Wharepapa south rock climbing

Increased climbing access could inspire future Olympians

More access for rock climbers in north Waikato will enable more New Zealanders to enjoy the Olympic sport. Increased public access to crags (steep or rugged cliffs or rock faces) around Wharepapa South means more routes for rock climbers.

Edwin Sheppard from the Aotearoa Climbing Access Trust exclaims, “It [rock climbing] is definitely growing in popularity, it hasn’t been a mainstream sport in the past but it’s going more in that direction”.

Wharepapa South region in the Waikato is a hub for climbers, with locals and Aucklanders often frequenting the volcanic rock faces with over 1000 different routes.

Wharepapa South has about 10 crags Edwin says, but half are closed for climbing. Most of the crags are on farms, so climbers rely on the goodwill of the farmers for the future of their sport.

There are common misunderstandings that stop landowners with crags on their land enabling public access. "There is a misconception that climbing is quite a dangerous sport and secondly that landowners can be liable if a climbing accident happens on their land, where actually that’s not the case," says Sheppard.

The Walking Access Commission helps to address these myths. Walking Access supports landowners, climbers and the Aotearoa Climbing Access Trust to create sustainable climbing access for our climbers. 

More information on outdoor access for climbers on the Walking Access website.

Page last updated: Aug 11, 2021, 12:41 PM