Mt Arapiles, Victoria
Probably Australia’s foremost climbing destination. There are over 2,000 climbs to attempt on this relatively small mountain and they are tightly packed – in short you’re not like to run out of lines at Araps. Mt Arapiles is a mountain for experienced climbers but the nearby Mitre Rock has plenty of easier climbs for beginners. Offering expansive views of Mitre Lake and the patchwork of the Victorian outback, Arapiles is an all year destination with plenty of sheltered routes which are good to climb even in scorching summer temperatures. Be warned this mountain is a climbing Mecca and will be busy, avoid Easter unless you can put up with the queues.
Booroomba, Australian Capital Territory
There is an abundance of massive granite slabs located around Canberra which make for enthralling adventure climbs. Probably foremost among are those on the granite of Booroomba which provide hundreds of routes varying in both difficulty and length. Offering views into the undulating hills of the Australian Capital Territory and of Canberra itself, the climbs situated around the numerous slabs and fissures are mostly bolted. The area can be pretty baking in the hotter summer months.
Freycinet Peninsula, Tasmania
The Freycinet Peninsula can stake claim to some of Australia’s finest coastal climbs. The attraction for many is clear – Freycinet is an exceptionally laid back and beautiful setting in which to climb, which is usually only sparsely populated. The better trodden cliff section features gems like Cape Tourville, The Nuggets and White Water Wall but the ease of access to the climbs around Bluestone Bay mean they attract the largest number of pilgrims. The pink granite adorned “Hazards” are among the more arduous ascents but poor rock quality hampers access to these lines and thus affects their popularity.
Point Perpendicular, New South Wales
Australian cliff cragging at its finest and perhaps most nerve wracking. Some of Point Perpendiculars climbs will require an initial abseil down the cliff to reach, you may even come perilously close to getting sodden attempting some of the best ascents. Don’t be put off though. Point Perpendicular offers cragging which will really do justice to the beguiling setting; with pelagic views accompanied by the tempestuous breaking of the sea on the rocks below. Most climbs are only sporadically bolted and thus make for tricky adventure climbing. Some of the most prestigious climbs are found around the Lighthouse area and at Windjammer Wall.
Glass House Mountains, Queensland
Among the most popular climbing spots in Queensland are the Glass House Mountains. With good slabs for beginners at Tibrogargan and Beerwah, the Glass House also offer great climbing on some superb volcanic plugs and provide less experienced climbers with the kind of setting usually reserved for more veteran followers of the sport.
Umbrawarra, Northern Territory
Umbrawarra Gorge is probably the smallest of the destinations included in this list. Though it is dwarfed by some of the better known climbing hubs in Oz, the setting of Umbrawarra Gorge - a secluded creek from whose meanders rise beautiful, red sandstone faces - makes it an extremely worthwhile place to climb. This is intermediate single-pitch climbing and there are around 30 different routes to attempt.
Blue Mountains, New South Wales
One of the most arrestingly beautiful attractions in New South Wales, the Blue Mountain is an immense fissured sandstone plateau in which erosion has formed a network of surfaces perfect to climb. There is such huge variation among the endless sandstone here that you will find lines to suit every skill level and equally limitless spots to gorge yourself on the dramatically etched scenery. Climbing is available throughout the year and ranges from cragging at Diamond falls to traditional climbing at Echo Point which makes Blue Mountain a must for anyone planning to climb in Australia.
Mt Buffalo, Victoria
Mt Buffalo is a huge granite plateau which offers panoramic views of the expansive Victorian bush as well as the mysterious Australian Alps. The area is truly beautiful and is made all the more fascinating as the natural environment recovers, literally rising uncontrollably like a phoenix from the flames, from two ravaging bushfires. Its labyrinth of slabs offers some of the best granite climbs in Australia with pristine lines of up to 300m (984ft) in the Gorge. The climbs and terrain are fairly sheer so sport climbers may want to think before the attempt many of the available climbs.
Kalbarri Western Australia
A really nice location for varied sports climb style lines, Kalbarri is a rising star in the world of climbing. Why? Specifically because the banded orange sandstone cliffs provide a marvelous training ground for younger or beginner climbers on which to cut their teeth. The rock formations sheltered around the areas bays are a stunning setting for newbies to discover the exhilaration that hooks so many enthusiasts. Climbing here is available all year round.
The Grampians, Victoria
Just shading the contest for our favourite spot are the majestic Grampians. The Grampians rise out of the tranquility of rural Victoria offering a truly sublime setting in which to climb. Replete with enchanting waterfalls, wildflowers and (of course) panoramic views, the Grampians also offer unparalleled diversity to Australian climbers. The rock here which varies from grey sandstone to scarlet and burnt orange quartzite provides a solid surface for a wonderfully diverse itinerary of climbs. You will need to drive in between most routes in the Grampians but the spectacular views and chance to experience some taxing adventure climbing make them worth the added hassle. Highlights include Soweto and the unforgivably sheer Taipan Wall. Visit in the spring to avoid the more extreme conditions that summer and winter can throw up.