"God created Arapiles, then threw the rest of the rock to the world"... that local saying is probably not far off the truth! Arapiles is without doubt one of the best cliffs in the world and Australia's rock climbing Mecca. A massive variety of climbs can be found of all grades, from short 10m pitches right up to the classic grade 10 "Syrinx" at 180m long. Surely there cant be many cliffs with such a density of high quality routes, the unique "Uber baked sandstone / quartzite" rock is a pleasure to climb on and unique to the area. A variety of very good bouldering can also be found...The Squeeze test is a good laugh too.
The guidebook (Arapiles, Selected climbs by Mentz & Tempest) is currently out of print [Nov 06'] and are like gold dust to come by. I would advise anyone travelling to think about getting a guide before leaving. That said there will usually be kind folk around the campsite that will let you have look on a morning before you leave. A new edition is due perhaps early 2007, but judging by the amount the author sits around the campsite drinking beer don't hold your breath, at best expect July 07.
Climbing is possible any time of the year. The best times to visit Arapiles is either during Spring (September to November) - green and lush with generally fine weather although heavy downpours occasionally occur. Or Autumn (March to May) which is generally settled with cool nights and fine sunny days. The heat during December to February can be oppressive with climbing often restricted to the shadey gullies (such as back of Pharos, Upper Yesterday Gully, Mari Buttress, King Rat cliffs, Castle Rock, The Atridea. However, the Organ Pipes and Tiger Wall/Bard Butress only get the shade in the afternoon approx 3pm onwards. Don't forget that in the Southern Hemisphere, its the south facing walls that are cooler.
Camping is located in "The pines" (far more social, most will have no problems meeting partners here) or "The gums" for just $2 per night and literally minutes from The Organ pipes with the far northern group 20 minutes walk away. A day shelter and toilet block exist although showers can be found in Horsham, 30 minutes drive away. There is borewater on tap, and most do drink it without becoming ill, however, it doesn't taste too great.
The Chockstone Forum can be useful for both beta and trying to arrange trips/lifts from Melbourne. www.chockstone.org
In Natimuk (8km Away), there is a BBQ grill you can use for socialising with hot food, a billabong/watering hole andrope swing for those really hot days, A football pitch on the local school field, a local Milkbar with limited supplies (ice cream, milk, bread, etc), although shopping is best done in Horsham on rest days. There is also a pub (the natimuk hotel), which as received rather mixed reviews on its service and attitude, food is available but not cheap. There is however talk of a local climbers bar cafe opening, so keep a look out for a cheeky venue called 'the rusty piton' or 'on the edge' or something similarly cheesy.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Please do not add routes to this crag. All the various crags at Arapiles are defined elsewhere in the Logbook database. Go to the main Crag Search Logbook page linked to the left and write Arapiles into the Search by Crag Name box. Click on the reurned result 'ARAPILES' in upper case to get a full list of the Arapiles Crags.
From Melbourne, public transport is a fairly easy option. From Southern Cross (Spencer Street Station. they leave approx 3 times per day. Catch a train/coach combo to Ballarat, then through to Horsham (300 kilometres north-west of Melbourne.) Timetable available here http://www.vline.com.au/index.aspx?sid=0
Or right click and save as PDF http://www.vline.com.au/pdf/projects/nsp/timetables/dimboola.pdf
From Horsham, do your shopping and head onto the roadside next to the Royal Hotel (Natimuk Road, opposite Wimmera Sports). Stick out your thumb and some friendly soul will give you a ride the rest of the way.
Travel by car via the Henty, Glenelg or Western Highways.