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New Zealand is renowned as one of the best alpine climbing locations in the world. Wānaka has earned a well-deserved reputation that attracts climbers to ascend legendary peaks like Kā Tiritiri-o-te-Moana or the Southern Alps.

History & the facts

Rock climbing in Wānaka started in 1970 and ever since the local climbing community has worked hard to develop an area that provides quality rock climbing routes for all abilities.

Climbing in Wānaka has grown with the popularity and accessibility of the sport, and now has the largest concentration of sport climbing routes in New Zealand – with close to 1000 rock climbs that can be accessed within a 30-minute drive from the town centre. The climbing here lends itself towards single-pitch sport climbs that are generally face climbs, but Wānaka’s climbing options also provide a selection of multi-pitch climbs, as well as traditionally protected crack climbs, for those climbers seeking some additional adventure!


A day out

A standard day for Wānaka local climbers’ involves heading out to the Matukituki, enjoying some athletic face climbing, and when it’s warm the Motatapu River provides climbers a refreshing respite from the rock. While climbing, it’s easy to enjoy views of Lake Wānaka and the Southern Alps in every direction.

Locals Tip: If you see some locals out at the crag, stop and have a chat, they love to talk about climbing in the amazing venue they have created.


Areas to climb

Hospital Flat and surrounds: Located 20-minutes drive from Wānaka, Hospital Flat is the main destination for rock climbing in Wānaka. With upwards of 800 routes from grade 8-30 this area boasts the highest number of sport climbs in the country!

Upper Matukituki Valley: This area holds more adventurous routes for climbers seeking remoteness and a quiet day out on the rock. Most of the routes at the head of the valley are multi-pitch climbs in the range of 18-26 that require a certain level of experience.

Bouldering: Wānaka has a few spread-out but worthy bouldering locations.
“The Lakeside Boulder” is out near Penrith Beach and worth a stop for those climbers looking for a work out close to town in a scenic setting! Boulder problems in the V2-V6 range can be found here!
“Luggate boulders” just outside of Wānaka is the small town of Luggate, which has a fun bouldering area for an afternoon of climbing in the sunshine! Boulder problems in the VM-V8 range can be found here!


This article was written by Wānaka Rock Climbing.

Wānaka Rock Climbing provides guided rock climbing in Wānaka. WRC offers guided trips perfectly catered for travelers looking for an exciting and adventurous time in Wānaka.