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Kawakawa Bay

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Bluff, The 
Cracks Wall 
Odyssey Wall 
Point, The 

Kawakawa Bay 

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Location: -38.6619, 175.86571 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 4,372
Administrators: Cameron Fraser, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: Corona on Jun 27, 2011
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View down The Point and Odyssey wall, from Sidewin...


Kawakawa Bay is probably the best crag in the North Island featuring a good range of sport, trad and mixed routes that will appeal to climbers of all levels. If you donít find something that appeals to you here, youíre probably in the wrong sport! At the eastern end of the Bay stands a number or rhyolite cliffs towering over the lake's blue waters with routes up to 3 pitches in length on excellent quality rock. The Bay still has many lines added to it every year, and there is no doubt that this will continue for years to come as only a fraction of the possible routes here have been established. Kawakawa Bay has the highest concentration of easy trad climbs in the North Island and is a great place to learn to climb on gear.

There is a small grassy campsite on the shore of the bay that is free to use. It has basic facilities like a long drop toilet and a newly constructed shelter. Be sure to hang your food in trees (prussic cord is great for this) unless you want rats to eat it for you. They have been known to chew their way through tents and packs to get to food, you have been warned! At times you will be the only people in the campsite, giving it a wilderness feel, at other times there are dozens of boats parked in the bay and mountain bikers/ hikers galore (by New Zealand standards anyway).

Definitely worth a visit.

The Bluff, Kawakawa Bay
The Bluff, Kawakawa Bay

Odyssey wall, Kawakawa Bay
Odyssey wall, Kawakawa Bay

Pitch 3 belay ledge, Sidewinder
Pitch 3 belay ledge, Sidewinder

Getting There 

The Kawakawa Bay Walkway starts from Nisbet terrace in Kinloch. The walk takes around 2 hours staring from the western side of Whangamata bay then following the peninsula out and over to Kawakwawa bay. Water taxis can also be chartered from Kinloch if you don't want to walk in. They cost arround $80 for 4 people. Another option is to kayak in from Kinloch which is also much quicker than walking.


A free topo is availible from the popular freeclimb website ( however it is often out of date due to new development. The New Zealand Alpine Club website often has updates featuring the new routes ( At one stage a guidebook was produced however this is currently out of print and does not feature the latest development. A comprehensive all inclusive printed guidebook including all new development is slated for release in the future.

37 Total Routes

['4 Stars',4],['3 Stars',14],['2 Stars',8],['1 Star',6],['Bomb',2]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Kawakawa Bay:
High Hopes   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 2 pitches, 150'   The Point
Browse More Classics in Kawakawa Bay

Featured Route For Kawakawa Bay
Pitch 1

Sex Panther 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a  New Zealand : North Island : ... : The Bluff
A KawaKawa classic. First pitch sport, second pitch Trad. Stunning views from the topCan also be climbed as one pitch (recommended)Pitch 1All sport, move left after second/third bolt. Pitch 2All trad baby. Weave up the face as you follow the crack. Crux is well protected finger crack mantle half way up. Once you reach the anchor ledge you can rap down, however another option is to traverse right underneath the roof (with an additional bolt) which allows you to get on top of the bluff for stunni...[more]   Browse More Classics in International

Photos of Kawakawa Bay Slideshow Add Photo
Stunning views of the bay from the top of the bluff, best reached by climbing Sex Panther
Stunning views of the bay from the top of the bluf...
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By Cameron Fraser
Mar 6, 2013

Kawakawa bay update on recent development (Feb 2013)

By Cameron Fraser
Jun 20, 2013

Printed guidebook available Between this and the online update it covers most of the routes at K-bay