Stephanie Malone

The Rock Climbers guide to visiting Tasmania

We have spent so much time in Tasmania over the last two years - as lovers of the outdoors it has so many reasons to be our favorite place in Australia. One of these reasons is its amazing rock climbing scene; a tight-knit community, a wide range of climbing styles and disciplines, and a variety of rock types. When it comes to climbing Tasmania has it all!

As we meet new friends from around Australia and across the world, we are often asked what areas we consider must-see (or in this case must-climb!) across Tasmania. In some ways this is a tricky question as it is an entire state, but at the same time I have developed some strong favourites that I am keen to share.

The below climbing areas (known as crags) work well as a part of a road trip along the east coast, starting with an arrival by ferry in Devonport or by plane into Launceston. They cover a captivating range of climbing style and rock type, as well as including some of the most beautiful and scenic places you may ever climb! Some areas contain bolted sports routes only, others remain solely for trad climbing, and some areas will require you to have knowledge of rappelling. Make sure to climb within your abilities and stay safe.

Cataract Gorge, Launceston

Best explored with a local or someone who knows the area as the climbs can be a little tricky to locate, Cataract Gorge holds hundreds of routes right in the middle of the city. The climbing is on dolerite which is a fairly abrasive rock with plenty of fun cracks and steep faces. We love Feltham Buttress for a quick play, Duck Reach is a favourite among the locals, Right Man Buttress is great for testings your crack climbing skills, and there are just too many other great areas to mention here.

Sand River, Buckland

The sports climbers paradise, with approaches ranging from around 5 to 30 minutes. If you are searching for some lower grades there are some great areas here like Panopticon, but there are also plenty of climbs in the medium to hard grades to push yourself on. Camp out the back of Ye Olde Buckland Inn between sending days - this campground has a toilet and you can get a hot meal from the Inn.

Sand River, Buckland

Paradiso, Mount Brown

While high ocean swells nearly washed us away on our Autumn 2021 visit to Paradiso, it will always be an area I recommend due to its great range of grades and fun featured rock. The walk to the crag is wonderfully scenic, as is the view from the sea cliffs you’ll be climbing! There are a few accommodation / camping options in the small nearby towns so you can take your pick.

Paradiso, Mount Brown

The Moai, Tasman Peninsula

In terms of grade and approach, this is the most accessible of the iconic Tasmanian sea stacks. Don’t let that fool you though - it’s still a huge day full of adventure! Stay tuned for the tale of our last trip to the Moai for a more in-depth look at what it takes to get to the climbs and back to the campsite. The best place to stay is at the Fortescue Bay camping area, from which it is about a 7km hike to the cliff top above the Moai.

Whitewater Wall, Freycinet Peninsula

This stunning crag is positioned directly below the Whitewater Wall campsite - the perfect place to stay for maximum sending! There is a drop toilet but no bins so make sure that you can take all rubbish out with you and leave no trace. Scrambling to the bottom of the wall is a bit of an adventure in itself, then you are treated with world-class sea cliff climbing on granite. Apline (grade 12) is an iconic climb that traverses the wall and is a must-do! The other crags accessible from the campsite are also amazing and worth a look if you have the time.

The travel times between some of these locations are fairly short, meaning that the order in which you visit them can be changed based on weather, conditions, or for any scenic detours. There are so many other great climbing areas (and some average ones that can still be worth a visit) across Tasmania so be sure to also do your own research when planning a trip! Let me know in the comments what your favourite Tassie crag is, or if you haven’t yet been to any let me know which one you think sounds the most exciting.

Must-haves for the trip

Access to or the amazing Climb Tasmania book.

Clothing suitable for all possible weather outcomes, even if you’re visiting in Summer. Tassie is a wild place!

These areas require both sports climbing and trad climbing gear.

Plenty of stoke - get ready to send!

Special Thanks - the photography used in this article includes contributions from Adam J Sanders Photography and Taima Learmont Photography

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