Average gradient: 4.8%
Elevation gain: 349m
One of the most frequently ridden and most popular cycling roads in all of Victoria, the main climb to Kinglake is one that all Victorian cyclists should attempt at least once.
The devastating bushfires of February 2009 that killed 173 people also burnt out most of the trees on the roadside, providing phenomenal views into the valley below as you climb toward the township of Kinglake.
The start of the climb is designated by the winding road sign as seen in the photo below. This can be found on the Heidelberg Kinglake Road (C746), roughly 6km north-east of the township of St. Andrews.
The Kinglake climb ends at the second set of 60km/h signs as the road flattens out, just before the township of Kinglake.
At a glance
- A very popular ascent that can be seen as two climbs in one.
- The first section, lasting 4.8km, winds along the ridgeline with a gentle gradient.
- The second section, from 4.8km onwards, is noticeably steeper than the lower slopes.
After the first couple corners, you’ll find yourself precariously balanced on the ridge line where you’ll remain for the first 5km of the climb. The initial gradient of around 4% is maintained for these first 5km and indeed the climb can be divided into two distinct sections.
The first sees the road wind narrowly along the ridge line at a modest gradient before the second half, beginning at the 4.8km mark, sees the road heading away from the ridge line, straightening up slightly and increasing in gradient.
While you shouldn’t need to be reminded to keep left while on the road, it is especially important on the climb to Kinglake where the road is so narrow in parts that only one vehicle may pass at one time. The descent, too, should be handled with care as cars coming up the hill often cut corners.
The Kinglake climb is accessible from Melbourne but a round trip from the city to Kinglake and back will add around 120km to your odometer. Various routes can be taken to get to Eltham in Melbourne’s north-east, but from there it is a matter of following Main Road to the north which turns into the Kangaroo Ground St. Andrews Road (C728).
Once through the town of St. Andrews you’ll find yourself at a t-intersection where a right turn should be taken onto the Heidelberg Kinglake Road (C746).
Being one of the most popular climbs in Victoria, the Kinglake climb has many riders attempting to set personal best times or see how their times compare to others within the community. If you are one such rider, check out the Strava segment for the Kinglake climb.