Average gradient: 7.2%
Elevation gain: 374m
Winding its way up the lower slopes of Mt. Donna Buang, the climb from Healesville to the Panton Gap is not as challenging as its average gradient might suggest. A few short sections with gradients in excess of 10% will test you but there are more challenging climbs in the area.
The climb from Healesville to the Panton Gap begins at the corner of Don Road (C506) and Badger Creek Road (C505).
The climb to the Panton Gap concludes at the sizeable intersection between Don Road (C506) and Mt. Donna Buang Road (C505).
At a glance
- A reasonably short climb with a variable gradient and a couple of steep sections.
- The left-hand bend at 600m has a gradient approaching 10%.
- The gradient drops considerably at 1.1km and continues this way for nearly a kilometre.
- The left-hand bend at 2.3km increases the gradient to ~10% again.
- The final kilometre of the climb has a very gentle gradient.
The climbing begins as soon as you pass the intersection of Don Road and Badger Creek Road, sitting at a fairly reasonable 5%. 300 metres after starting the climb, the road flattens out slightly before bendly sharply around to the left several hundred metres later.
The sweeping left hand bend kicks the gradient up to around 10% before it flattens out at Old Don Road, 700 metres into the climb. At around 5% the road continues to wind upward, flattening out even further after 1.1km of climbing. Bending around to the left, the road continues to climb along the ridgeline at a fairly pedestrian gradient.
An incline of around 3% is maintained for over a kilometre, the road winding around to the right 2km from the start of the climb. A little after the 2km mark the road becomes noticeably more enclosed, with eucalyptus gums standing tall by the roadside.
At 2.3km, the road bends around to the left, the gradient increasing to over 10% in the process. While the gradient drops below 10% after the left hand bend, it still sits at around 8% as the road bends around to the right at the 2.6km mark. Returning to a more modest gradient in the next 300 metres, native ferns dominate the roadside area before great views are available to the right of the road.
At the 3.5km mark a steepish left hand bend turns the road toward the climb’s most distinctive turn, a very tight left hand hairpin. The gradient stays at around 5% as the road bends sharply to the left before increasing slightly out of the turn. 3.8km into the climb the road passes Malleson Lookout on the left, resuming a gradient of 5% as it winds through the thick native bush. Views of the Yarra Ranges National Park are now possible on the left hand side of the road.
At the 4.1km mark the road flattens off noticeably, continuing to climb at about 3%. This gentle gradient is maintained for the rest of the climb as the road winds gently through the trees. The climb comes to a close after 5.1km, opening out into the wide, dusty intersection of Don Road and Mt. Donna Buang Road.
The northern approach to the Panton Gap begins 4.5km from Healesville, 65km north-east of Melbourne. To get to the start of the climb, take Don Road (C506) south out of Healesville until its intersection with Badger Creek Road (C505).
This climb concludes at the intersection of Mt. Donna Buang Road and Don Road and further climbing is available for those that are keen. The ascent of Mt. Donna Buang from the Healesville side is a beautifully scenic ride but is best attempted with thicker tyres as the road turns to soft gravel 3.2km from the Panton Gap. Be aware that the Panton Gap end of the Mt. Donna Buang Road is closed during winter.
If you are looking to follow Don Road over the Panton Gap to Launching Place, be advised that the road turns to gravel a few kilometres from the Gap. The 3.5km section of gravel is fairly firmly packed, however, and can be ridden on road tyres in the drier months.
The Strava segment for this climb can be found here.