Tasmania

Ben Lomond aka Jacob’s Ladder

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Distance: 23.2 km
Average Gradient: 
5%
Elevation gain: 
1,070 metres
Terrain: Gravel (MTB or CX only)
Road Surface:
Loose gravel

Here is a link to the Strava segment here:

Ben Lomond is a mountain to the north of Tasmania, and situated 42 km east of Launceston.  It is visible over much of the northern midlands of Tasmania.  Its stark treeless plateau is roughly 14 kilometers in length, 6 kilometers wide.  And is in excess of 1,300 meters in height. A summit on the plateau named Legges Tor is the second highest point in Tasmania at 1,572 meters.

Image taken by Jenne; courtesy of Flickr

Ben Lomond climb

Ben Lomond is a climb for the gravel grinders.  Offering 14 km of challenging undulating climbing over gravel just to get to the base of Jacob’s ladder.  The ladder is a section of road which has been built straight into the side of the mountain.  And looks more like a climb you would see in the Tour de France.  Not in Tasmania.   Once you hit the ladder.  To the side of the road are cliff walls and giant boulder gardens that flow down the face of the mountain.  The Ladder itself is 1.2 km in length with a large number of switchbacks with an average gradient of 13% over loose gravel.  This climb would test even a seasoned pro, and is easily one of the most difficult HC climbs in Australia.

Image taken by Jenne; courtesy of Flickr

The climb to the summit offers amazing views of rocky crags & surrounded on all sides by precipitous escarpments.  Its one that you will want to put on your bucket list.

Ben Lomond

Plan your ride

  • No facilities on sight. Make sure you carry adequate food and water supplies
  • CX or Mountain bike suggested
  • Bring adequate tools in order to make repairs.  Otherwise you will be in for a very long walk home
  • Bring some extra inner tubes
  • Keep an eye out for wildlife
  • Check weather conditions
  • Use extreme caution on the descent
  • Not suitable to ride over the winter months during snow season

How to get there

The climb begins at the intersection of Upper Blessington Road and Ben Lomond Road.  This is located approximately 42 km east of Launceston.

About Ben Lomond

The stark, treeless landscape of Ben Lomond with its imposing and precipitous cliffs is visible over much of the northern midlands of Tasmania.  It’s plateau is roughly 14 kilometres in length, 6 kilometres wide and is in excess of 1300 metres in height. The summit on the plateau named Legges Tor is the second highest point in Tasmania at 1,572 metres above sea level.

Ben Lomond is well known as Tasmania’s premiere skiing destination, and is one of Australia’s best gravel climbs.

Mount Rumney

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MOUNT RUMNEY

DISTANCE 3.3 km (4.3k m with dirt)
CATEGORY 3
ELEVATION 226m
GRADIENT 6.9%
MAXIMUM GRADIENT 12%
TIME FROM CITY 25 minutes
TRAFFIC low-medium
STRAVA http://app.strava.com/segments/641042
How to get to the climb: Cross the Tasman Bridge on the southern side, and ride through Rosny along Riawena Road.  Then turn right on Rosny Hill Road, left on Bligh Street, right on Shackleton Street, left onto Mornington Road, straight through the roundabout. Keep riding and you’ll reach Tunnel Hill.  Sounds complicated but actually pretty straightfoward when you get there.

Mount Rumney

I am fortunate that Marc Durdin who runs a blog in Tasmania has allowed me to post some of the climb reviews that he put together around Hobart.

Images and words Marc Durdin

Mount Rumney is on the Eastern shore of the Derwent River in Hobart.  It is accessed via old Cambridge Road from Mornington. The climb starts with a brief (and if you want, blisteringly fast) climb up Tunnel Hill.  Then turns right onto Mount Rumney Road at the very crest of the hill. From here, the road has a varying gradient, but is never overly steep.  Winding its narrow way around both sides of the hill.  Alternating between views of Seven Mile Beach and the airport, and Hobart, the Derwent River, and Mount Wellington. Whatever point you are at though, the road is smooth, and the climb is great!

Mount Rumney

Tunnel Hill is named after the tunnel that was built under it as part of the short-lived Bellerive-Sorell Railway.  The tunnel is not visible from the road but is easy to find.

