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North Island

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North Island 


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Location: -37.0086, 174.7863 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: Cameron Fraser, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: Ryan Kelly on Apr 2, 2009
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Description 

The North Island of New Zealand for some reason hides in the shadow of its larger brother to the south when it comes to rock climbing. Despite warmer weather and less crowds, not to mention a dense strip of established climbing areas (several thousand routes within an hour drive), I have yet to hear anyone refer to North Island climbing save the handful of people I met while climbing there.

It may not have the expansive peaks, nor world famous bouldering of the south, but when it comes to cragging there’s enough rock here to keep you busy for months, if not years. There are bits of rock all over the island here or there, but the main accumulation of established climbable rock is located in the central region of the island (Wharepapa South and Lake Taupo areas). A good percentage of this rock is volvanic, a vestige of one of the largest volcanic eruptions in earth’s history. The rock, ignimbrite, can vary considerably from worthless choss to pocketed sport climbing to “fully-welded” – a denser formation with smooth cracks capable of holding sound gear. The rock at Lake Taupo, ground zero, is a purer Rhyolite; it’s denser that the rhyolitic ignimbrite round in Wharepapa South.

One of the best features of North Island climbing is the great variety of rock types and climbing styles all within close proximity to each other. For example at Waipapa there is delicate slab and crack climbing on welded ignimbrite, and just around the corner at Mangaokewa there is steep and powerful sport climbing on limestone. There is beautiful scenery in the North Island around most of the climbing areas, from the turquoise waters of Lake Taupo to the rolling planes of the Waikato, and lush native forest abounds. Be sure to check out Kawakawa bay (Lake Taupo) for some of the Islands best cragging.


Getting There 

Fly in through Auckland or Wellington.


Topos 

The best resource for Topos is the local website www.freeclimb.co.nz. It has free downloadable and printible PDF's covering most of the crags. It is generally very comprehensive but can sometimes be out of date for crags that are either being devloped, or smaller older crags that have been abandoned. Notible exceptions include Whangnaui Bay and Tongariro which do not feature on the freeclimb website. A paper guidebook for these areas can be purchased from some outdoor shops (e.g. Bivouac Outdoor) or online.

The website climbnz.org.nz has recently become alot more comprehensive, and now contains alot of information about climbing routes in the North Island.


Main Areas 

Whanganui Bay, Lake Taupo

View down Whekanui Wall on a surprisingly nice day in winter.
View down Whekanui Wall on a surprisingly nice day in winter.


Kawakawa Bay, Lake Taupo
Pitch 3 of Sidewinder, Miltipitch sport classic
Pitch 3 of Sidewinder, Miltipitch sport classic


Froggatt's Edge, Wharepapa South
Froggatt, a popular sport crag
Froggatt, a popular sport crag


Mangaokewa Scenic Reserve
Roof climbing at Mangaokewa
Roof climbing at Mangaokewa


Waipapa, Wharepapa South
Climber on the Classic "Arches"
Climber on the Classic "Arches"


Castle Rock, Coromandel
Exposed multi-pitch sport in the Kookmeyers, Castle Rock Coromandel (not to be confused with Castle Rock Wharepapa)
Exposed multi-pitch sport in the Kookmeyers, Castle Rock Coromandel (not to be confused with Castle Rock Wharepapa)

Tongariro National Park
The south face of Mt. Ngauruhoe.  As we discovered on our 26-mile walk, this volcanoe looks exactly the same from every angle...its a perfect cone.
The south face of Mt. Ngauruhoe. As we discovered on our 26-mile walk, this volcanoe looks exactly the same from every angle...its a perfect cone.


219 Total Routes


['4 Stars',18],['3 Stars',47],['2 Stars',90],['1 Star',53],['Bomb',7]
['<=5.6',13],['5.7',23],['5.8',21],['5.9',34],['5.10',84],['5.11',29],['5.12',11],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',2],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for North Island:
High Hopes   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 2 pitches, 150'   Kawakawa Bay : The Point
Tibia   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R     Trad, 3 pitches, 200'   Whanganui Bay : Whekenui Wall
Millennium Madness   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 90'   Main Cliff : Millenium Wall
The Arches   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 100'   Main Cliff : The Arch Area
Terror Incognito   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 90'   Froggatt's Edge : Main Wall
Monsterpiece Theatre   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Sport, 90'   Froggatt's Edge : Main Wall
Browse More Classics in North Island

Featured Route For North Island
Pitch 3 belay ledge, Sidewinder

Sidewinder 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b  New Zealand : North Island : ... : The Point
Classic multipitch sport climb. Varied, exposed and sustained.Pitch 1 (10.b)Start up the face moving through vertical, slab and overhanging sections. Interesting features spice up the climbing, including large spherical shaped holes in the rock and a small cave near the top. 9 Bolts.Pitch 2 (10.b)Shorter pitch. Sustained overhang with positive holds and a mantle finish. Keep moving and don't gas out. 4 bolts.Pitch 3 (5.9)Easiest pitch. Delivers varied climbing with some interesting moves includ...[more]   Browse More Classics in International

Photos of North Island Slideshow Add Photo
New Zealand's answer to Thailand's famous beachside sport climbing:  excellent trad and sport routes on a secluded beach at Te Ananui on the East coast of the North Island.  That's me in the bottom lefthand corner of the photo.
New Zealand's answer to Thailand's famous beachsid...
Ti Point
Ti Point
North Island, New Zealand
North Island, New Zealand
Pakeho, Northern Taranaki
Pakeho, Northern Taranaki
Mt Maunganui beach, as seen from the crag.
Mt Maunganui beach, as seen from the crag.
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