Heading over to the South Island of NZ later this month for a two week climbing trip. We are getting a camper and plan on heading to Castle Hill (Surprising!) up to Paynes Ford down to Dunedin then over to Wanaka and Queenstown. I was wondering if anybody has any old guide books they are wiling to part with or any suggestions on areas that really stand out, general info etc. We climb pretty much everything, hoping to get a bit of bouldering, sport and trad in.
Can't wait, feels like a day dream as I sit in the office on a Friday afternoon!
Wye Creek near Queenstown has some good sport climbing on really strange rock. Lovely views. The Darrens (Fiordland National Park near Milford Sound) has incredible alpine trad and sport climbing + several excellent single pitch sport crags - all on the very best quality granite. Don't believe the locals who tell you these areas are dry in any weather. If its predicted to rain for a week head elsewhere (Queenstown stays dry when the big mountains are wet - usually)
Wanaka has some so-so sport climbing. I thought it was mostly rubbish.
Lovers Leap at Dunedin is worth a day for the novelty factor of climbing giant organ pipe basalt columns on a sea cliff - some sport some trad. Watch for the sheep falling down the funnel of doom and being eaten by the seals.
Hangdog camp and Paynes is awesome. Really chilled vibe and well worth spending a good amount of time at. It's not Ceuse but the routes are all really interesting and the river is lovely. It's certainly got the Pines@Arapiles feel about the place.
I think that Hangdog might not suit everyone. I recognise that it is part of the scene but having a few other "chilled" out dudes decide that lighting a fire a few metres from our tent and then proceeding to swear and explode deoderant cans into the wee hours two nights in a row sure made our stay there unenjoyable. The climbing was OK, but I found the slopey limestone got a bit same same. Nice river though.
If I had my time in the South Island again I would:
1) climb more around Dunedin (we only bouldered on Long Beach [good fun] and the routes looked pretty fun);
2) take a bouldering pad (we were travelling light) and spend more time at the less travelled areas around Castle Hill (Flock Hill etc) with less polished footers; and
3) bunker in at Homer's Hut for a week+ in the Darrens and hope to do something big and adventurous.
China Wall (near Glen Orchy - Queenstown) has some quite fun multipitch sport (or maybe they were mixed - i can't remeber?) routes overlooking fantastic beech forest river country. Its about an hour walk in but along a typical NZ Nat Park super highway.
I agree with bringing a bouldering matt if you can! NZ has world-class bouldering, but not a lot of world class roped climbing (apart from the Darrens which is really weather dependent). Even an anti-boulderer such as myself had a lot of fun in the massive boulder playground of the Castle Hill region. Very inspiring!