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Climbing At Whanganui Bay

Quick Facts

Your next adventure: Whanganui Bay

Where in the world?: New Zealand

Activity: Climbing

Difficulty: The climbing grades range from 13 right through to 30. There is something for any skill level at the Bay.

Wrap up: Whanganui Bay is on the shores of Lake Taupo, boasting spectacular ignimbrite cliffs. The bay is simply beautiful, the type of place a climber dreams of. You will find climbing here to suit every climber.

About the Bay...

Whanganui Bay is one of many bays around the shores of Lake Taupo that boasts spectacular ignimbrite cliffs, and is easily the most established in terms of Sport and Crag Climbing.

The land belongs to the local Iwi who have a Marae overlooking the bay. There has always been a high level of respect from climbers using this unique area, the people who make this special place home have continued to give climbers permission to return time and time again. Mere runs the camp and should be no trouble to find along the beach, in her home. Courtesy and tradition require that you leave a koha (payment) before leaving this site.

The densely pocketed rock lends itself to technical balanced climbing on faces that are not too steep. In fact, you may struggle to find an overhang here, but be assured, once you do, the challenge laid out by the small edges and pockets you find on the faces will not subside. The rock is less abrasive than the ignimbrite further north allowing for longer days spent climbing but still able to pick up a pen on Monday morning after a weekend trip.

This Crag has all the ingredients to challenge almost any climber, however, the majority of the North Island craggers will not be here grade hunting. The “Bay" is simply beautiful; this is the type of place a climber dreams of. It's the type of place you can happily find yourself up high on an arête, not pushing your grades but having an “I'm terrified of heights" moment, but with a simple glance towards the lake the fear is replaced by the resounding thought of “This is why I climb".


Climbing is best from Spring to Autumn. Lake Taupo keeps the climate at Whanganui Bay relatively temperate. It will get cold at nights and if the sun is out the days are always pleasantly warm.

Tips from an Expert...

  • The place to stay whilst at The Bay is the campsite by the lake. There are trees for shade and plenty of stones to make a fire circle if there isn't one already set up.
  • Most of the routes at the Bay are short pitches, so for the most part a 50m rope will do fine.
  • As with any multi pitch area a few extra biners for anchors is a good idea, 3 good pairs as well as your belay biner is a good idea.
  • An ATC guide will make the multi pitch belays a bit easier too and around 8 to 10 quickdraws should happily see you up any route. Check out our range of climbing gear now.
  • Tents at the bay tend to be just for sleeping, days are spent climbing. Purchase a tent that you can use for other pursuits as well.
  • The bay is about climbing and the views, so make sure to enjoy both.

Thanks to...

Joe Hopkirk for sharing his knowledge of Whanganui Bay with us. Joe is a highly experienced climber with over ten years' experience in climbing all over the world, including has a year crag hunting in South Korea and 3 months in Tonsai, Thailand. We thank Joe for sharing his knowledge and stories on climbing.

Still hungry for more adventure?

Check out the other Places You'd Rather Be destination guides for more adventure inspiration.

For gear ideas, check out our climbing gear list.

Categories: Destinations  


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