/ New Zealand

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JezH on 23 Jun 2012
I'm planning on making a long visit to New Zealand after Uni and possibly moving out there. What are good areas for trad, sport and winter climbing? Is there anywhere with a similar theme to North Wales? I.e A bit of everything? Where would be a good place to start?

eugeneth - on 23 Jun 2012
In reply to JezH: Jez!! The best places are around Queenstown and Wanaka. There are sport crags there and also some big mountain trad routes. Also loads of Alpine climbing. You also have the Darrans....a little bit more remote but looks awesome

There is some pretty good sport near Takaka/Paynes Ford/Golden Bay area on the north of the South Island.

The best place to base yourself is the Wanaka/Queenstown area though. If you wanna know more give me a shout on the F-Book and will let you know all

JezH on 23 Jun 2012
In reply to eugeneth: Cheers Eugene! Definately will.
ben b - on 24 Jun 2012
In reply to JezH: I think if you come looking for Snowdonia by the Antarctic you may be disappointed. The rock is often rubbish by comparison, the snow and rainfall vast, the weather lousy for prolonged periods, and it's hard to work out how to get from one place to another or where some of the climbs even are.

But other things massively outgun the UK - the capacity for serious adventure is vast (and a little overwhelming to be honest). There's essentially no-one else here by comparison. I'm always tickled by the advice in Moir's guide about getting lost - paraphrased as "if you get lost, stop blundering around and making things worse. If people know where you went and you're reasonably close to there, you'll probably survive. By the time someone finds you you will just be very, very hungry."

There's a lot to be done out here but don't expect good rock and safe country. I was giggling today about the Hebden Bridge floods - 93mm of rain in a day. Hokitika (up the west coast) once copped 758mm in 24 hours...

Queenstown is a funny place - bit of a 'party destination' but still very beautiful (despite what many kiwis may tell you). Worth bearing in mind that the population of QT (10,000) is pretty much the same as Fort William i.e don't expect to walk into your usual employment as you might in a big city. The cost of living is also quite steep there (food has got a bit better but rent considerably worse).

NZ is a great place to live though - safe, friendly, quiet for the most part, and more outdoors than you can shake a stick at.

JezH on 24 Jun 2012
In reply to ben b: Ok, thanks for the honest advice. That's really useful. I think I'll try doing 3-6 months and then see how I feel about it still. It's the quiet, friendliness and adventure that appeal to me.
Owain - on 24 Jun 2012
In reply to ben b: Hi Ben, I am actually moving to Christchurch for a year in July. You wouldn't happen to know what the climbing scene is like around that area?
rmt - on 24 Jun 2012
In reply to ben b: Whilst all of that is very true, there are also areas with both great weather and decent climbing (though probably not as good as Queenstown/Wanaka). The Takaka area has Paynes Ford and Pohara, which both have good weather and decent rock (though mainly sport).

Whilst the best climbing is further South there are also a number of very good crags around the middle of the North Island (Wharepapa region, Whanganui Bay, Kawakawa Bay) which all have a mix of trad and sport. There is a bit of alpine on Mt Ruapehu but if alpine is your thing definitely go to the South Island.

There is some pretty decent climbing only a very short distance from Christchurch in the Port Hills, though I havent't climbed there.

And Ben is dead right - NZ is a great place to live!!
KiwiPrincess - on 25 Jun 2012
In reply to rmt:
There are a lot of Climbers in Chch. Roxx Gym seems well attended.

Since the Earthquakes The port hills is largely closed although I have heard of people climbing at Lyttleton Rock and Jane Fonda..I think. No idea of the quality

Good Bouldering and climbing 1.5 hrs+ out of town for weekends.

There's Plenty of climbing to keep you occupied for a year or so but be prepared to Hike and Choose your weather windows for the best of it.
ben b - on 25 Jun 2012
In reply to KiwiPrincess: Certainly there was an article in the latest alpine club mag about impressive repeats in the Port Hills, not sure I'd want to be in a cave in a 5.4 but there you are...

Castle Hill is world class for bouldering: font on a hill in the middle of nowhere with sheep and no people. Some great looking trad down by Mt Allen & Mt Somers. Not too far to get to Twin Stream and the Aoraki / Mt Cook region. Plus all that ski touring etc...

KiwiPrincess - on 25 Jun 2012
In reply to ben b:

I didn't think about the Cave...E6ish ? to get off the ground in that area ..I can only dream

A road trip over the Summer would be a good idea. Don't miss Darrans, Mt Somers, Castle hill.

But plenty of other cool spots for a day or two. I recently went to Mihiwaka near Dunedin and thought why didn't I go years ago. Small area but Native bush, all trad, 40m pitches..Maybe not a world class destination but very worth visiting as you pass through.

Queenstown Is the closest residential to Winter climbing but again lots of remote backcountry if you can take holiday time.
Jonny2vests - on 25 Jun 2012
In reply to JezH:
Is there anywhere with a similar theme to North Wales? I.e A bit of everything? Where would be a good place to start?
> Jez

That's kind of what the place lacks. Its generally either single to two pitch cragging or Alpine monsters. A bit like here in BC, Canada, no shortage of climbable rock, more like a shortage of climbers coupled with serious access challenges. Which sounds great until you realise you quite like choice.

Owain - on 25 Jun 2012
In reply to KiwiPrincess: Re: winter climbing. I am planning on taking my full winter kit over to NZ. Do you have any information about climbs in and around the South Island? I've read about the Darrans being similar to Scottish winter climbs but are they recommended?

