Rock climbing is great for health and fitness and team building, and of course, it's a fun-filled activity for all ages. Bouldering, as the name suggests, is climbing boulders with the freedom to go rope and harness free but at safer low wall heights. There is no shortage of rock climbing and bouldering gyms in Melbourne, and we’ve picked the best if you’ve in the mood for some vertical adventures.
Rock climbing in Melbourne
Gravity Worx in Pascoe Vale has up to 50 different rock climbing routes of varying difficulty. There is a mix of top rope (safety partnered), auto-belay (solo) and lead climbing (periodic clip-in harness) on offer. The 16 auto-belays are ideal for children, inexperienced climbers and those who don’t have a climbing partner, so don't worry about rocking up solo. Gravity Worx also hosts regular climbing competitions, stretching and yoga classes and outdoor sessions.
Bayside Rock has something for every climber. Under 13s will love Climb Time, a child-friendly area that provides 25 fully automated climbing stations that don’t require parental supervision. Designed by an Australian national climbing champion, the top ropes section has 50 climbs that are 10 to 12 metres high. Bayside also has a bouldering area for those who prefer a rope-free experience, with over 300 metres of courses with 100 problems in varying grades. They keep you closer to the ground at 4.5 metres in height. You can also explore the ropes course – you can essentially spend all day here. Climbing shoes and chalk bags can be hired.
Northside Boulders comes from the same team who own and operate Melbourne’s first dedicated bouldering gym, the Lactic Factory in Abbotsford. The walls here are up to 4.5 metres high and are angled from inclined slabs to horizontal roofs. Northside also has food onsite to get climbers refuelled and refreshed to take on their next challenge. The space has the same signature furnishings and plants as the Abbotsford gym, and there are some wicked tunes to boot.
It's hard to miss Hardrock's CBD location. Located above Swanston Street, this climbing venue offers floor-to-ceiling views of the street and its multiple intersections. For keen climbers, Hardrock offers 44 top rope walls, which are up to 16 metres high. The venue also has four auto-belay walls, so you don’t have to bring a spotter as the automated cable system will catch climbers if they fall. For experienced climbers, the venue's grade ranges from six to 30, so if you have one, bring your locking karabiner and staff can provide the climbing shoes. The climbs are for punters 11 years and over, while younger climbers can engage in interactive rock climbing games. Hardrock also has a venue in Nunawading which also features a bouldering cave and 51 top rope walls up to 14 metres high.
Located in Brunswick, North Walls has the distinct honour of featuring climbing walls by Walltopia, an international wall-climbing manufacturer. These specially made walls provide plenty of climbing routes for all levels. Plus for the serious climbers, there are lead tests during certain hours. North Walls has a strong sense of community, often hosting a variety of workshops for avid climbers, including ones that are for women only. It also hosts competitions for climbers to test how many routes they can complete without taking a rest. If you aren’t gripping ropes, there is also a café on site where you can recharge with freshly ground coffee.
Up Unlimited Moorabbin is a climbing gym concept that was originally brought over from New Zealand. There are more than 30 clip-and-climb challenges to try, available in a range of difficulties, which are all equipped with TruBlue auto-belay technology, making it easy to climb without a climbing buddy. There are even Speed Walls, which have timers to race climbers on parallel climbs. Once you've climbed the walls, there's also a caving obstacle course to try that includes over 85 metres of caving fun (including a ball pit!). Brave punters can even try the vertical drop side and Leap of Faith obstacle. Up Unlimited is open to all ages, with climbing prices starting at $12.50 per person.
Go for a round of climbing at Latitude’s top-notch rock climbing walls, which include around 180 metres of climbing fun. There are 14 unique challenges, including a down-rush bungee platform and a six-section sky-high obstacle course. After you climb, go for a bounce on Latitude's 100 interconnected trampolines, performance area, giant airbag, dodgeball courts and basketball lanes. There’s fun for the littlest bouncers too with Latitude’s dedicated Kids Zone, designed for kids aged 18 months to five years.
Melbourne's first dedicated bouldering gym, the Lactic Factory features 3.8-metre high walls sloping at all angles, from a gentle ten-degree overhang to a brutal 60 degrees, all surrounded by nice soft mats in case you should put your faith in the wrong climbing hold. When you’re not climbing, there are plenty of nice spots to relax, with food and drink options available. Basic climbing gear is available to buy, and you can also hire climbing shoes if you don’t have your own.
If you're looking for both climbing and bouldering in one, the Cliffhanger Climbing Gym is Australia's tallest indoor rock-climbing centre, where everyone from children (ages 4+) to adults can scramble up rock faces and defy gravity to their heart's content. The gym is located in Altona North and is part of the Westgate Entertainment Complex.