Subscribe      List an Event or Business      Invite a Writer      Write for WN      Writers      Other Locations
list an event      1 million Australian readers every month      facebook

The Templestowe Hill Climb

Home > Melbourne > Family | Free | Health and Fitness | Unusual Things to do | Walks
by ElizaDoLots (subscribe)
"The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity" - Dorothy Parker
Published September 13th 2020
Strife in the fast lane
The Templestowe Hill Climb
Hill Climb Information Board

For better or worse, CoViD-19 has reshaped our world this year. For those of us whose everyday lives are currently lived within a Truman-like, 10km-wide bubble, the challenge has been making the most of our daily allowance of fresh air and freedom. Truly, a little canny planning goes a long way when you can't.

Our own family (two parents plus two older screenagers) have embraced walking and cycling in a major way in recent months. Our daily forays have opened our eyes to the existence of a multitude of unmapped trails (some forged by wheel, others by wombat) within the less populated patches of parkland in our permitted zone. One such place is Tikalara Park, an area of preserved open space to the north of Templestowe.

The Templestowe Hill Climb
Start of The Hill Climb Walk, Tikalara Park

Besides its network of organically-formed paths, the Park accommodates a 2km stretch of the Mullum Mullum Trail. The Trail skirts around the side of Parkway Place Lake and the bottom end of a somewhat incongruous estate of modern, manicured properties. Blink as you pass, and you'd easily miss the information board opposite the Lake, together with a site that motor-racing enthusiasts feel has earned a place in Australian racing history: The Templestowe Hill Climb Circuit.

The Templestowe Hill Climb
The Templestowe Hill Climb Circuit

Partly obliterated by the residential estate now occupying the area, the Templestowe Hill Climb was a 969-metre long, car-racing track at the southern end of Tikalara Park, designed and constructed in 1951 by the Victorian Sporting Car Club. Competitors, usually amateurs, would take it in turns to race their cars up the three-metre wide, one-kilometre long track, in as short a time as possible, racing against the clock.

Described as the steepest stretch of bitumen road in Australia, one 100-metre section of the track known as "The Wall" has a breathtaking gradient of 1 in 2.5 feet. Unsealed for the first year of use, this section succeeded in thwarting most attempts to scale it.

The Templestowe Hill Climb
Approaching The Wall on The Hill Climb Track

A total of 99 multi-club hill climbs were held at Templestowe during its 36-year history. The encroachment of development, in particular aforementioned estate, ultimately forced the Hill Climb's closure in 1987, the MG Car Club holding their last annual meeting at the site that December. According to one newspaper report, by the time the Hill Climb closed the track surface was in dire need of repair and missing whole sections of sealed track. One good run up the track was said to be the equivalent of 5,000 miles of wear on a car's suspension.

The Templestowe Hill Climb
"The Wall", Templestowe Hill Climb Track

A couple of hundred metres of the original track, including "The Wall" section which would have signalled the halfway point of the original track, is still visible and conquerable, though a moderate level of cardiovascular fitness is recommended if you plan to ascend it and want to live to tell the tale. This remnant section of track forms part of a signed, Council-maintained trail known as the Templestowe Hill Climb Walk.

The Templestowe Hill Climb
Top of the hill, Templestowe Hill Climb

To experience the full 2.7km trail, start your walk at the carpark next to Beasley's Nursery, just off Heidelberg-Warrandyte Road. A signed path (part of the Mullum Mullum Trail) leads from the playground beyond the carpark to Parkway Place lake, roughly 700m away. A link to a map and details of the Templestowe Hill Climb Walk can be found on Manningham Council's website, here. Get set and go...and don't forget your stopwatch.

The Templestowe Hill Climb
Harry Firth on The Wall in 1955 in his MG-Holden

The Templestowe Hill Climb
Looking down at The Wall in 2020

Help us improve  Click here if you liked this article  101
Share: email  facebook  twitter
Why? For a nostalgic, heart-racing hike up a hillside
When: Daylight hours advised
Phone: 03 9840 9333
Where: Parkway Place Lake, The Parkway, Templestowe 3106
Cost: Free
Your Comment
What an informative and nostalgic article Eliza. I attended a meeting there almost 60 years ago, when you could wander around the competing cars, speak to the drivers and admire the cars up close. Thanks for the memories, Neil.
by Neil Follett (score: 3|4043) 609 days ago
This looks like a really clear and safe path to enjoy and explore the area. Great spot
by Gillian Ching (score: 3|4641) 609 days ago
There's some great history and COVID restrictions mean people are getting their home turf a lot better than they otherwise might.
by Gayle Beveridge (score: 3|9626) 595 days ago
Articles from other cities
Top Events
Popular Articles