Townsville is the perfect place for climbing close to the city and offers something for everyone, with most areas within half an hour drive and many different styles of climbing. From the large as life boulders of "Harvey's Marbles" and "Magnetic Island", to the high quality trad and sport climbs of "Mt Stuart" and "Frederick Peak" and the 100 metre multi-pitches of "Castle Hill", you will easily find something to suit you.
Townsville is a popular travel location for rock climbers from all around Australia for the sheer number of high quality and easy accessible climbs. Townsville will leave you feeling like Spiderman by the end of your stay.
Most areas are free to access to the public, some are closed for short times during the year due to car, bike and running races and other events such as flooding, bushfires or landslides after heavy rain but they will open again soon after.
Also, see the lastest climbing guidebook Townsville Climbing 2020 Edition.
1. Frederick Peak (Trad & Sport)
The rock formations are amazing out here! A healthy mix of trad and sport. Lot of variety of climbing types: top rope, easy, hard, trad, sport (single and multi-pitch) with beautiful views in a very adventurous and remote-feeling location, despite its relatively easy access from nearby Townsville. An excellent guide on climbing at Frederick Peak is available. A four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended to access this crag.
★★ Speed of Life
Starts on the first four bolts of OMF and continues straight up. It's a classic route and a very nice warm-up route for the area. There is a small cairn (a rock stack) to reach the bad starting holds and then up to the better hold.
|Sport 20m, 11|
★★ Revenge of the Pixies
Beginning 15m R of FD, climb the steep orange slopers. Finish at anchor below roof.
|Sport 9m, 5|
Start off the block as for "Master's Apprentice", technical moves off ledge then a brilliant punchy finish through awesome steep pockets.
|Sport 20m, 11|
★★★ Old Man Frederick
Around the corner from Transcontinental. A rising line trending up left to a high crux with crescendoing funky moves and a steep finish.
|Sport 25m, 13|
2. Mount Stuart (Mainly Trad)
The playground is very easy to access with very well developed climbs. More climbing has been done here than anywhere else in Townsville! Quality granite, shady in the afternoons with a cool breeze and can be climbed all year round. Mt Stuart is mainly a trad crag but has some sport climbs bolted. The majority of climbing on Mt Stuart is on defence land.
One of the first recorded routes at Mt Stuart. Climbs the obvious R facing corner to ledge at half height then solid laybacking up the flake to top. Tricky to protect down low; take small wires/RP's, very small cam, 0 Camalot X3 works a treat. You need to be solid at grade 17 to lead this route (Can be top roped off double bolts above climb). Be wary of the block at the top which appears to move.
Starting on the arête to the left of "Par 3". This fun climb is a mega classic with spectacular views and providing a true feeling of exposure. This awe inspiring climb offering excellent photo opportunities with powerful starting moves and an interesting mix of crimps and balancey high block steps for the rest.
|Sport 18m, 8|
★★★ Monkey Jar
Start at the marked "MJ" move straight up to ledge then take the dihedral with the flared chimney start on the right, move up dihedral to finish
★★★ Salt in the Wound
Steep and technical on good rock. Start at the small corner, up and R to gear, climb L of the FHs to join "SOAD" at the Cam break. At the ledge step L and up the steep jamb crack.
|Mixed 20m, 3|
3. Castle Hill (Mainly Trad & Bouldering)
With 100 metre main walls and boulders scattered throughout the area, you can't go wrong. It's perfectly located in the middle of the city. Bouldering, sport climbs, and multi-pitches, Castle Hill offers something for all styles of climbing. Having such a large monolithic rock in the middle of the city is truly unique and super convenient. Climbers have been drawn to Castle Hill for many years, who knows when it was first developed... Castle Hill is part of Townsville City Council and you may need a permit for some of the climbs.
A 'Castle Hill' classic. A great climb to do in the afternoon. The route was rebolted in late 1998 to make it completely safe. Simply great climbing with excellent positions up the top.
|Sport 70m, 3|
Starts 5m R of TEoR, around the next side of the pinnacle. Clip the 1st FH and climb onto the face before heading L around the arete and up the vertical face, avoiding any of the large cheat stones for your feet (FH). Up, clipping the 3rd FH off a LH mono before reaching for the arete. Continue up the arete (2FH) before traversing (crux) around the bulge clipping the tricky 5th FH. Now up the overhanging wall on jugs to the chains.
|Sport 11m, 5|
★★ Saint and Sinner
"Saint" for obvious reasons, and "Sinner" because of the bolts - a plethora of puny 10mm dynabolts which means the route will need to be rebolted. Nevertheless, a great achievement. There are four rap stations on the route and about 50 bolts.
|Sport 120m, 4|
4. Harvey's Marbles (Bouldering)
World class bouldering! A must do while in Townsville! Quality granite boulders amongst scrubby eucalypt bushland ranging in grades and sizes, some as big as houses. You can easily lose countless hours exploring this vast area, and that's not counting the climbing time. Located out at Hervey Range, Harvey's Marbles has over 1000 problems documented with scope for more than 5000 more problems. From low angled friction slabs to crimpy overhung walls and even some decent Elvis Leg inducing highballs. It was first discovered by Madoc Sheehan in 1999 and with the help of Steve Baskerville, they have developed many of the problems and wrote an excellent guide on bouldering at Harvey's Marbles.
★★ Bum Crack
A balancy crack and face climbing to a slope at the top with a pleasant top out. Classic. See Bum Crack Sit Start for a slightly harder problem
★★★ Fall From Grace
"The Inner Circle" classic problem with lovely technical moves. Up the L leaning vague arête. This is normally done from a sit start, although the stand is no easier.
★★ The Good Wife
Starting 2m right of "The Divorce". A steep highball face with good edges and sidepulls, just left of the obvious flake, with the crux at the top. Standing start off the pair of chunky edges. A super classic!
5. Rocky Bay (Mainly Bouldering)
Magnetic Island is a boulderer's dream! The island is covered with granite boulders varying in sizes with an uncountable number of potential problems. It's the perfect place to explore new areas and contribute your own first ascent. Catching the ferry across to the island only takes 20 minutes with SeaLink. The most developed areas are found in the bays, but don't stop there go explore! Rocky Bay is only a short walk from the ferry terminal (Nelly Bay) and offers a wide range of bouldering problems. Keep an eye out for snakes as death adders are quite common on Magnetic Island.
★★ Slap Happy
The obvious rising traverse line from L to R on the next side around. Start as far left as possible and slap along right on very open-grip holds. Finish by topping out on the boulder. Quite a bit harder when done barefoot.
★ The Whale Rail
Start L of "Whale Traverse" at a tips mono pocket and traverse R along foot rails to exit up middle slabs.
★★ Nudie Rudie
Slopers to the obvious horn.