The best place to go rock climbing near Sydney are the Blue Mountains with their great range of climbing to suit all abilities and ethics. For pure sport climbing then head to Nowra, the place where sport climbing blossomed in Australia. Point Perpendicular located south of Nowra provides some sea cliff climbing in a beautiful environment.
The Blue Mountains are located approximately 100km to the west of Sydney, and are often described as the best climbing in the Sydney area. This stunning mountain range is effectively a huge plateau surrounded on all sides by sandstone cliffs. Here there is an almost endless diversity of crags and climbing styles from single pitch sport crags to long multi-pitch trad routes.
The most popular area is around Blackheath and Mount Victoria, which offers the highest concentration of quality climbing in the Blue Mountains. Blackheath is the centre of the main climbing hub and has an array of coffee shops and bakeries that provides a very civilized start to the climbing day.
The sandstone here is not always suited to trad climbing, so the ethic is mixed climbing on traditional gear and bolts. As a rule the easier climbing is mostly trad, the intermediate climbing is a mixture of trad and sport, whilst the harder climbing is mainly sport.
When is the best time to climb in the Blue Mountains? Rock climbing in the Blue Mountains is possible throughout the year though the best time seasons are spring (September to November) and autumn (March to May). In the winter (June to August) you will need to climb in the sun and in the summer (December-February) you will need to climb in the shade.
What are the best Blue Mountains guidebooks? The most comprehensive guidebook is called Blue Mountains Climbing, which covers the full range of climbing from single pitch sport routes to long multi-pitch traditional routes. It covers 55 different climbing areas and around 3,200 routes across a wide range of grades from Australian 14 to 28 (UK, VS 4c to E6 6b; or French 4 to 7c+). Buy this guidebook from our shop.
How to get there? The Blue Mountains is about an hour and a half’s drive from Sydney. There is a train line that runs right across the top of the Blue Mountains plateau stopping at many stations such as Blackheath, which are in very close proximity to the crags. There is also a bus service from Sydney. Most of the crags are within easy driving distance of each other, and in some cases easy walking distance.
Where to stay? Blackheath has a BMCC operated campground which offers security and showers and is in the centre of the main climbing hub. Katoomba has plenty of hostels, and bed and breakfast type places.
Nowra is the place where sport climbing really blossomed in Australia during the 1990’s, and is now one of largest sport climbing areas in the country. The vast majority of the routes are fully bolted with high quality expansion or glue-in bolts along with lower-off anchors.
The sport climbing at Nowra is in a beautiful urban setting, with many of the sandstone crags sitting in valleys carved out by the Shoalhaven River. The climbing is mainly characterized by steep and powerful routes, though there are also slabby routes to be found. There are around 1,500 routes at Nowra, with the majority of the climbing graded at 18 (F6a) and above. However the greatest concentration of routes are in the 20 to 24 grade range (F6b to F7a+). Thompson’s Point is the best known and most popular crag at Nowra that also happens to have the best range of grades to suit all climbers.
The Nowra rock climbing guidebook is the definitive guidebook for Nowra and it describes over 1,500 sport climbing routes. It covers both the city crags and the crags scattered around the nearby bush.
How to get to Nowra? Nowra is a 3-hours’ drive south of Sydney, with most of the crags accessible within a 5 minute walk.
Point Perpendicular is a beautiful seaside climbing area just a 45 minute drive southeast of Nowra. These extensive sandstone sea cliffs offer an excellent mixture of trad, mixed and sport sea cliff climbing with a fantastic atmosphere.
Point Perpendicular is located within a Navy Weapons Range, who control access. It is generally open during weekends and school holidays.