Where shall we go?

Welcome to Christchurch. There are over 800 routes within half an hour of the city on the volcanic crags of the Port Hills. A full range of grades is represented, and a good mix of trad and sport routes. There is somewhere to climb in nearly all weathers, though a cold wet southerly kills most and you may want to head indoors to one of the two indoor climbing gyms. Most crags have a drive of only 20 minutes plus a short walk of 5-15. The summary

below (in book order) may help you choose 

“South Island Rock” by Lindsay Main & Tim Wethey   A comprehensive guide to all the best rock climbing crags in the South Island.





Route number, %age that are worthwhile

Grade range. Route length

Trad/sport. Height.

Aspect, best times

Accessibility (drive from city/walk)


Port Hills

Christchurch's local area. All volcanic cliffs.

500, 50%

Full range. Easiest crag Rapaki Rock, hardest crag The Cave. Mostly 8 - 15m.

Good mix.

Always somewhere. Cold wet southerly kills most

Most 20, 10


Farm Park

Overlooking Lyttelton harbour

60, 30%

18-23. 8m high

Mostly sport, a few trad.

South-facing. Best: hot summer days. Avoid: depths of winter

20, 10


Jane Fonda Workout Wall

Overlooking Lyttelton harbour. Long, high quality, vertical but strenuous routes

25, 80%

19 - 24. High quality routes. About 2 routes at each grade. 15m.

Nearly all sport

South-facing. Best: hot summer days. Avoid: cold southerly, depths of winter or after wet weather



Punk Rock

Later routes well-equipped for educational groups

40, 50%

16 - 23. 10m.

Mostly sport, a few trad.

East-facing. Best: cold mornings, hot afternoons



The Cave

NZ's greatest concentration of hard testpieces

22, 70%

25 - 32. 10m


Can seep after heavy rain.



Britten Crags

Christchurch's best sport area. Big selection of bolted routes.

300, 65%

15-26. 8m.


West-facing. Can bake after midday on a hot day.

15, 10


Albert Tce

Good small novice cliff — short, well-bolted, very accessible

20, 50%

13-18, a few harder. 6m


All weather

5, 5


Castle Rock

Christchurch' best trad. cliff

250, 60%

12-26. 8 - 15m.

Nearly all trad.

West and east aspects. OK except in rain or cold southerly.

20, 5


Climbing gyms  The Roxx Climbing Center Corner Byron Street & Waltham Road

                          YMCA                                  Corner Hereford Street & Rolletson Ave