My concern at the moment is that I may be hauling the winter kit over but I won't get any climbs in. Looking at it in detail, the time I get set up in Chch and find a climbing partner it will probably be around mid-August, would you say that this is end of season? Although, the other reason to haul the gear over was hopefully to get some high altitude mountaineering in.

One last question if you don't mind. I have been pondering on google earth at the mountains local to Chch and I was wondering if you knew if these mountains are accessible i.e. day trips.

AdrianC - on 25 Jun 2012
In reply to Owain: I don't think you'll be too late to use your gear. Whilst the lower-level ice climbing like Wye Creek often starts to melt in late August the higher stuff is just coming into condition and the mountaineering kicks in from October / November. I'm not sure where you read that the Darrans are like Scottish winter. They're a superb climbing area but the terrain and avalanche conditions are way more serious than Scotland. Fantastic spot, though.

There are day trips around Arthur's Pass if you're going to be based in Chch. The NZAC produce a guidebook.
KiwiPrincess - on 25 Jun 2012
In reply to Owain:

The Darrans can be big and Scary depending on conditions and I've not actually had the balls to climb there at Winter. Many others do However.
Wye creek, and other area's in Remarkables will Often be on until End of Aug. You'll be able to do Mountain South faces the rest of the year if you Bring gear.
I think alot of it is 3-5 hrs so More a weekend trip.
There is a post about Canterbury ice on Mojozone.co.nz and You can see the Guides for the Areas mentioned on Climbnz
ben b - on 25 Jun 2012
In reply to Owain: What the others said, really. The closest thing to the UK winter dragging / ice scene is probably the Remarkables area (Wye Creek for waterfall ice and Single Cone / Double Cone for mixed with access via the ski area). It's non-glacial and relatively 'busy' in NZ terms; close to civilization.

Up to Arthur's Pass would be the easiest weekend trip. Rome Ridge / Rolleston would be the equivalent of a good solid scottish experience (Tower Ridge in the depths of winter, maybe) but with the descent of the Otira Slide at the end to add spice. There are still a few unrecovered bodies in the bergschrund so this is not to be underestimated (and can be a major avalanche hazard).

Have a look at softrock.co.nz for more info on conditions and avalanche risk.

The Southern Alps probably can't be compared to Scotland - one of the low lying (1500m) ski resorts above QT had a foot of snow overnight - whilst the west coast has about 45-60cm forecast in places. It's big, wild, beautiful country out there.

KiwiPrincess - on 26 Jun 2012
Morgan Woods - on 26 Jun 2012
In reply to JezH:

If you've got a few months out in this neck of the woods and want world-class climbing it would be criminal to not visit Arapiles and the Grampians.
Morgan Woods - on 26 Jun 2012
In reply to JezH:

Awesome Castle Hill bouldering vid:

yarbles - on 26 Jun 2012
In reply to Owain: Chch used to be the place to be. Castle hill is two hours drive, the port hills 20 mins.

Castle hill bouldering is amazing but takes some getting used to, worth persevering with! It has a little micro climate, seems to be just out of reach of the incoming weather from the West. Limestone slopey stuff with mantleshelf top outs, there are some good sport routes too.

The port hills are a bit of a mess, Rapaki rock and Castle crag were badly affected although some of the higher crags are fine. You can clearly see which crags are in good nick and I guess a lot will have been cleared up since I was there.

The great thing about chch is that it is usually possible to find somewhere dry. If its wet in the port hills it's usually dry at castle hill and the weather is very predictable. Further south you get more rainfall.

Trad climbing is a bit harder to come by, Mt Somers is within striking distance, 2 hrs drive and a hut to stay in, you'll want a weekend. Bit of a long walk in but well worth it. There is basalt trad higher up the hillside and conglomerate sport nearer the hut.

Paynes ford is also ace but sport only. Hanging rock (limestone sport) and elephant rocks (limestone bouldering) are worth a visit (halfway to Dunedin), spur road (trad) is not IMO(dirty).

One final thing - climbing gear in nz is seriously expensive so take as much as you can. Bouldering mats can be hired from a cafe on the way to castle hill $10 I think.
Owain - on 26 Jun 2012
Cheers for the info folks, I really appreciate your help.
disturbed_one51 - on 29 Jun 2012
In reply to JezH:
Does anyone know what its like to live in Invercargill i.e is there any climbing? Ive just been offered a job there and deciding whether it is worth the weather?
AdrianC - on 29 Jun 2012
In reply to disturbed_one51: I used to live in Southland - spent 2.5 years in Gore. I had a great time down there - easy weekend access to Fiordland, Wanaka and the fleshpots of Queenstown. There is some rock climbing down that way, Dipton rings a bell and there is other rock around, (plus you're well placed for the Darrans!) But it ain't Sheffield!
dave frost - on 30 Jun 2012
In reply to jonny2vests:
> (In reply to JezH)
> Is there anywhere with a similar theme to North Wales? I.e A bit of everything? Where would be a good place to start?
> [...]
> more like a shortage of climbers coupled with serious access challenges.

When you say serious access challenges do you mean a long way to hike into the climbing, or that its on some sort of restricted land/ownership and climbing isnt allowed ?

AdrianC - on 30 Jun 2012
In reply to dave frost: Pretty rare to meet anyone off the beaten track - let alone an angry farmer. The access challenges here are rivers, bush, moraines, bluffs, long distances - that kind of thing. But helicopters are wonderful things.
ben b - on 30 Jun 2012
In reply to AdrianC: Especially the rivers...

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