Mount Rumney

The last kilometre of the climb is dirt.  Some riders prefer to turn at the end of the tarmac (especially if you’ve been smashing it up the climb!).  But it is definitely worth riding those last few metres for the views at the top. And for the telco tower.  The dirt section is a bit steeper, averaging 10%, but not particularly difficult.

Mount Rumney

The descent is fast and windy and therefore fun.  Because the road is quite narrow and sight lines are not great, it is important to be careful of oncoming cars.

Mount Rumney

Mount Rumney

Mount Rumney
Mount Rumney

How to get there

Mount Rumney is located approximately 14 km north-east of Hobart.

Mount Wellington climb

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Distance 11.2 km
Category HC
Elevation 827 meters
Gradient 7.2%
Maximum Gradient 15%
Time from city 25 minutes
Traffic Medium
Strava Click here for link
How to get to the climb: Take the Strickland Avenue climb, or the Commando Route to Longley. Turn onto Pillinger Drive in Fern Tree as signposted.

Images and words Marc Durdin

Mount Wellington climb

Mount Wellington is Tasmania’s most iconic climb. The climb to the summit passes through some stunning temperate rainforest and sub-alpine flora and glacial rock formations.  It is frequently covered by snow, sometimes even in the summer.  If you’re lucky to climb Mount Wellington on a clear day there are amazing panoramic views of Hobart, Bruny Island, South Arm and the Tasman Peninsula from the summit.  One thing that sets Mount Wellington aside from all of the other Alpine climbs in Australia is the fact that you can start the climb from well over a dozen different locations.  All offering at least 18 km of climbing which offers cyclists many challenges.   The longest climb being 21.3km in length and averaging 6% in gradient offering a massive 1,224 metres of elevation.

Mount Wellington climb

The Mount Wellington climb is also instrumental in the career of a young Cadel Evans.  Who in 1999 won the Tour of Tasmania with a win on the stage to Mount Wellington.

Mount Wellington climb
Lookout just before the Springs

The first section is a little deceptive, marked as “only” 6.8% on average. One might wonder if it’s hard to get a tempo rhythm up on this section of the climb. This is because the gradient on this section is actually mostly above 8%.  With just the last kilometre at about 4% (which feels flat in comparison). It is characterized by tall forests and cool fern-shaded bends. It finishes at The Springs, a popular picnic area where there also used to be a hotel.

This was before it was destroyed in the 1967 bushfires.

Mount Wellington climb

And now is where the pain really starts. The next section is steep with a constant average of about 9%.  Offering a rough road surface which saps your energy with every turn of the pedals. The view to your right is often amazing but it is pretty hard to take it in! This steep stretch of road seems to go on forever.  At each corner you peer hopefully ahead for a glimpse of the Chalet at 1,000m.  What is usually waiting around the next corner is more climbing.

Mount Wellington climb
View near the Chalet

After you reach the Chalet.  The gradient eases off a bit, and a couple hundred metres later the road surface becomes slightly smoother.  A welcome relief! You are now onto the final section of the climb.  Having passed the Organ Pipes the road curves onto the plateau, with the summit clearly in view on your left. It’s a beautiful ride across the plateau, but the road is still deceptively steep in places. The last kilometre just hurts: the summit is just there, but it’s such a long kilometre…

Mount Wellington climb
On the plateau, the summit is in sight, but still nearly 4km away!

Once you make it, hot and sweating, you’ll pause for a minute. Congratulate yourself, it’s a tough climb! Unfortunately there’s usually a brisk wind and the temperature is cold, and with a long cold descent ahead of you, best to not linger.

Mount Wellington climb

 

Image taken by Julia Koefender; Flickr
Mount Wellington overshadowing Hobart

Bonnet Hill (North and South)

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Bonnet Hill (North)

Distance 2.4 km
Category 4
Elevation 100m
Gradient 4.2%
Maximum Gradient 7%
Time from city 20 minutes
Traffic medium-high
Strava http://app.strava.com/segments/629724
How to get to the climb: Follow Sandy Bay Road south through Taroona.

Bonnet Hill (South)

Distance 3.1km
Category 4
Elevation 153m
Gradient 4.9%
Maximum Gradient 15%
Time from city 35 minutes
Traffic medium-high
Strava http://app.strava.com/segments/629725
How to get to the climb: Ride the Northern approach, then down the Southern side.

