should stick to bike paths and leave these roads for road registered vehicles!

    1. My word! H Hooks, you do I assume know that at least 99% of bike riders own at least on car.
      What makes your opinion so valid?

  3. This is a great climb for testing your climbing legs. For us locals your best time on this climb is pretty much the measurement for how well you can climb so you can compare with your mates.

  4. You should see what time the Tour of Bright A graders do this climb in… On top of racing for the other 120+ km. They have chopped the descent down the other side out this year; too many crashes. Have seen some gnarly stuff down the backside, and broken bikes and riders. Ouch. That yellow line is now the finish line…

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