The Lucky Location, Location, Location of Newcastle
Living around the Newcastle area we are lucky to have our own local Indoor Climbing Gym within close proximity. As far as natural resources go the Steel City is lucky to be sitting on and surrounded by an abundant amount of useful rock; Some of it to burn for power, the rest of the useful rock is for Rock Climbing. Around about an hour driving time North, West and South we are in reach of some tasty rock to climb on; Surrounded by a circumference of climbing. There are over 25 crags in the Hunter Valley.
Locally, Sydney has sandy sea cliffs. We have Glenrock. Barely 10 minutes away from Pulse. The rock is suitable for a quick early morning play or a late afternoon in daylight savings. New bouldering is being developed (aka cleaned) below the climbing walls. As well as fine mountain biking tracks and a secluded surfing beach we should keep this place under wraps for ourselves… Shhh.
Roughly 1hr 10min North on the Pacific highway you will drive right through the Bulahdelah township. Stop at the Climbers favourite bakery for the day’s supplies and some portion controlled breakfast. Stare up at Alum Mountain and think about the days climbing ahead. Full of window-washing action you’ll take in trying to find that crucial hold you’ve been looking for. It is solid rock with a character and quality that is unique in Australia. So sought after it used to be mined and sent by ship to England. We just have to drive 60 or so minutes north. Hmm! We can climb up there when everywhere else in NSW (except for Central Coast and Pulse) is wet from Rain.
Chris Bentho doing the Chicken Dance 21/22 Bulahdelah
Justin “the magician” Jefferson on the First ascent of Karmagedden 26ish Goat Cave.
About 45 minutes North to Port Stephens / Nelson Bay along the Nelson Bay Rd turn right on to Gan Gan Rd will get you to Anna Bay. A few more minutes along will take you to either Fisherman’s Bay, Boat Harbour or One Mile beach areas. All are great climbing destinations incorporated in the Port Stephens area (15-20 minutes further North up to Tomaree Head).
Megan leading at Morna Point.
Dan Wild high up at Docks Boulder spot.
Climbing by the sea side is great for a fresh, calm winter’s morning and great for an afternoon summer session. Bouldering, Sport or Traditional climbing on clean ocean washed Rhyodacite (volcanic rock similar to granite). Sea Cliff Climbing reminds us why 85% of the Australian population lives close to the coastline of Australia.
45 minutes Southwest will take you to the Watagans state forest, a wilderness area, just a stones throw away from home with scenic lookouts that overlook the luscious Hunter Valley. Some of these lookouts have rock crags under them which allow for vertical adventure. Even abseiling can be adventurous to abseil down to the bottom. Once down, if you are lucky like any Novacastrian is you will get to climb back up. The rock in the Watagans is Narrabeen sandstone adding another variant climbing style around Newcastle region.
Heather Climbing Bereska at Monkey Face.
Tim Haasnoot climbing on top of Weena 23
An hour travelling south will lead you to the Central Coast which is located centrally between Sydney and Newcastle (voila the Central Coast). More than half the Climbing crags on the Central Coast are accessible by public transport and all but two have a picturesque view. The saving grace of the other two: the first is a 60 second walk from a petrol station (quick access to a can of energy drink and Mars Bars!); and the other crag, well it’s out there somewhere, we don’t talk about it that much… So, 31 out of 33 central coast crags make you feel like you are living the life (Viva la Vida), and are super accessible when you only have a little spare time, that’s pretty good statistics!
The Sandstone on the Coast is of the Hawkesbury River band. The harder grades usually climb on the heavily sunbake mineral coated, golden steep caves. The moderate to easy grades climb on challenging grey faces and slabs.
Keith H climbing Red Light Special 18 in the Red light District at West Gosford.
Chris Beric Happy at the happy place Woy Woy.
Tim Haasnoot climbing on a Grade 20 over Patonga
The Hawkesbury River is also only a little further south as well.
Tim and Chris Bentham on Fretted Pom 23/24 at the bluffs on Hawkesbury River
I think our lucky location is amongst a fine, natural selection of climbing spots, pristine surfing beaches, mountain biking areas, hiking, wine drinking, pubs, clubs, Pulse and lolly shops confirms our reason for living in this spectacular part of our wonderful world.
Whether you need your coastal fix climbing at Nelson Bay, a window-washing exercise finding holds at Bulahdelah or revelling in the golden caves of the Central Coast. I cannot see why any self-respecting Rock Climber wouldn’t choose to live around the Newcastle region.
But I guess we shouldn’t tell too many people how lucky we are up here! Just for the Pulse People.