I am fortunate that Marc Durdin who runs a blog in Tasmania has allowed me to post some of the climb reviews that he put together around Hobart.

Images and words Marc Durdin

Bonnet Hill

Bonnet Hill is one of the most popular climbs in Hobart. Bonnet Hill lies on the Channel Highway between Hobart and Kingston, just south of Taroona.  This is the usual commuting route for most riders from Kingston.

It is also very popular in bunch rides.

Bonnet Hill

Bonnet Hill is not a difficult climb.  Though the Southern approach is somewhat steeper and longer than the Northern side.

Bonnet Hill

The defining landmark of the Northern approach is the 150 year old Shot Tower.  For aperiod of time was the tallest building in the southern hemisphere. The builder of the Shot Tower practiced by making a small tower on his house first.  This was before constructing the full tower.  And all without any formal learning on how to do it. The Shot Tower slides into view shortly after leaving the last houses of Taroona behind. There is some dissension on where the climb “officially” starts for competitive purposes.  Most riders I know mark the start when they pass the southern end of the Taroona Hotel.

Bonnet Hill

The road winds about before reaching the Shot Tower.  This is the “hardest” bit of the climb, and still not hard. Soon after passing the Shot Tower you’ll come across a neglected bike lane.  It’s fine to ride on a mountain bike but if you are on thin road tyres you’ll probably prefer to stick to the car lane. From there it’s an easy climb to the summit. Unless you are trying to do it at 30 km/h!

Bonnet Hill

The Southern approach starts with a steep 14% pinch called “Golf Course Corner”. It doesn’t last long, but it does take the wind out of your sails! From there, the climb continues at a much more reasonable gradient.  With some great views over Storm Bay on your right.

It is a little harder than the Northern approach, but it’s still not a huge climb.

Bonnet Hill
Bonnet Hill

I find that both sides of the climb can be done without much difficulty in the big ring.  With an average gradient of less than 5% in both cases. Being a popular climb, there are lots of riders competing for KOM honours.  The only issue with this climb is that there can be a fair amount of traffic at some times of day. There are no overtaking zones on either side of the hill, and the road is quite narrow. However, as the speed limit is 60 km/h.  There are plenty of places with enough visibility to safely pass, this does not typically pose a big problem.  As a little courtesy and awareness go a long way.

Collinsvale Road

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Collinsvale Rd
Distance 3.5 km
Category 3
Elevation 287m
Gradient 8.1%
Maximum Gradient 15%
Time from city 40 minutes
Traffic pretty much nonexistent
Strava http://app.strava.com/segments/632895
How to get to the climb: Take the intercity cycleway North. After passing through Glenorchy make a left hand turn onto Riverway Road.  From here you then turn right onto Main Road, and then left onto Mary’s Hope Road which is not a bad little climb itself.  Then make a left at the roundabout onto Berriedale Road. The climb starts 1 km down the road.

You will really enjoy this climb!

Collinsvale Road

I am fortunate that Marc Durdin who runs a cycling blog in Tasmania has allowed me to post some of the great climb reviews that he put together in and around Hobart.

Images and words Marc Durdin

The climb starts at the beginning of Collinsvale Road.  This is signposted as an alternative route. You will pass a handful of houses which are in the suburban fringe before the road turns on the charm in earnest.

Collinsvale Road

This climb has so many appealing qualities.  With tight hairpins, old ruins, ancient retaining walls and fern-covered culverts.  You will treasure every metre of this climb which is just fantastic.

Collinsvale Road

As you come over the crest of the climb.  You are greeted with a wonderful panoramamic view of Collinsvale.  Which is surrounded by mountains such as Collins Cap and Collins Bonnet.

Collinsvale Road

After you have reached the summit.  Then continue down the hill on the far side, and turn left at the T junction into Collinsvale.  Here you will find more great climbs.  Alternatively you can turn right for a rip-roaring descent on the new road through Glenlusk.

Collinsvale Road

Collinsvale Road at a glance:

  • Minimal traffic
  • Very steep peaking at 15%
  • Mainly countryside
  • Stunning scenery
  • A road which holds historical significance
  • Impressive views at the top

Please use caution on the descents.

