Climbing & Bouldering Around Town
Climbing & Bouldering in Melbourne
| Burnley Wall PDF Guide
Melbourne is the largest city in Victoria, situated on the south-eastern coast of Australia.
(See map). The
nearest outdoor climbing within an hour from Melbourne, with a decent
sized crag, is Werribee Gorge
or possibly Camel's Hump,
though there are closer, but smaller cliffs. Slightly further away (over
the hour), you might look into Warragul
Rocks at Tallarook, or the larger destination of Cathedral
Range. The You Yangs has
hundreds of routes only 40 minutes drive away, and Ben Cairn is also fairly close
by, though only a summer destination. Eventually, however, you'll need to make the long drive (3 to 4
hours), to Mt Arapiles, the
Mt Buffalo to
experience some real climbing. Have fun!
Apart from the gyms, there isn't much to
climb in town, however a few options do exist, mainly bouldering on
bluestone walls, below railway bridges and the like. Please send photos
(that you own), additions or corrections to this guide to Chockstone.
Note: Chockstone is NOT suggesting that it is either safe or legal to
climb on any of the structures mentioned below.
Burnley Wall, McConchie Reserve. (Access
is via the southern end of Mary Street, Burnley, Melway reference 2M
Download PDF for latest guide!
From Swan St Richmond, turn into Coppin St
on the KFC side of the road. Go to the end and turn left into Barkly
Avenue. Pass through the Parks Victoria entranceway and park you
vehicle. Wander down the gravel driveway towards the river, turn
right and walk across the floating pontoon bridge, and after approx
50m you're there!
Three routes went up on the 30
degree wall. All routes are designed so that you can climb them in
Black: Juggy route, graded at 17/18 going from left to right, or grade 18
from right to left.
Pink: Circuit route, designed so you can climb around in circles, or in a
figure 8 shape, in any direction. The top row of holds go at grade
22, the bottom row at approx 24.
Yellow: Approx grade 25. Fantastically bouldery.
- From Jacqui Middleton. Photo by Neil Monteith.
Trail/Mac Roberston Bridge (Melways 58
G2, 2H G12)
On your way down to the aforementioned Burnley Overpass, you'll
notice some glued on holds, painted grey to match the retaining
wall, along side the Capital City Trail from Yarra Boulevard as you
walk beside the freeway heading west. They go for about 20m, with
several missing. The moves may have been good once, but the paint
job and missing holds, combined with feet on continous hortizontal
groove, don't make for much excitement.
Richmond Bridge (Melways
Bouldering under the railway
bridge is quite popular. Access is via Yarra Boulevard where the
railway line crosses the Yarra, midway between Bridge Rd and Swan St.
There are three bolted lines (see first pic) on the river side with
fixed hangers, two with two bolts and one with three bolts. The
later one at least looks worth bringing a rope and some draws. Try
not to land in the drink! A low tunnel area offers limited
traversing, but the better, taller traversing is beside the traffic
(see last pic). Crimps, crimps and more crimps.
"It once was THE training venue. Pre gyms and Burnley." -
Using all blocks grade 22
5 and under grade 26
6 and 1 grade 29 there is a hard move in the middle of this
7 and 2 grade 27
Using all blocks grade 23
5 and under grade 27
6 and 1 grade 27
7 and 2 grade 27
4 and under grade 31+ project
Grade 23 Left to right
Using capstone warm-up traverse
(Melways 30 F10)
About 150m long, and 12m at it's highest this is a way cool wall.
It's got everything you look for in a suburban bouldering locale. A
quiet street with little or no traffic or onlookers. A nice grassy
landing zone. Plenty of height, in a fact it might even require a
top rope at it's highest point. Rough hewn bluestone blocks
providing great holds, which if they are too easy can be made harder
by elimination. Easy access, you can park right next to the wall.
Basically it's got everything! Access is via Timmins St, Northcote. It is the retaining wall as High St
climbs from Westgarth St to Charles St.
