Climbing and Other Adventures: Our Time in Australia

We were very excited to have reached Port Eden, Victoria Australia after spending the last 12 days on a yacht and were keen to get going. But first we needed to decide where exactly we were going and how we were going to get there. We decided that a car would be the best mode of transport as we wanted to rock climb and its not so easy to get to those sort of spots with public transport. Lucky for us, we found a car just up the road from the port and the next day we were the proud owners of a kia Rio. With some new wheels it was time to get going, this was what we got up to:

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Me and our new car after loading our gear in to it off the boat. Very glad I did not have to carry my rather heavy pack anywhere!

The Blue Mountains:

The Blue Mountains are situated about an hours drive West of Sydney and is a great rock climbing spot with its massive sandstone walls.  We decided that this would be our first climbing destination. It is a fair way from Eden so we thought we would take the coastal route and make our way there in our own time. There was no rush, we were on holiday! The first stop was Jervis Bay. This spot is amazing and would highly recommend a visit. The National park there is lovely (although it costs) and over the other side of the bay is some fantastic climbing. We were lucky a friend offered to have us to stay as the weather deteriorated that weekend. Being in a tent when it’s wet is not fun so we were super grateful. We had a quick look at Point Perpendicular, a spot I have climbed many times before and one that I wanted to climb again and then headed on to the mountains.

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Point Perpendicular on a not so flash day

After a weekend of wet we traveled on to the Blue Mountains to start our climbing adventures. The mountains were chilly and the climbing slow as we got back into the swing of things after so much time off. On the third day we went and did a nice long (120 meter) six pitch climb called Sweet Dreams (grade 14)  and enjoyed the easy wander… except the last pitch which had average protection (I recommend taking the 17 exit instead).

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Crossing the exposed section on the way to the bottom of the climb
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Mid way up the wall
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Spot me if you can. Pitch 3 and 4.

Unfortunately the next day was really windy, which was going to be our last day climbing in the mountains so we didn’t get to climb but we did enjoy some much needed R&R. Next stop we were off to a fundraising party an old work friend was putting on before he set off to do the Mongol Rally. The theme was dress up as something beginning with T. We chose to go as travellers.

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Dressed up and ready to party

Point Perpendicular:

Point Perpendicular is one of the most amazing places I have ever climbed at. The exposure is unreal.  If you are a trad climber and enjoy exposure I highly recommend this place. Just be aware that the gear  placements can be a little funky and the rock quality is not great everywhere. Even if you are not a climber, this place is well worth a visit. Situated on the opposite side of the bay to the national park, the high cliffs offer amazing views and one of the best places to watch the whales during whale season. Unfortunately, it is within the military range so it is only open on weekends and school holidays. You can camp there at Honeymoon bay, which is gorgeous (it does cost though). We decided to shoot here after the party for a days climbing so we didn’t have to wait around for another week for it to be open.

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VB slabs area
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Fishos hut looking out to VB slabs
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Chris at the top of the climb
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Almost at the top

Nowra:

Nowra is known as a popular sports area. It’s located a couple of hours South of Sydney near the coast. It is a good spot to hang and climb during the week while you wait for Point Perp to be open. We camped a few days here at Mt York, one of the more popular crags. Our friend we met in Antarctica, Q, joined us for a sunny days climbing.

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Q climbing and Chris belaying
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Down by the river

We thought we would finish our day with a swim, however there were hundreds perhaps thousands of jelly fish in the water.

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Jellyfish paradise

Chris and I did manage to sneak a swim in while the other was on jellyfish watch.

Mt Arapiles:

Also known as New Zealand’s biggest crag due to its popularity with the kiwis, Mt Arapiles is the ultimate trad destination in Australia. It is located in Victoria a few hours from Melbourne. It is possible to get here without a car from Melbourne using the train and then a bus then hitch from Horsham. I did that my first visit to Araps but enjoyed having a car this time. Camping is right at the bottom of the mountain and there are toilets, rubbish bins and a bore water station in the Pines (the more famous of the three camping areas and usually the party area), which is a good place to wash the dishes. It is not recommended you drink the bore water. There are some rain collection tanks beside the toilet blocks but in late summer don’t count on there being water. I suggest buying a big drum from the supermarket in Horsham (20min drive from Araps).

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One view of Araps. Organ pipes middle and the Bard far right.

We started our climbing on some nice easy grades and then worked up to the 16’s. Unfortunately, we are not climbing fit at the moment but did well for where we were at. The grades here can be graded pretty steep so take it easy at the start and enjoy. You can find some pretty wild moves on a 13, no jokes.

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You can see the campground behind me
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Abseiling down

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Last pitch of Sundance (16)
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Top of the Pharos

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The weather while we were here was pretty grey and cold unfortunately. Most days there was some kind of light shower so after a week we were pretty over the weather and decided to make our way back to Sydney.

Sydney and Vivid:

We had decided to fly out of Sydney so we could drop our car at our friend Q who was buying our car. Lucky for us, Vivid the lights festival was on at this time. The festival happens every year around May/June and goes on for about a month. It is super cool and if you have the chance I definitely recommend it. If you want to avoid the crowds go mid week lateish.

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The Opera is always a highlight and the gardens so don’t miss these. There are heaps of other things happening to you just have to check out there website.

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And that was Australia for us. Next stop Bangkok hopefully we find some warmer weather here as we seemed to have missed summer in both Australia and NZ. Bring on Asia.

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