Hobart’s Top 10 Climbs, #3: Bonnet Hill

Iain climbs Bonnet on casual coffee run Friday

This is the eighth post of a series on some of the great road cycling climbs around Hobart. You can be notified of new posts in the series by following me on Twitter.  What am I doing sitting at the computer when I could be out on one of these climbs?

Earlier in the series:

There is little doubt in my mind that Bonnet Hill is the most popular climb in Hobart. Bonnet Hill lies on the Channel Highway between Hobart and Kingston, just south of Taroona, and is the usual commuting route for most riders from Kingston. It is also very popular in bunch rides. In this blog, I’ll look at both the Northern and the Southern approaches.

Bonnet Hill is not a difficult climb, although the Southern approach is somewhat steeper and longer than the Northern side.

The defining landmark of the Northern approach is the 150 year old Shot Tower, for a time the tallest building in the southern hemisphere. The builder of the Shot Tower practiced by making a small tower on his house first, before constructing the full tower — all without any formal learning on how to do it. The Shot Tower slides into view shortly after leaving the last houses of Taroona behind. There is some dissension on where the climb “officially” starts for competitive purposes, but most riders I know mark the start when they pass the southern end of the Taroona Hotel.

The road winds about before reaching the Shot Tower — this is the “hardest” bit of the climb, and still not hard. Soon after passing the Shot Tower you’ll come across a neglected bike lane — it’s fine on a mountain bike but if you are on thin road tyres you’ll probably prefer to stick to the car lane. From there it’s an easy climb to the summit. Unless you are trying to do it at 30 km/h!

The Southern approach starts with a steep 14% pinch called “Golf Course Corner”. It doesn’t last long, but it does take the wind out of your sails! From there, the climb continues at a much more reasonable gradient, with some great views over Storm Bay on your right. It is a little harder than the Northern approach, but it’s still not a huge climb.

I find that both sides of the climb can be done without much difficulty in the big ring, with an average gradient of less than 5% in both cases. Being a popular climb, there are lots of riders competing for KOM honours; check the Strava links below to see if the medal is within your reach!

The only issue with this climb is that there can be a fair amount of traffic at some times of day. There are no overtaking zones on either side of the hill, and the road is quite narrow. However, as the speed limit is 60 km/h, and there are plenty of places with enough visibility to safely pass, this does not typically pose a big problem; a little courtesy and awareness go a long way.  There have been noises about constructing proper bike lanes on the hill, but no traction so far.

Your challenge for this climb: I’ll give you two achievable options: ride both sides in the big ring, or ride the Taroona side no hands.

Next up, my bête noire

Bonnet Hill (North)
Distance 2.4km
Category 4
Elevation 100m
Gradient 4.2%
Maximum Gradient 7%
Time from city 20 minutes
Traffic medium-high
Strava http://app.strava.com/segments/629724

How to get to the climb: Follow Sandy Bay Road south through Taroona.

Bonnet Hill (South)
Distance 3.1km
Category 4
Elevation 153m
Gradient 4.9%
Maximum Gradient 15%
Time from city 35 minutes
Traffic medium-high
Strava http://app.strava.com/segments/629725

How to get to the climb: Ride the Northern approach, then down the Southern side…

The lower slopes of Bonnet hill are worth smiling about

Just before the Shot Tower

I counted something like 12 bicycle warning signs on Bonnet Hill

The shot tower comes into view

Beware of buses and cars towing boats

Ancient culverts and retaining walls

The bike lane on Bonnet hill

Lots of cyclists on Bonnet Hill

Getting near the top

The top is in sight

Many stop at the top to ‘discuss’ their exploits

Descending on the Kingston side

The 15% Golf Course Corner is the start of the Kingston approach

Golf Course Corner

Rob on Bonnet Hill (Kingston side)

Bonnet Hill

More riders out on the climb

The final ‘straight’ has its own segment on Strava

Other posts in this series:

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