06/07/2003: "Watch out for bees in the
vegetation growing out of the wall near the Charles St end" -
|Edgewater Lake Park
(Melways page 28 11C)
"What's the fascination with Richmond Bridge? The wall is
noisy, small and as slippery as British limestone. Try out Edgewater
in Maribynong (Melways page 28 11C). Park in Pipemakers Park and walk
in (or cycle the bike trail like I do). The wall is 150m long and
quite sustained (for a traverse!). I've been climbing there for a few
years but previously had to sneak in. It's now part of Edgewater Lake
park. Just hope they don't decide to pull it down as it is the best
bluestone wall in Melbourne." -
Hill Reserve, Tullamarine Airport (Melways map 178
"I found a few granite boulders perched on a grassy hill. They
are nothing special but they would certainly have to be some of the
nearest real rock bouldering to the Melbourne CBD. Most of the
problems would be very easy - but a few contrived harder climbs could
be done. There is a 7m high granite slab as well which has a few fun
friction problems with a tricky overlap on the left side. This place
is certainly not worth a full day trip - but if you in live in the
area they would be a nice afterwork diversion. The rock is coarse
grained and heavily featured. with similar in quality and texture to
Lysetrfield." - Neil Monteith.
|Heidelberg Road Bridge, Merri
Creek (Melways 44 G10)
About 12 metres high and 35 metres long, this bridge offers both bolted (carrots)
and natural protection. Access is via the carpark on the Clifton
Hill side of the creek, with a short walk down the bike path.
"Heidelberg bridge would have to be the best of the lot for
climbing. Just watch the beehive. The traverse under can be fairly
scary, but worth while anyway. Bomber purple camalot slot up there
too" - Alister.
"Its where Heidelberg road crosses the Merri creek, IT CAN BE
CLIMBED ON GEAR and it has a bolted route. In my opinion it is the
best "crag" within the Melbourne zone 1,2 area. Check it
out. Its close to Clifton Hill station too" - Joe.
Using all blocks grade 22
Including top block, no gaps between blocks grade 27 *
Top block including gaps grade 25
Under top block including gaps grade 24
* would be a fair bit more difficult on the technical crux if you are
under 6 foot tall.
Overpass, Merri Creek (Melways
Has a bluestone bridge which offers some
bouldering by traversing around the base of the central pylon. If it's
been raining a lot, this may mean getting your feet wet. Basically,
you'd be far better off at the nearby Northcote Wall (see above).
Possibly at some distant point in the past the creek may have been
pretty, but now it's cluttered with garbage, and home to graffiti
rather than tranquil surrounds.
"The photos actually show the Epping line overpass. It's just
down the creek from the Hurstbridge one and if anything is much
better. infact I don't think the Hurstbridge overpass has anything
climbable on it at all though about 20 meters up stream is high
street overpass which on the non city side has an alright traverse
of doom over the river (unless there's not enough water in the creak
in which case its a mud traverse of doom!)." - Joe.
Mt Studley (Melways 44 G4)
A bluestone pillar approximately 6 to 7 metres high.
Contains some bolted lines. Not far from the Heidelberg Road Bridge
(see above). Access is via Johnson street bridge.
"On the Kew side of Yarra River, by the Johnston Street Bridge,
is a tall stone wall. This is the remains of the old bridge, better
known as the infamous Mount Studley. This bouldering site offers
steep vertical climbing. The site even offers two bolted routes at
about 10m (remember to bring bolt plates). Under
the new Johnston Street Bridge, about 100 meter further down, is a
traverse made of glued up stones and holds. Unfortunately it is
quite deteriorated and limited. Most of the holds removed
(interesting how all the plastic holds went and not the natural ones!) and is
not climbable anymore.". - Martin
Vestol. ( Photo By Martin Vestol).
Creek Glue Up
"Theres a glue up on a flood retaining wall that's almost opposite Mt
Studley (up stream 100m). Its about 6-9 meters tall with holds going all the
way to the top including some bolt on holds.... i put the first ones there, but
they nearly all broke off due to the crap cement, it was a low traverse......
now there's a heap or train track rocks glued all the way up and quite a few
holes drilled as there as if more bolt on holds to come... " -
Bridge (St Kilda Rd) (Melways 43 J10)
Another bluestone bouldering area located very inner city under the Princess
Bridge (St Kilda Rd) between South bank and Flinders Street Station. South Bank
side has two long hard traverses (22+) whilst the Flinders Street Side is grade
20ish with bigger jugs and much better feet. There is little in the way of
worthwhile vertical problems. The area is moderately waterproof but tends to
seep. Another problem is bird poop and gawking tourists. Access is via Flinders St Station to the river
bank under St Kilda Road where the pedestrian underpass exists.
