A zig-zag mountain road: Is Jacob’s Ladder Australia’s scariest road?

16:05 01/08/2022

Countless fascinating and adventurous trails cross the vast Australian landscapes. From dusty outback gravel roads to muddy jungle tracks, Australia has much to offer. But one road outshines them all – Jacob’s Ladder in Tasmania’s Ben Lomond National Park.

Jacob’s Ladder, Tasmania, is one of the scariest drives in Australia. It’s a series of tight hairpin turns on the Ben Lomond Road, climbing up towards the summit of Ben Lomond Mountain.

The Ben Lomond Road – aka the C432 – is just under 18km long. It starts at Upper Blessington, 42km east of Launceston. The most challenging part of the spectacular road is a series of 6 hairpin turns known as Jacob’s Ladder.

The gravelled road reaches an elevation of 1,570m above sea level and offers sublime, rocky views of the mountain and out across the surrounding landscape.

Hairpin turns on Jacob’s Ladder, Tasmania

Jacob’s Ladder, however, is by far the most famous section of this road. It features six hairpin turns as the Ben Lomond Road painstakingly makes its way up the escarpment. The road is unpaved, and subject to ice and snow well outside the usual winter months. From June to September, snow chains are required.

Jacob’s Ladder is not paved, but it is kept in relatively good condition. A four wheel drive vehicle is recommended, but not absolutely essential.

Jacob’s Ladder lookout

Once you’ve completed the hair-raising drive up Jacob’s Ladder, there is a lookout where you can gaze down upon what you’ve just conquered. Pull over for a photo, because you’ve earned it.

Most visitors head into the Ben Lomond National Park for the skiing, but it’s worth coming in summer for the wildlife.

Bennett’s wallabies and wombats are regularly spotted around the ski village, while pademelons tend to hang out in the gullies.

Australia’s scariest road?

Whether Jacob’s Ladder is Australia’s scariest road is a matter of interpretation. It’s not as rough and remote as the likes of the Canning Stock Route in Western Australia, and it doesn’t involve crocodile-filled river crossings like Cahills Crossing in Kakadu National Park. But for sheer photogenic drama, Jacob’s Ladder, Tasmania, is tough to beat.

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