In search of the best cycling climbs surrounding Melbourne?

Look no further as we tee up with a Yarra Valley bike shop expert and discover some of the best bike road trails in the hills of Melbourne’s Dandenong Ranges. 

Situated 35km east of Melbourne, the Dandenong Ranges is known not only for its tourist attractions - including Puffing Billy, gardens, Tesselaar Tulip Farm, and boutique villages - but also as a cycling paradise.

The low setting mountain ranges rise to 633 metres and are covered with sealed and unsealed climbs amongst ferns and sky reaching mountain ash trees. On top of the mountain, plenty of award-winning cafes and restaurants can be found, which means you have the option of tackling Melbourne’s best cycle climbs all day while staying hydrated and energised.

The Dandenong Ranges is also close to Mooroolbark and Lilydale train stations for those who are wanting to spend the day in the saddle but at the end of it, too tired to ride home.

With so much to offer an avid cyclist, including multiple climbs, as well as being so close to Melbourne, the Dandenong Ranges offers the best cycling climbs in Melbourne. 

Below are the top mountain climbs from road cycling enthusiast, Matthew Shanks (Yarra Valley Cycles). 

1 in 20 

Distance 6.6km
Avg Grade 4%
Lowest Elevation 186m
Highest Elevation 466m
Elevation Difference 279m
Climb Category 3

Check out the Strava segment here

1 in 20 is considered Melbourne’s most well-known and iconic climbs that take riders on a journey from the Basin to Sassafrass along the Mountain Highway (28) in the Dandenong Ranges national park. The climb ventures through native flora and fauna, winding in and around sky reaching mountain ash trees.

The distance of the climb stretches to 6.6km with an average gradient of 4%, which means that it is capable for most riders at any skill level to tackle at their own pace. From a glance, the ride is a beautiful climb with a great false-flat section that starts at roughly 3.3km from the start and stretches to 1.1km before making itself up to the final 2.4km stretch into Sassafras.

The Wall

Distance 6.1km
Avg Grade 5%
Lowest Elevation 283m
Highest Elevation 593m
Elevation Difference 310m
Climb Category 3

Check out Strava segment here

Starting in the township of Monbulk, The Wall makes it’s way back up onto the Dandenong Ranges into the hilltop village of Olinda. On the climb you will experience an incredible switchback, lush rainforest, and beautiful views. Despite the climb’s name, the overall average gradient isn’t overly challenging, however, does have two steeper pinches at roughly 10%. The start of the climb can be found on the corner of Monbulk Road (C404) and Monbulk Olinda Road (C406).The distance of the climb is 6.1km with an average gradient of 5%. From a glance, the climb can be categorised as a moderate to difficult climb, as the average gradient increases to roughly 10% for 500m from the 2km mark, and later, to 8% for 1 km at the 3.5km mark.


Distance 2.5km
Avg Grade 9%
Lowest Elevation 135m
Highest Elevation 367m
Elevation Difference 232m
Climb Category 3

Check out the Strava segment here

The infamous Inverness climb is known as one of Dandenong Ranges’ most brutal climbs. It’s short and sharp and is a climb that many cyclists tend to avoid. Like most of the climbs surrounding the Dandenong Ranges, you will work your way up from the bottom into the tree top rainforest - but as you will be grasping for air, you may find it hard to take in the scenery. The climb starts at York Rd (C402) and Inverness Rd and makes it’s way up to Mt Dandenong Tourist Rd. From there you can head back down Inverness Rd or Mt Dandenong Tourist Rd (C415) or keep climbing towards SkyHigh.

The distance of the climb is 2.5km with an average gradient of 9%. From a glance, this road can be categorised as moderate to difficult, as the final 400m has an average gradient of 14% with a peak gradient of over 20%.

Perrins Creek Road

Distance 2.4km
Avg Grade 7%
Lowest Elevation 342m
Highest Elevation 523m
Elevation Difference 182m
Climb Category 3

Check out the Strava segment here

Perrins Creek Road climb is a crowd favourite as it passes through some of the best rainforests that the Dandenong Ranges has to offer. Starting at the intersection of Perrins Creek Rd & The Crescent, the climb winds itself into a valley of thick rainforest and lush views. The road is also subject to minimal traffic and is situated very closely to the famous 1 in 20 climb.The distance of the climb is 2.4km with an average gradient of 7%. From a glance, this road can be categorised as a moderate climb as it winds up to a gradient of close to 11% up to the hairpin, then down to 6% for the final 700m stretch.

The Crescent

Distance 3.3km
Avg Grade 5%
Lowest Elevation 343m
Highest Elevation 511m
Elevation Difference 167m
Climb Category 3

Check out the Strava segment here

Closely situated near Perrins Creek Road, The Crescent climbs into the Dandenong Ranges national park reaching an elevation of 511m. Gently winding from side to side you will continue to discover the beauty that this national park offers, with lush ferns and native gums in sight you will have the chance of taking it all in and finding yourself.

The distance of the climb is 3.3km with an average gradient of 5%. From a glance, this road can be categorised as moderate, as the initial gentle climb starts to really wind up from the left-hand hairpin into the final kilometre with gradients reaching roughly 10%, before flattening out to around 4% in the final 400m.

We hope this gives you a starting point to discover some of the best bike paths, trails and mountains in Melbourne’s Dandenong Ranges! 

Road cycling enthusiast and tour guide from Melbourne bike shop Yarra Valley Cycles, Matthew Shanks. Written and photographed by Yarra Ranges Tourism Marketing and Digital Content Co-ordinator, Charles Thomas.


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