Balaclava Bridges (Melways
58 D12) - Contributed by Neil Monteith
These two bluestone train bridges offer similar climbing
to Richmond Bridge but are slightly taller and
contain smaller holds. The main wall is about fifteen
metres wide and about grade 24. The inner walls
of the bridges are juggy with numerous cracks that
could be led on gear if you wanted. There are two bolted
7m routes which are fairly contrived and about grade
20. Parking is easy and always available right next
to the bridge. Locals are not used to climbers so expect
the odd stare and traffic jams as people wonder what
you are doing to ‘their’ bridge. It is worth bringing
a crash pad as the landings are bitumen. The two
bridges are located on Grosvenor St and Nightingale
St in Balaclava, just over the Nepean Hwy from
Elwood. (Photo by
St Kilda Botanical Gardens (Melways
58 B12) - Contributed by Neil Monteith
Bouldering on a toilet block made of sandstone blocks with
a nice grassy landing. Just don’t try and top out or
you might get arrested for being a peeping tom! The three
sides of the block equal about 40m of grade 20ish
traverse on crimpers, sideclings and pockets. A few
eliminate vertical problems can be also be done. Located
next to the Conservatory off Herbet Street in Elwood. (Photos by
North Road Railway Bridge
(Melways 67 G7)
Bouldering under the bluestone railway bridge. Access is where North Road comes off the
Nepean Hwy. Basically not worth it. You'll be bored inside of
10 minutes. A few chalked up holds show evidence of some small
number of disjointed problems, but they go nowhere very fast. What's
worse, the constant North road traffic roars past merely a foot or
two from your landing zone, and seepage from the railway overhead
trickles down the slimly sections. Breath in the exhaust fumes if
Bluestone pillars where Bridge Road crosses the Yarra. Two
pillars on the Hawthorn side are bolted, as is one on the city side.
(Photo by Martin Lama)
South Eastern Freeway at Hawthorn
(Melways 59 E3)
Thin, vertical glue up traverse of approximately 20 metres under the
South Eastern Freeway at Hawthorn. From between the Cycle track and
Hockey fields, walk down into the concrete channel which is
Gardiners creek. Then go downstream 200 metres to where the freeway
crosses. Traverse is on the right wall. (Photo
Gum Park, Goldsworthy Lane in Plenty (Melways ref:
"There may be some potential climbing at Yellow Gum Park, last time I
was there I wasn't really into climbing so I didn't take any notice of
the rock face but from memory there is plenty of bouldering and maybe
a possibility of bolting. Yellow Gum Park is situated at the end of
Goldsworthy Lane in Plenty (Melways ref: 10 H5). The park is open from
8:00 AM to 8:00 PM during daylight saving and from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
outside of daylight saving" - Robert M.
|Scotch College - Glenferrie Rd.
Two lines going
at grade 17 and 15 near the concrete slab, plus some other stuff on
|Camberwell Trams Building
required to climb here. "Bits And Pieces" 12m grade 20 used
to be the corner crack but they repaired the it long ago, and it
doesn't exist anymore.
|Trinity College Wall (Melways
Trinity College, Parkville. Bouldering of fingery traverses.
|Roar 2 Studios
Corner of Brunswick St. Bouldering.
Pentridge Prison (Melways
Bouldering while the guards
aren't looking! Access via Champ St, Coburg.
Red Wall (Melways 29
A 10 metre bouldering traverse consisting of chipped and glued on holds. Access
is via "Capital City Trail" west of Royal Parade.
Eastern Freeway Soundbarrier (Melways
Bouldering five metres high and 35 metres long. The wall contains
protruding features. Access is via Linear Park, near Marlorie St,
Doncaster. Also another spot near the foot bridge at Carron St,
Fitzroy Town Hall
Bluestone bouldering, including windows and doors. In public view, so
try not to attract attention. Access is via Moore
Dights Falls (Melways 44 G3)
Numerous bouldering problems on broken, real rock (as opposed to man
made). Includes a small overhang. Nothing to write home about
though. Access is via Johnston St, Abbotsford,
on the Yarra River.
