The best places to rock climbing and sport climbing around Melbourne are at Mount Arapiles, The Grampians and Mount Buffalo, which are all situated in the Australian state of Victoria.
Mount Arapiles is a spectacular island of hard quartzite sandstone rock and is often described as the best traditional rock climbing area in Australia. This super hard sandstone rock is ideally suited to solid nut and cam placements. The vast majority of the routes at Mount Arapiles, across all grades, are well protected using traditional gear. Though there are some routes that are completely bolted, these are rare. Usually bolts are used for a section of a route that cannot be naturally protected that in essence is still a trad route. Though there are multi-pitch routes up to 150m long, the vast majority of the routes are single pitch. There are well over 1,200 routes at Mount Arapiles across a wide range of grades, ensuring there is something for everyone.
Mount Arapiles is located the town of Natimuk, which is around 300km from Melbourne. The access to these routes is easy and relatively short, with a convenient campsite at the base of the mountain. It is possible to climb all year round at Mount Arapiles though the spring (September to November) and particular the autumn (March to May) are the best times to climb. During the autumn the weather is usually warm and dry giving perfect climbing conditions. During the summer when it is hot there are plenty of shaded gullies to climb in, whilst during the winter is the wettest period.
Mount Arapiles rock climbing guidebooks. There are a couple of guidebooks available for Mount Arapiles, with the comprehensive guidebook simply called “Arapiles Selected Climbs”. Mount Arapiles is also featured in the guidebook describing the best rock climbing venues in Victoria, which is called “Sublime Climbs”. Both of these guidebooks are available to buy from our shop.
Though the Grampian are located very close to Mount Arapiles the situation and the character of the climbing is completely different. The Grampians is a vast, mountainous and forested park, which is stunningly beautiful. In fact The Grampians is Australia’s largest rock climbing area, with over 6,000 routes, that is spread out over a large area with some of the crags in remote locations. Whilst access to some crags is easy and quick, there are some that require lengthy approaches into remote wilderness along rough dirt roads and faint walking tracks. Here you will be rewarded with some excellent rock climbing that will give you captivating views and a chance to experience adventure climbing at its best.
The Grampians offers a wide range of rock climbing across all grades on sandstone rock. This varies from short hard sport routes to multi-pitch routes providing some great adventure climbing. The majority of the routes are traditionally protected with nuts and cams, though there is the occasional bolt where no other protection is possible. However there are still plenty of pure bolted sport routes, though these tend to be in the higher grades.
The Grampians are located between the towns of Halls Gap and Dunkeld just south of Horsham, approximately 300km from Melbourne. There many official campsites within the park, which generally provide toilets, picnic tables, and fireplaces, but often there will not be tap water. The best time to go rock climbing in the Grampians is during the late spring and early autumn, with the summer generally too hot.
The Grampians rock climbing guidebooks. There is a selective guidebook called “Grampians Climbing” that details over 1,200 of the best routes across 61 different crags. Alternatively the Grampians are featured in the guidebook describing the best rock climbing venues in Victoria, which is called “Sublime Climbs”. These guidebooks are available to buy from our shop.
Mount Buffalo National Park is a granite plateau in northwest Victoria that is 1,500m above sea level and provides alpine style climbing. The climbing here is split into two very distinct styles; a 300m deep gorge and slabs on top of the plateau. The gorge gives long, steep, crack traditionally protected climbing, whilst the slabs provide delicate bolt protected sport routes. Rock climbing at Mount Buffalo is very much a seasonal affair, with the summer months from November to March being the best time to climb.
Mount Buffalo rock climbing guidebooks. Mount Buffalo is featured in the guidebook describing the best rock climbing venues in Victoria, which is called “Sublime Climbs”. This guidebook is available to buy from our shop.