Climb Your Way Around Australia

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There’s no place better to reach for the skies than the land down under. Check out some of the best climbing spots in Australia.

Mt Arapiles, Victoria
It’s nearly impossible to mention rock climbing and Australia in the same sentence without someone bringing up Mt Arapiles. The—somewhat—small mountain hosts over 2000 routes and is considered the premier climbing mecca in the country. The praise is well-deserved. The sandstone walls here are a bit of something for everyone, from beginners to hardened dirtbaggers, and can be climbed year-round. Just make sure you get there early, because with the amount of people waiting to climb the most popular routes you could be waiting awhile.

Coles Bay, Tasmania
If sea cliffs are more your thing, there’s no better place than Coles Bay on Tasmania’s eastern coastline. The granite cliffs here range from beginner routes to multi-pitch, and appropriately named, routes like the Hazards. There’s actually plenty to do all along the Freycinet Peninsula, and if you want to take a break from climbing you can enjoy some paddle boarding or kayaking in your free time.

Point Perpendicular, New South Wales
Another coastal spot, Point Perpendicular is another popular spot but caters more to trad climbing than anything else. The sandstone cliffs are located close to a military weapons range, meaning that it’s only open to the public at specific times and, unless you want to dodge stray bullets during your climb, you should probably call ahead. The area is a huge tourist attraction, so your best bet is visit in the winter to avoid the crowds.

Glass House Mountains, Queensland
Glass House Mountains is supposedly where technical climbing began in Australia, with the first ascent occurring in the late 1800s. Because of this, they’re very protection of their routes. Re-bolting existing routes is prohibited and considered extremely poor etiquette. That’s perfectly fine, though, because there are more than enough routes to make everyone happy. Most of the existing ones cater to trad climbers, though there is plenty for beginners as well.

Blue Mountains, New South Wales
If you’re visiting Sydney and need an escape from the city, head west to the Blue Mountains. The sandstone plateau has everything from multipitch trad climbs to single-pitch sport routes, but is also full of unclimbed walls just waiting for someone to make the first ascent.

Kalbarri Western Australia
Kalbarri is famous for its sport climbing, with the Promenade being revered world-wide, but that doesn’t mean that it’s without its charms for trad climbers, as well. Made of sandstone, the area is still full of places for trad climbers to lay down the first route. Kalbarri is also known for its excellent abseiling, so if you’re looking to try out a new sport in your down time this might be the place to do it.

Umbrawarra Gorge, NT
This one is a little tricky to access, but the rewards and the uniqueness are worth it. The Umbrawarra Gorge is owned by Aboriginals and, therefore, a permit is required to climb it. The permit requires someone certified in teaching rock climbing, so you’re probably going to need a local to tag along with you. Aside from the beautiful, and somewhat challenging overhangs and slabby walls, you’ll have the fun experience of climbing on a sacred site of burial grounds. Just remember, bolting is prohibited.

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