The Railway Cutting (Melways
40m long with possible top rope lines. Rock is loose in places. Access is
via "Capital City Trail" east of Manningham St, Parkville
near the Tullamarine Freeway.
"You walk past waiting to find
something which resembles climbing. Definitely never worth bothering with"
- Martin Lama.
Plenty Gorge, South Morang
(Melways 183 J11)
No more than 8
metres high on quarried, volcanic rock, offering around 18 routes.
Unfortunately on private property, so you'll need to gain permission
before climbing or face prosecution.
"Owner definitely won't agree to access. Don't bother trying to
convince him otherwise" - Martin Lama.
"8m high quarried bluestone edge that faces east. If you stand in the car
park shown in the melways next to the river, you should be able to see it
as you look due west across the road through the trees. My sneaky way of
getting to it (without passing any no entry signs or private fences etc,
is to cross the road opposite the car park entrance and jump the road
reserve fence, then wander up the path of least resistance through he
blackberries etc (a bit unpleasant) until you get to the right hand edge
of the outcrop (looking from the road). Once at the outcrop, you can't be
seen from the road, or from the private farmland to the west of the
outcrop. The outcrop is about 100 metres long, and has sections of utter
choss, and sections of good rock, with the good rock concentrated on the
left hand end. There are some doable solos, and some bouldering to be
found. Beware that although it is on the edge of private land and the road
reserve, I suspect it may be on private land, so you may be trespassing.
Not to sure. Anyway, its worth a look if you're in the area." - Owen.
Two Other Western Walls
Along the Marybrnong river, where the railway line crosses the river. The
Footscray side of the bridge has a good traverse, with a piton protected
route up the northern buttress. There's a bike track that provides easy
access to that side of the river. 5 mins ride from where Footscray Road
crosses the river, in a north direction.
Bluestone wall just north of Scienceworks
Almost under the Westgate
bridge. A continuous traverse would be fucking hard - it's very long and a
bit discontinuous - but there are cool up problems. Some of which are
initialled and marked with a white square!
"The wall is about 70m in length
but is relatively featureless compared
to the Richmond Bridge bluestone. Continuous traversing is very difficult
– I found one section about 10m in length at about V3. Longer link-ups
will be much harder. The ‘up’ problems are really the best feature of the
wall. Someone has left painted markings like BS, BF, A, & C at various
spots and these correspond to moderate
up problems. Harder ‘up’ problems abound but most just involve desperate
crimping. The landing is flat and grassy, with no risk of landing near the
road. A crash mat is definitely recommended for up problems. The easiest
line is at the big horizontal slot in the middle of the wall. Climb up to
the LH end of the slot, then up the left leading ‘crack’; it’s a bit
dirty. In sections the soft concrete grouting between the blocks is quite
crumbling and should be avoided" - Nick.
(Photos By Nick
Tower, Williamstown (Melways 56 F10)
Contributed by Peter Gamble
A “neverending” bluestone traverse on a near vertical to vertical wall,
depending on how high you are prepared to go. Easier than many of the
other bluestone traverses about town, which is probably about 16-17ish at
the lower level with one tricky spot near a door. Looks harder up higher.
There is also plenty of scope for some rather exciting missions launching
straight up any of the faces, although pro might be rather challenging to
arrange. Reputedly, a jar with $200 waits up the top for the first free
ascentionist. A seaside aspect and a nice grassy area to kick back on make
this area a pleasant place to do a few laps on a hot day.
Kennaway Boulder (Melways 56 C6) Contributed by
If you’re in the neighbourhood and have been to the Scienceworks wall as
well, why not reward yourself with a BBQ and a quick spin around the Lady
Kennaway boulder as well. There is one tricky bit in circumnavigating this
little potato, providing you keep your hands off the top of the boulder.
1. Boulders mainly above Singleton tk between Box tk and Marshall tce.
(Melways 52 D11)
2. Lookout Rock. (Melways 122 B7)
3. Reasonably cool wall under a Footscray railway bridge near the
TAFE. (Melways 42C6)
|Upfield Train Tracks
Two old bluestone warehouses opposite Upfield train tracks.
