Domestique - Baw Baw

Hells 500 and the Climbing Cyclist have announced a bonus Domestique Ride at Mount Baw Baw on Saturday 13th February 2016. 

Mount Baw Baw is one of our favorite Domestique rides. It is easily one of Australia’s hardest climbs, and no matter whether you’re a weekend warrior or a seasoned pro this climb will challenge you. 

The Domestique rides offer support and an environment where you will feel comfortable to travel outside of your comfort zone.  The climb to the top is one of the greatest experiences you can achieve as a climber and should make it down to this great event.

Words and images - Brendan Edwards


Domestique Cycling runs rides in support of Tourism North East’s 7 Peaks Rides, helping riders tick off several of the climbs. The Domestique rides offers a brilliant opportunity to ride the mountains with riders that will help cyclists of all abilities conquer some of the Victorian Alps and give you the confidence to take on the others, knowing what it takes to get up and down safely. 

The Domestique rides are particularly popular with women riders who will show up in numbers.  The steep climb of Mount Baw Baw offer many challenges and hopefully we’ll see a much larger group of women coming to the Baw Baw climb this year, to show the boys how to climb.


The Domestique ride begins approximately 3km south-east of Tanjil Bren, which is located approximately 150 km’s east of Melbourne.  Parking is limited, and riders are encouraged to try riding from any of the local towns such as Neerim, Noojee, Icy Creek, Yarra Junction or even park at the top of Mount Baw Baw and descend down to the start.  There’s usually group rides organised on the day so keep an eye out on social media for details.

If you’re feeling really brave then try riding it from home…….



The climb takes riders up the incredibly steep tourist road up to the Mt Baw Baw Alpine Village.  There is some incredible riding around the area and its narrow windy roads are canopied with lush Snow Gum, and are simply stunning to ride through.

  • Distance - 12.5km
  • Average Gradient - 7.7%
  • Elevation Gain - 990 metres

You may have heard that Mount Baw Baw has a reputation for being one of Australia’s most challenging HC climb and we can guarantee that it won’t disappoint.  The first 5.7km of this climb may lull you into a false sense of security.  The scenery is stunning and with a gentle average gradient of 4.2% you may be wondering what all of the fuss is about?

Once you approach the Gantry, the road rises sharply, and if you don’t say it aloud, we’re sure that you’ll be thinking; “oh s#@t!”  The last 6.5km of Mount Baw Baw gives even the hardiest of Pro’s a nightmare and is an experience that will live with you forever.  Averaging over 11.5%, it’s the sort of climb that you would expect to see in events like the Giro, not from a local recreational event.

From the Gantry the gradient will not drop below 10% and there is one corner in particular that is truly nasty called “Winch Corner” that is guarantee to test you, peaking at a 20.6%.  For those last 6.5km you will not find bit of respite until you reach the top.


Climbing Mount Baw Baw is all about the challenge to find the strength within yourself to survive. When both body and mind are screaming for you to get off and stop, you need to stay strong and keep turning the wheels, one pedal stroke at a time until you reach the top.  Some riders may end up walking this one, but Kudos to them for giving it a go.  The steep slopes of Baw Baw are a challenge to ascend.  If you haven’t climbed it before we ask you, how would you know if you can get up it unless you give it a try?

The climb is an experience, with stunning views of West Gippsland and the Mornington Peninsula from the top which make the climb worth the while.

If you haven’t climbed this beast before it is considered a rite of passage to call yourself a climber to make it to the top of this very steep Mountain.  If climbing Mount Baw Baw seems a bit hard, then why not still come down for the day and just ride to Tanjil Bren from anywhere down the road and come and say g’day.  The great thing about an event like this is that introduces riders to fantastic areas that are waiting to be discovered and allowing many to believe they can climb, pushing themselves well and truly outside of their comfort zone.


We have been to several of the Domestique rides and would highly recommend them.  Matt de Neef and Andy Van Bergen have been instrumental in promoting climbing throughout Victoria and the events they run are really down to earth. 

No machoism, no heroism, just a bunch of cyclists all sharing a common joy of climbing.  It doesn’t matter whether you’re a world class cyclist, or someone who’s there doing their first mountain climb.  At the Domestique ride there’s a tonne of support, encouragement, and there’s always a Lantern Rouge to make sure that the last rider gets up and down with a smile on their face. 

Check out The Climbing Cyclists review of Mount Baw Baw


Entry is FREE so get along and enjoy! - Click here for more information