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Rock climbing in Tasmania

Tasmania is a mountainous island that is unique in the Australian climbing scene for its remote wilderness crags, boasting some of the biggest cliffs in Australia, along with a wide range of sea cliffs.  As with many other crags in Australia, it is possible to have Trad and sport routes next to each other on the same crag, whilst a small number of crags are purely sport or Trad. 

Major rock climbing areas in Tasmania
No Crag Name Type of rock Style of climbing Single or Multi pitch Max Hieght of routes
1 Hillwood Basalt Sport Single 25m
2 Cataract/South Esk Dolerite Sport & Trad Single 30m
3 North Esk Dolerite Sport & Trad Single 20m
4 Ben Lomond Dolerite Trad Both 200m
5 Stacks Buff Dolerite Trad Both 175m
6 South Sister Dolerite Sport & Trad Single 25m
7 Bare Rock Dolerite Sport & Trad Both 180m
8 Blackwood Rocks Sandstone Sport Single 20m
9 Freycinet Granite Sport & Trad Both 70m
10 Frenchman Cap Quartzite Trad Multi-pitch 330m
11 Adamsfield Conglomerate Sport Single 20m
12 Organ Pipes Dolerite Sport & Trad Both 120m
13 Tasmania Peninsula Dolerite Sport & Trad Both 100m
14 Mt Brown Dolerite Sport & Trad Both 225m

Map of the main rock climbing areas in Tasmania

Map of the main rock climbing areas in Tasmania

The above map along with the table opposite shows the main rock climbing areas in Tasmania.  This information has been extracted from the Climb Tasmania guidebook, which is available from our shop.

The best rock climbing areas in Tasmania are as follows….

The South Esk River area and the Cataract Gorge provide 850 routes on Dolerite cliffs up to 30m high in central Launceston.  Here there a combination of Trad jamming cracks along with bolted faces and aretes.  15 minutes on the other side of Launceston is the North Esk area with 300 routes.

The Free Route on the Totem Pole in TasmaniaBen Lomond is Australia’s premier crack climbing venue that is about 45 minutes drive from Launceston in an Alpine setting.  This purely Trad climbing area has 100m perfect parallel cracks on dolerite columns giving marathon jamming routes, though there are also some excellent face routes as well.

Hillwood is the largest sport climbing area in Tasmania that is just 25 minutes from Launceston.  Here there are 145 bolted routes on basalt rock across a wide range of grades from 15 to 28 (Australian grades). There is a great variety of climbing at Hillwood from roofs, steep face climbing, slabs, with slopers, razor sharp crimps, large blocks and side pulls.

Blackwood Rocks is a lovely sandstone sport climbing area with around 30 face routes between 15 to 20m long, about an hour’s drive from Launceston.

Bare Rock is a 200m high dolerite face at Fingal that has both sport climbing and classic big Trad multi-pitch routes, across a wide range of grades. Most of the sport routes start on a ledge 100m off the ground giving exposed, steep endurance climbing on good quality rock.

Freycinet is the place to visit for superb granite sea cliff climbing on the east coast of Tasmania near Coles Bay that is often described as Australia’s best sea cliff climbing area. Here there is a great variety of sport and Trad climbing with both single and multi-pitch routes in great positions above the sea.

The Tasman Peninsula near Hobart is another great sea cliff climbing area, with the amazing sea stacks of the Moai and the 65m long Totem Pole.  There is also some steep single pitch sport climbing at Paradiso. The photograph opposite shows the Simon Mentz climbing “The Free Route” on the Totem Pole crag.  This photograph is by Simon Carter and it appears in the Climb Tasmania Guidebook, which can be bought from our shop.

Organ Pipes has around 350 routes in a spectacular alpine setting just 20 minutes from Hobart. There are many excellent Trad routes up to 3-pitches long along with a growing number of sport routes on steep faces and aretes.

Adamsfield is a conglomerate sport climbing area about 2 hours from Hobart in a wilderness area.  These crags provide steep and difficult bolted routes.

Climb Tasmania rock climbing guidebookLogistic of rock climbing in Tasmania

Getting to Tasmania is easy with either an overnight ferry from Melbourne to Devonport or fly into Launceston or Hobart from any major city in Australia.  A cat is essential for visiting Tasmania’s crags so either hire one or bring your own on the ferry.   It is possible to climb at many crags throughout the year, and Tasmania is the best place to go rock climbing in Australia during the summer.

The Climb Tasmania guidebook is a good selective guidebook to the island, which describes 850 routes at Tasmania’s 25 best crags.  Buy the Climb Tasmania guidebook from our shop.

Rock climbing photographs of Tasmania Rock climbing photographs of Tasmania Rock climbing photographs of Tasmania Rock climbing photographs of Tasmania Rock climbing photographs of Tasmania Rock climbing photographs of Tasmania Rock climbing photographs of Tasmania Rock climbing photographs of Tasmania

Click on the above thumbnails to view a larger photograph.