North Island, New Zealand
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 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 rock climbing. Castle Rock Coromandel is a close second with stunning multi pitch sport lines.
Having said all this, if you are visiting from overseas and only have time to visit one island I would recommend the South Island. Mountain project is not very comprehensive for South Island climbing, but there is alot of good stuff to do there (especially alpine style). Also consider the Arapiles in nearby Australia, it has some of the best trad climbing in the world.
Fly in through Auckland or Wellington. Can also fly directly to Rotorua from Australia in certain seasons.
Another 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 comprehensive but can sometimes be out of date for crags that are either being devloped, or smaller older crags that have been abandoned.
The website climbnz.org.nz
has recently become alot more comprehensive, and now contains alot of information about climbing routes in the North Island, especially for alpine style areas.
New Zealand (along with Australia and South Africa) use the Ewbank grading system. See the grade conversion table below.
YDS-Ewbank grade conversion
Weather station 0.9 miles from here
234 Total Routes
['4 Stars',19],['3 Stars',56],['2 Stars',97],['1 Star',53],['Bomb',7]
Browse More Classics in North Island
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for North Island:
Featured Route For North Island
The Arches 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Oceania
: New Zealand
: ... : The Arch Area
A classic for the area, must do. Starts with a strenuous layback on slippery feet, climbing a fading fingercrack in a huge right-facing corner. The climbing is solid 5.10 at the start, but you will quickly get some divots for your feet and things ease up quite a bit. This leads to even easier, yet enjoyable climbing on a traverse under the enormous roof. There may be a move or two to pull onto the belay ledge, depending on what holds you find....[more] Browse More Classics in International
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