Grasstree Hill

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Grasstree Hill

I am fortunate that Marc Durdin who runs a blog in Tasmania has allowed me to post some of the climb reviews that he put together around Hobart.

Grasstree Hill is located on the Eastern shore of the Derwent River.  Behind the suburb of Risdon Vale. It is a category 3 climb, with a smooth and constant 5% gradient which is ideal for a tempo climb. The road surface is in good condition and is quite smooth.  Unlike many climbs in Hobart. The climb forms part of a popular cycling route to Richmond in the Coal Valley.  Many riders do a loop over Grasstree to Richmond and return south over Tunnel Hill or north via Brighton.

Grasstree Hill

The western side of the climb is sheltered from many of the winds of Hobart.  Hence is a pleasant climb at almost any time of the year. It gets sun quite early despite being on the western side. Thus is a great route for an early morning loop before work.

Grasstree Hill

The eastern side has a bit more variance and is considerably more exposed to wind. The corners are a bit sharper, the road feels a little less smooth, and the gradient is a little less constant. Even without spectacular views that are a feature of nearly every other climb in Hobart.  It is still an enjoyable ascent.

Grasstree Hill

Grasstree Hill is also very popular with motorcyclists.  Some of whom travel considerably above the 60 km/h speed limit.

Grasstree Hill

Both sides of the hill make for a great descent.  Not overly fast at 5%, but with little need to touch the brakes at almost any point.

GRASSTREE HILL (NORTH APPROACH)

DISTANCE 4 km
CATEGORY 3
ELEVATION 197m
GRADIENT 4.9%
MAXIMUM GRADIENT 7%
TIME FROM CITY 60 minutes
TRAFFIC low-medium
STRAVA http://app.strava.com/segments/627923
How to get to the climb: Ride to, and up the South approach, then down the other side.

Grasstree Hill

GRASSTREE HILL (SOUTH APPROACH)

DISTANCE 5.3 km
CATEGORY 3
ELEVATION 219m
GRADIENT 5.3%
MAXIMUM GRADIENT 8%
TIME FROM CITY 40 minutes
TRAFFIC low-medium
STRAVA http://app.strava.com/segments/622786
How to get to the climb: From the Cenotaph, ride north on the bike track until you reach Elwick Road. Turn right, ride to the end, then dogleg right onto Goodwood Road.  Follow this road about 6.5 km to the base of the climb (straight through the roundabout).

Strickland Avenue

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STRICKLAND AVENUE
DISTANCE 4.6 km
CATEGORY 3
ELEVATION 247m
GRADIENT 5.4%
MAXIMUM GRADIENT 15%
TIME FROM CITY 15 minutes
TRAFFIC medium
STRAVA http://app.strava.com/segments/627474
How to get to the climb: Ride up Davey Street to the Southern Outlet, then turn right and left onto Macquarie Street. climb starts at Cascade Brewery (you won’t have trouble finding it).

Strickland Avenue

I am fortunate that Marc Durdin who runs a blog in Tasmania has allowed me to post some of the climb reviews that he put together around Hobart.

Images and words Marc Durdin

Strickland Avenue is one of Hobart’s best known climbs.  Winding its way through South Hobart and The Cascades into the foothills of Mount Wellington. It’s one of several approaches to Mount Wellington.  Probably the most popular route to get there from Hobart by bike.

Strickland Avenue
Cascade Brewery

Strickland Avenue was the first part of the Team Time Trial route for Stage 1 of the 2011 Tour of Tasmania. The TTT then continued to the summit of Mt Wellington.

Strickland Avenue
Yurt corner

The climb starts at Cascade Brewery in South Hobart.  A mere 10-15 minute ride from the city centre along Macquarie Street. I break the ascent into 3 sections.  With Hobart Rivulet crossings forming the divisions between the sections. The first section from Cascade Brewery to the bridge is wide and flowing.  It is tempting to ride hard and fast along it.  The road is smooth and relatively easy going.

You can set a cracking pace here but you may regret it!

Strickland Avenue

At the bridge over Hobart Rivulet, the road curves steeply back on itself.  Narrowing dramatically, with overhanging gum trees providing welcome shade on hot days. Soon on the right you’ll see a yurt-like house as you climb a steep bend (go up a gear and power up it!). The climb continues at a steady 6%.  Winding through Cascades until you reach the second crossing over Hobart Rivulet.  This corner is also the steepest pinch. After the pinch comes a gentler section that finishes at a T-Junction with Huon Road.

