Average gradient: 5.4%
Elevation gain: 491m
While the ascent of Mt. Macedon is shorter from the Gisborne side than the Woodend side, it is also far steeper. With several sections maintaining a gradient in excess of 10%, this is not a climb for the faint of heart.
The southern approach to Mt. Macedon begins at the ‘Welcome to Mt. Macedon’ sign, seen on the left-hand side of Mt. Macedon Road (C322) just north of Childers Road.
As with the Mt. Macedon climb from the Woodend side, this ascent ends at the stone pillars which mark the entrance to the Memorial Cross Reserve.
At a glance
- A tough climb with some very steep ramps in its first half.
- The first steep ramp is from 600m to 1.1km, the second from 1.6km to 2.6km.
- From 3km to 5.5km the road is very steep except for at 3.5km, 4.1km and 4.7km.
- Turn left at 5.5km to continue the climb.
- The final 3.6km after the turn-off are undulating with a steep 500m rise after 7.5km mark.
The southern approach to Mt. Macedon begins with the summit clearly visible straight up the road. After climbing gently for around 600m, a sign on the left of the road declares ‘12%, next 2km’. Luckily, the sign isn’t completely accurate and while 12% may well be reached in this 2km stretch, it certainly isn’t the average gradient.
The first 500m after the sign are painfully steep but after that it flattens off slightly for 500m, past Mt. Macedon Primary School on the left. At the 1.6km mark the gradient increases and 400m later it increases again.
By the time 2.6km have been ridden the first of the climb’s tough sections has been completed. Flattening off somewhat, Mt. Macedon Road continues to wind its way gradually upward for the next 400m before another sign – “13%, next 2km”.
Unfortunately this sign is significantly more accurate than the first gradient advisory sign. From the “13%” sign at the 3km mark until the Memorial Cross turn-off at 5.5km, you will find yourself grinding slowly up the steep incline.
Luckily though, this steep stretch is punctuated by several flatter sections – 3.5km, 4.1km and 4.7km into the climb respectively – where brief respite is possible. The last of the flatter sections extends for some 200m before resuming a painful gradient for the 600m to the Memorial Cross turn-off.
At the 5.5km mark, turn left onto Cameron Drive (C328) and push through another 200m of relatively steep climbing. As you crest the hill the hard work is done. The final 3.2km from the Camels Hump to the Memorial Cross undulates quite substantially with several short downhill sections.
The most challenging part of these final kilometres is a fairly-steep stretch that starts at the 7.5km mark and sits at around 8 or 9% for 500m. Compared to the two steep sections in the climb’s first half however, these final kilometres are relatively painless.
Mt. Macedon is located around 70km north-west of Melbourne and is best accessed via the Calder Freeway (M79). To get to the start of the climb, take the Mount Macedon Road (C322) turn-off which is around 5.5km after the main Gisborne turn-off. The start of the climb is just past Childers Road on the left, 5.0km from the freeway off-ramp.
With the Calder Freeway being open for cycle traffic north of Sunshine Avenue, there is scope for a Melbourne to Mt. Macedon return trip. For those that choose to drive to the base of the climb, the trip is a little less than an hour from the centre of Melbourne.
The Strava segment for this climb can be found here.