Best Beginner Rock Climbing Crags in New Zealand

Best Beginner Rock Climbing Crags in New Zealand

If you're an outdoor enthusiast looking to try your hand at climbing in New Zealand, you're in for a treat! This beautiful country is known for its stunning landscapes, which offer some incredible climbing opportunities for beginners. Whether you're a newbie to the sport or an experienced climber looking for a more relaxed climbing experience, here are some of the best beginner-friendly climbing crags in New Zealand. If you want to improve your climbing, our Adventure Guide Programs are the perfect options for you!



  • Located on New Zealand's South Island, Castle Hill Basin is a world-renowned bouldering destination that offers excellent climbing options for beginners. The unique limestone boulders at Castle Hill Basin are known for their distinctive shapes and formations, which make for fun and challenging climbs. The area has a variety of routes suitable for climbers of all skill levels, from easy slabs to more technical climbs. Plus, the stunning alpine scenery surrounding Castle Hill Basin makes for a truly memorable climbing experience.


  • Wharepapa South, located in the Waikato region of the North Island, is a fantastic climbing crag for beginners. The limestone cliffs at Wharepapa South offer a wide range of climbing routes, with many suitable for those new to climbing. The area has a friendly and welcoming climbing community, making it a great place to learn the ropes and meet fellow climbers. The routes at Wharepapa South are well-equipped with bolts, making it easy for beginners to safely practice their skills.


  • Paynes Ford in Takaka (near Nelson), on the South Island, is another great climbing crag for beginners. This limestone crag offers a variety of routes, ranging from easy to moderate difficulty, making it ideal for those just starting out. Paynes Ford is known for its well-maintained routes and excellent bolting, making it a safe and enjoyable climbing experience. The area also has a beautiful river running through it, providing a refreshing spot for a dip after a day of climbing.


  • Located in the beautiful Wānaka region of the South Island, Hospital Flats is a popular climbing spot for beginners. The schist cliffs at Hospital Flats offer a variety of climbing options, including slab climbs that are perfect for beginners. The area has a relaxed and friendly vibe, making it a great place for new climbers to learn and practice their skills. The stunning scenery of the Wānaka region, with its lakes and mountains, adds to the overall experience of climbing at Hospital Flats.


  • Whanganui Bay, situated on the shores of Lake Taupō in the North Island, is another excellent climbing destination for beginners. The basalt cliffs at Whanganui Bay offer a variety of climbs suitable for beginners, including easy top-rope routes and some trad climbing options. The area has beautiful views of Lake Taupō and a relaxed atmosphere, making it a great place to learn and improve climbing skills.


  • If you're looking for a more adventurous climbing experience, The Remarkables near Queenstown on the South Island may be just the place for you. This alpine area offers a range of climbing options, from easy scrambles to more technical routes. The Remarkables are known for their stunning views of the surrounding mountains and lakes, providing a breathtaking backdrop for your climbing adventures.


  • The Catlins, located in the Otago region of the South Island, offer a unique climbing experience for beginners. This coastal area features limestone sea cliffs that provide excellent climbing opportunities for those new to the sport. The routes at Catlins vary in difficulty, but there are plenty of options for beginners to choose from.