Going Indoor rock climbing and bouldering has never been easier in Melbourne. Thanks to the flurry of interest in the sport a couple of years ago off the backs of films such as Free Solo and The Dawn Wall there's now some world-class indoor climbing around town.
If you're an experienced climber looking to level up on lead climbs, a complete novice looking to sharpen your crimps skills in bouldering, or you're just wanting to hang about, here's where to find the best indoor rock climbing and bouldering in Melbourne for 2022:
BRUNSWICK, NORTHCOTE, ABBOTSFORD
Perhaps the vibiest of the indoor bouldering gyms, Northside Boulders' three spots across the northern side of town are a haven for good times. With the largest of the three in Northcote here you'll find a diverse range of climbs from nice beginner-friendly bouldering right up to tiny crimp holds ranging up to 4.5 metre high walls. Each climb has been colour-coded on its difficulty so it's easy to distinguish between the different trails and you can rent all necessary gear (shoes and chalk/bag) at reception.
Burnley Bouldering Wall
Technically the Burney Bouldering Wall isn’t indoors but it does receive partial cover from the elements due to its proximity under the freeway.The Burnley Wall is a community-built and funded wall on the Main Yarra Trail that’s accessible 24/7. The information board at the end of the main wall outlines the route grading system from beginner to intermediate to advanced. We suggest going at night, they light this bad boy up and it’s arguably the most fun time to go. BYO chalk and crash pad.
CBD & NUNAWADING
One with plenty of legacy, Hardrock has been an institutional part of climbing in Melbourne across both its CBD and Nunawading gyms. It's mostly lead climbing here as well as some top-rope climbing and auto-belay at the CBD venue meaning you're able to tackle the 16m high walls without a partner. This is probably one of the most core spots for indoor climbing so the routes range from user-friendly all the way up to expert. $22 will cover your entry and get you a full day of climbing, that’s right, a full day
Cliffhanger is legit; the complex is one of Australia’s tallest indoor climbing gyms, with walls stretching 27m high. We’re talking two separate bouldering areas, dedicated zones for ‘crack’ climbs and a dozen lead climbing walls set by some of the best route setters in the Southern Hemisphere. The staff here a super friendly and knowledgeable, meaning they can and will help you with any of your climbing queries.
A relative newcomer to the community originally launching in Collingwood in 2018 and Blackburn just this year, Urban Climb has quickly established itself as one of the best indoor rock and bouldering gyms in Melbourne. The hidden-away Collingwood venue in the backstreets of Wellington Street is strictly bouldering and is divided into nine stations, with seven to ten problems per station. The brand-spanking Blackburn gym is 2800sqm of climbing with a 17m high lead wall, bouldering, speed climbing and even a yoga studio.
Combining the two passions of bouldering and speciality coffee, La Roca is an absolute hidden gem (sorry for spoiling). The state-of-the-art bouldering gym in Oakleigh is a haven for new challenges with route setting taking place twice a week and the added bonus of it being open 24/7. Inside the converted warehouse, you'll find a light-filled haven of climbing with over 300sqm with over 70-different climbing routes.
A real good time environment, North Walls in Brunswick has set the standard for climbing in Melbourne, they offer introductory courses to both belaying and lead climbing. Inside the gym there over 40+ lead climbs all with varying levels of difficulty and the walls reach up 14m high—giving you plenty of that real deal feeling when you miss a hold.
Melbourne's only international standard speed-climbing facility, Gravity Worx is pretty legit. The routes change regularly, and there are up to 200 running at any one time, with difficulty levels to suit everyone from rank amateur to Alex Honnold. There are even 16 auto-belayers on standby if you can't rustle up a spotting partner. Gravity Worx runs regular in-house comps, and is more than happy to host big groups, school classes, and bday parties.
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Image credit: La Roca (supplied)
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