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Feb

05 2014

Imagine you are riding along a gorgeous road in the middle of an untamed forest. This road twists and turns so much that you no longer know the direction in which you are heading. There are no cars or technology to distract you. You’re  lost in the wilderness. You just have to trust the road and the journey that it will take you on. Welcome to the Matterhorn. 

 "There are no cars or technology to distract you. You’re  lost in the wilderness. You just have to trust the road and the journey that it will take you on"

The Matterhorn (definition) – an amusement ride which consists of a number of cars attached to axles that swing in and out. The winding hill and valley shape of the ride causes a pronounced swinging motion: the faster the ride goes, the more dramatic the swinging motion.’ The 60 kilometre section of endlessly winding and undulating road between Eildon and Jamieson in Victoria's northeast is ‘The Matterhorn’ of cycling. Although there are other cycling roads around Australia that are famous for their curvature, this one twists and turns unceasingly for almost 60 kilometres!  And whilst this is a problem for some motorists prone to motion sickness, it is perfect for cycling. You would be hard pressed to find another road in Australia that is so naturally beautiful and yet, so free of traffic.  

  

It is even reported that some travellers take a 130 kilometre detour when driving between Eildon and Jamieson just to avoid the snaking roads of the Matterhorn. And considering we only passed three cars whilst we were on the road, there is probably some truth to the story. Starting on the shore of Lake Eildon, the ride immediately heads skyward as you turn left onto the Eildon-Jamieson Road and enter the rugged hills and dense forests of the Lake Eildon National Park.

  

  

  

  

After this initial climb (6.9km at 6%), the road will take you swerving beneath the thick forest canopy and gradually take you back to the valley floor to the beautiful river crossings of Big River and Woods Creek. It’s upwards again from here to the lower slopes of Mount Terrible where you will find some stunning lookouts across Lake Eildon and the National Park. Once you’ve reached the scenic lookout at the top, it’s all downhill into Jamieson on one of the best descents you’ll ever experience and the undeniable highlight of this ride. It’s not overly steep and there aren’t any inspirational switchbacks but the never-ending twists and turns, the constant gradient and remarkable views make it close to the perfect descent. 

It’s not overly steep and there aren’t any inspirational switchbacks but the never-ending twists and turns, the constant gradient and remarkable views make it close to the perfect descent. 

  

  

  

  

  

The charming country town of Jamieson, nestled beneath the Australian Alps provides the ideal setting to have lunch or even enjoy some of the locally brewed beers before making the return ride to Eildon. Don’t spend too much time indulging though as you are immediately greeted by the major climb of the day up the eastern slopes of Mount Terrible (9.1km at 5.8%). Unlike the name suggests, the climb itself is actually surprisingly enjoyable with the steady gradient (rarely above 7%) allowing you to find a comfortable rhythm. Although you’d think that you would become bored of the road on the return trip, it’s just one of those rides that you could do over and over again without ever losing interest.

  

  

  

  

MATTERHORN

Start
Eildon
Category
Road
Distance
119 km
Max Elevation
890 m
Elevation Gain
2798 m

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