They are on the corner of Tinning Street and Colebrook Street in
Brunswick. Google-map the location if you want. Walls are about
40-50m long ( in total about 150m length) and about 6m high. These
are definitely some of the best bouldering walls in Melbourne
(comparable to the Northcote wall only these walls are vertical).
Nice and quiet here on Sundays. Best way to get there is take
Upfield train and get off at Moreland station- head back toward city
down Colebrook Street (about 300m walk). The warehouses are opposite
the rail lines. (Contributed by Charlie Babatsikos)
I found a cool little traverse around the corner from my place and I was
wondering if it would rate a mention on the Melbourne bouldering page? It's
located on the corner of Marara rd and Narrawong Rd in South Caufeild. It's 2m's
high and about 3 metres across. I've come up with a left and right traverse
starting on the back concave part (see picture) and I've found the way to make
it most interesting is to not use the top 2 stones. It's about a V2 at it's
hardest. Blue - right travers, sit start, straight into a bridge. Visa versa for
red. Finish on opposite arete on top. No using the plaques on the front. (Contributed by Steven Postle)
- Corner Grieve Parade & Dohertys road, Altona North. (Melways:
PH (03) 9369
6400. Some really good artificial rock surfaces. Lead
climbing possible. In a building that also has squash courts, weights gym,
etc. Has a small gear shop (which is also on-line), showers, etc. 20m
tall, the tallest in the Southern Hemisphere with more actual climbing
surface area than all the others, including the world famous AME wall. Friday
nights are 1/2 Price from 5:30pm. Also has a new
200sq mt Bouldering Cave, 2000 new uncarved block holds, it's own
air-conditioning, leather lounge area, BYO CD sound system, etc.
Hardrock - 16-18 Varman Court,
Nunawading. PH (03) 9894 4183. Tall routes on
"naturalistic" surfarces. Gear shop, cafe, and they offer
Factory - 1 Studley St Abbotsford - A 'boutique' bouldering only gym
catering to climbers of all abilities, with a bias towards the more
experienced climber training power.
Victorian Climbing Centre
- 12 Hartnett Drive Seaford. (03) 9782 4222. I've never been there.
See Links: Retailers
Mingy Goat Climbing Equipment -
Melbourne based makers of gym climbing holds.
Clubs & Organisations
*Victorian Climbing Club - The
VCC is based in Melbourne, but they do have regular climbing trips to
Arapiles, Grampians, Buffalo, etc. If you join up (about $50 a year),
you'll get 12 issues of "Argus", their newsletter, each year and
discounts from many retailers, including Rock Hardware in Bendigo. However, more importantly, you'll be
contributing to environmental and climbing access initiatives. They meet
informally each week, at some of the climbing gyms in Melbourne. I
recommend a visit to their web site. Phone 03 9462 3702 or via email email@example.com.
Mountaineering Club - Not sure if it's open to non-students.
RMIT Outdoors Club -
Non students can join. They run climbing trips to Arapiles & Grampains.
Based near Melbourne and looking to kick start a climbing career? I suggest
you head to a climbing gym (see above) with a friend or two and have a play.
If you enjoyed yourself and want to pursue the sport further, perhaps
getting outside on the real rock. Check out Dawn's
FAQ topic on getting started, and see the Chockstone book
reviews for recommended instructional media.
At this point you might investigate hiring a
climbing guide, attending a climbing course (eg, the VCC
courses), joining a club that offers
group climbing trips (eg VCC), or finding a climbing mentor. The concept of the
"climbing mentorship", is perhaps the traditional method of
getting involved. Find someone experienced and patient enough to take you
climbing outdoors and teach you the basics. Obviously this involves
becoming friends with an experienced climber. You should be able to find
some at the gym. I don't recommend buying
a heap of top rope gear, a book, and heading out to the crags with some
mates to work it out by yourselves, though this method is certainly how
many got into the sport. Good luck and above all, be safe!
See also the Links page, for
Climbing - Guide to bouldering around Melbourne.
Limit Bouldering - Where to boulder (not on plastic) around Melbourne.
Road Bridge, Mt
Studley - From Rockclimbing.com web site.
City Bouldering - A short
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