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Climbing & Bouldering in Melbourne
[ Images | 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 Grampians or Mt Buffalo to experience some real climbing. Have fun!

 

 
Topics
Around Town
Gyms
Retailers
Manufacturers
Clubs
Beginners
Climbing & Bouldering Around Town   Push For The Summit
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 2B)
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 either direction.
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.
Burnley Path Traverse.Burnley 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, River SideRichmond Bridge, River SideRichmond Bridge, Next to road.* Richmond Bridge  (Melways 44 K11)
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." - Martin Lama.

Richmond Bridge, Tunnel Area.Richmond Bridge, River SideSuggested Problems:
River side
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

City side
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

Tunnel
River side
Minus capstone
Grade 23 Left to right

City side
Using capstone warm-up traverse

Northcote WallNorthcote WallNorthcote Wall  (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" - Tracey.
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." - Glenn.
Woodlands Hill Reserve, Tullamarine Airport (Melways map 178 A8)
"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.

Suggested Problems:
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.
Merri Creek, Hurstbridge Line overpassMerri Creek, Hurstbridge Line overpassHurstbridge Line Overpass, Merri Creek  (Melways 30 E11)
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 StudleyMt 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).
Merri 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... " - Joe.
Princes BridgePrincess 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.  (Photo by Neil Monteith).
Balaclava BridgeBalaclava BridgeBalaclava 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 Neil Monteith).
St Kilda BoulderSt Kilda BoulderSt 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 Neil Monteith).
North Road Railway BridgeNorth Road Railway BridgeNorth 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 you dare.
Hawthorn BridgeHawthorn Bridge  (Melways 44 J10)
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)
Hawthorn TraverseSouth 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 by Martin Lama)
Yellow Gum Park, Goldsworthy Lane in Plenty (Melways ref: 10 H5)
"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 bluestone.
Camberwell Trams Building
Permission is 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 43 F2)
Trinity College, Parkville. Bouldering of fingery traverses.
Roar 2 Studios
Corner of Brunswick St. Bouldering.
Photo By Jon Bassindale.Pentridge Prison  (Melways 17 J11)
Bouldering while the guards aren't looking! Access via Champ St, Coburg.
Red Wall  (Melways 29 G10)
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 32 H12)
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, Baldwin North.
Fitzroy Town Hall
Bluestone bouldering, including windows and doors. In public view, so try not to attract attention. Access is via
Moore St, Fitzroy.
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 29 D12)
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 Contributed By Tim
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 Contributed By TimBluestone wall near Science WorksBluestone wall near Science Works
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 Mckinnon)
Timeball 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.
Lady Kennaway Boulder (Melways 56 C6)  Contributed by Peter Gamble
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.
Miscellaneous
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)
Caufield South
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)


Climbing Gyms   Push For The Summit
Inside Cliff Hanger GymCliff Hanger Climbing GymCliffhanger - Corner Grieve Parade & Dohertys road, Altona North. (Melways: 54 G1) 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 courses too.
The Lactic 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. 


Local Retailers   Push For The Summit
See Links: Retailers


Local Manufacturers   Push For The Summit
Mingy Goat Climbing Equipment - Melbourne based makers of gym climbing holds.


Clubs & Organisations   Push For The SummitVictorian Climbing Club
*
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 info@vicclimb.org.au.
Melbourne Uni 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.


For Beginners   Push For The Summit
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 Clubs, Guides & Instruction.


Further Reading
MUMC Climbing - Guide to bouldering around Melbourne.
City Limit Bouldering - Where to boulder (not on plastic) around Melbourne.
Burnley Bridge, Heidelberg Road Bridge, Mt Studley - From Rockclimbing.com web site.
City Bouldering - A short summary page.


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