Strickland Avenue

Nelson Road

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NELSON ROAD

DISTANCE 3.9 km
CATEGORY 3
ELEVATION 232m
GRADIENT 6%
MAXIMUM GRADIENT 10%
TIME FROM CITY 10 minutes
TRAFFIC medium (watch for buses)
STRAVA http://app.strava.com/segments/628934
How to get to the climb: Take Davey Street south, and turn left onto Antill Street.  Follow Antill Street/Regent Street/Churchill Avenue through to the University. Nelson Road is on your right just after the University.
Nelson Road
Start of the climb

I am fortunate that Marc Durdin who runs a blog in Tasmania has allowed me to post some of the climb reviews that he put together around Hobart.

Images and words Marc Durdin

Nelson Road has some unique and fun features.  Particularly 7 hairpin bends, and it is also well suited to a tempo style climb for each straight. This allows you to build up a nice rhythm with a high tempo run to each corner, out of the saddle to power around the hairpin.  Then back on the seat and into your previous cadence on the next straight. Unfortunately, the lumpy road surface does throw your rhythm as you bump over driveway ramps.

But I guess that’s all part of the fun!

Nelson Road

The start of this climb at the intersection between Churchill Avenue and Nelson Road.  Although Nelson Road does start down at the Casino at sea level. The section of the climb between the Casino and Churchill Avenue has a lot of traffic.  And the intersection with Churchill Avenue is a hassle because of the traffic.

Nelson Road

The best features of Nelson Road are the seven hairpin bendss.  Which make great waypoints on the climb. Although after Bend 4 one starts to lose track and there’s always a bend or two more than you hope!

Nelson Road

After the seventh bend, marked by two big water tanks.  You crest onto the “plateau” of the hill and follow the climb, which continues at the same gradient.  Albeit without all the zigzagging, to the finish at the intersection with Olinda Grove. This section of the climb is not very interesting.  But you will need to keep the power on all the way to the very end if you want to take the KOM in Strava!

Nelson Road

Take a left at the end to ride to Mount Nelson Signal Station for incredible views over south eastern Tasmania (definitely recommended) and coffee. Turn right to take the quick way down on Proctor’s Rd. Or if you are crazy, down the Southern Outlet.

Nelson Road

The Domain (Carriage Drive)

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THE DOMAIN

DISTANCE 2.2 km
CATEGORY 4
ELEVATION 102m
GRADIENT 4.6%
MAXIMUM GRADIENT 15%
TIME FROM CITY 5 minutes
TRAFFIC low
STRAVA http://app.strava.com/segments/634467
How to get to the climb: From the Cenotaph, ride under the highway.  Then turn right, and immediately after entering the highway, exit left. Carriage Drive is 50m ahead on your left.
The Domain (Carriage Drive)
The Domain (Carriage Drive)

Images and words Marc Durdin

The Domain is a small hilly area of bushland just north east of the Hobart CBD and runs parallel to the magnificent Derwent River.  This area was set-aside as an area to “belong to the people“.  The Domain is a great little climb within 5 minutes ride of the city centre. The climb starts at the bottom of Carriage Drive, a smooth little one way road that winds its way up the Domain. Be aware that the road becomes two-way half way up the climb.

The climb starts on a gentle gradient, which may lure you into a false sense of security.  It’s easy to sit on speeds up to or even over 30 km/h.  When you round a bend half way up you’ll be in for a rude shock as the gradient triples! This is guaranteed to pour that lactate pain in as you drop through the gears.

The Domain (Carriage Drive)

Immediately after the steep pinch, the road levels out for a couple hundred metres.  Where no doubt you’ll work hard to put the pace back on again. On reaching a 4 way intersection, turn right (don’t forget traffic in your pain-induced haze).  Then you need to follow the curves in the second half of the climb around to the summit of the hill.

The Domain (Carriage Drive)
View of Governors Digs

This is a great little climb which will get you coming time and time again.

Just remember to pace yourself….

The Domain (Carriage Drive)

The Domain (Carriage Drive)
End of the climb

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