gravel grinding

William Road (gravel) Kallista

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Distance: 2 kilometres
Average Gradient: 6.5%
Elevation gain: 129 metres
Traffic: Light traffic
Terrain: Residential/forest
Road Surface: Gravel

Treat yourself to a sense of adventure, and try this hidden gem.  William Road is nestled in between Kallista-Emerald Road & Grantulla Road is an incredible little dirt climb.  Treating you to the beauty and serenity which the Dandenong Ranges are famous for.

Please note that like all gravel roads, the condition of the road can be effected by weather conditions, and damage caused by vehicles.  Expect the unexpected.

Click here for link to Strava segment
The start of the climb is at the intersection of Kallista-Emerald Road & William Road.
William Road
Start of the climb

The first part of this climb takes you through a residential street, but given that a number of houses have trees or hedges as a fence line.  It is easy to mistake this for a forest.

William Road


The climb winds its way left over the first 500 metres with a very consistent gradient.


William Road
The road straightens up over the next 400 metres, and you leave the houses behind and enter the forest.
William Road

The road bends to your right, and the next section is easily the best part of William Road.  To either side of the road, you are surrounded with a sea of trees.  There is a sign up ahead warning of a hairpin.

William Road

All great climbs have a hairpin and William Road has one of the most impressive one in the Dandenong Ranges.  The hairpin is also the steepest point of the climb, and you know that you’re well on your way to knocking off this climb.
 William Road

The road heads straight for approximately 50 metres before you hit a sharp left hand bend.

William Road

The last 700 metres gently winds its way up till you reach the intersection at Grantulla Road.

William Road
End of the road
This last part is residential, so keep your eye out for any cars.
William Road
View near the top

For an extended version of this climb, head up Ridge Road for an extra 700 metres of climbing:

Cycling around Lysterfield Lake

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Lysterfield Park is situated approximately 30 kilometres south-east of Melbourne.  The park has over 20 km of Mountain Bike single trails, as well as a network of fire trails. Its popularity has stemmed from the 2006 Commonwealth Games, and a network of single-tracks were created specifically for this event.  These bike trails cater to riders of all ages and skill levels.

The great thing about riding around Lysterfield Lake is that you can choose your own adventure.  You can easily mix up your rides. Choose a ride that winds its way through rock gullies.  Bushes, boardwalks and flowing descents, or take on one of the parks many climbs.  I have profiled a number of the most challenging & popular climbs in the park.   Due to rough surfaces all of these climbs are much harder than the length or average gradient would suggest and would recommend for you to climb them on a CX or MTB.

Click on the links below to be directed to the climb write-ups:

Cycling around Lysterfield Lake


Link to climb write-up Distance Gradient %
Lysterfield Lake Preview
Glen Track 600 metres 4
Granite Track 800 metres 5
Trig Point (Lysterfield side) 3.2 km 4
Trig Point (Churchill side) 1 km 10
Woodlands Walk 1 km 10


  • Toilets available at main car park
  • Fire trails are shared paths and riders need to be courteous to walkers
  • Trails are all two-way traffic.  You will need to keep an eye out for riders coming the other way. There is no rule over who has to give right of way. Heads up that there will be aggressive riders who will expect you to move out of their way, and will ride through you if you don’t.  As a rule of thumb if you’re not in a hurry just pull over. Its much safer.
  • Parking available at a number of spots around the park
  • Lysterfield Lake is open 24 hours a day

Thewlis Road South (gravel) Officer

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Distance: 1.2 km
Average Gradient: 8%
Elevation gain: 108 metres
Traffic:Light traffic
Terrain: Gravel
Category: 4
Road Surface: Poor

Here is a link to the Strava segment here:

Thewlis Road is one for the gravel grinders, and for the riders who enjoy a good challenge.  The climb takes you past the Cardinia Aqueduct Trail which is one of Cardinia’s most enjoyable hikes.  Treat yourselves to incredible views of the Toomuc Valley.  Over the peak of the climb, as you descend down the far side to visit a region steeped in history.

One of Cardinia’s most enjoyable regions to ride.

The climb starts near the corner of Browns Road & Thewlis Road.  The climb starts in earnest as you pass the bridge in front of the Cardinia Aqueduct Trail sign.  This is one truly brutal climb.  It just get steeper and steeper and steeper until the climb peaks at nearly 20%.  This is a granny gear climb and can guarantee that it will hurt.

The road is littered with a lot of loose gravel and a CX or Mountain Bike is advised.

At the top of Thewlis turn left into Bathe Road for another 200 metres of climbing up a short, sharp brutal pinch.

The History of the Toomuc Valley

Between Pakenham, Upper Beaconsfield and Upper Pakenham lies a beautiful little valley called the Toomuc Valley. This valley is rich in history and was once home to the largest Apple orchard in the Southern Hemisphere. The name Toomuc means “swamp” or “sluggishly flowing water”, and was named as the land to the south of the Toomuc creek was swampland.

What to expect

  • Short brutal climb peaking at nearly 20%
  • A very rough surface. Expect corrugations, loose gravel and during summer a fair amount of dust
  • Mountain bike or CX only
  • Very minimal traffic
  • Stunning views over the peak of the climb of the Toomuc Valley
  • Passes the Cardinia Aqueduct Trail

How to get there

Thewlis Road is located approximately 60 km south-east of Melbourne, and accessed of Brown Road.