Rock climbing

The 10 Best Indoor Bouldering and Climbing Gyms in Melbourne

With Melbourne’s lockdown lifted, it’s time to start climbing again.

Not so long ago, rock climbing was considered a niche sport. Few gyms offered it and dedicated climbers were rare. This time is no more. between the popularity of ninja warrior and 2018 Free Solo, escalation – and its close cousin, the block – became big business.

And for good reason: rock climbing is one of those rare sports, like surfing, where you get a killer workout without looking like you’re working out. But, boy, do you feel it the next day. Few things test your grip and core strength like a session on the rock climbing wall.

Don’t believe us? These ten gyms, offering some of the best climbing and bouldering experiences in Melbourne, are ready and waiting for your arrival.

But before you get started, a quick word on some basics…

What is the difference between rock climbing and bouldering?

Good question. Rock climbing involves scaling a wall using a rope and harness, while bouldering has you climbing a wall with only a crash pad underneath you. As a result, wall climbing is generally taller and involves more stamina while bouldering is often shorter (usually no higher than 4.5m) and requires problem solving skills when determining the best itinerary.

In fact, block lanes are often called “problems” for this reason. Second, the equipment. If you are climbing, things like a climbing harness, a belay device (essentially a braking device) and special shoes are required.

For bouldering, there are really only shoes. Given that you may lose ground, it is worth investing in the right things. However, all good climbing gyms, like the ones below, offer equipment for hire. We suggest you try out the equipment on offer before investing.

Gym Location Price Website
Hard Rock

16-18 Varman Court

Nunawading, VIC 3131

$20 occasional entry for rock climbing; $15 occasional entry for the block hardrock.com.au
bay side 9 Network DriveCarrum Downs, VIC, 3201, Australia From $95/month baysiderock.com.au/
Urban climbing 29/41 Down Street, Collingwood VIC 3066 occasional entry $25; from $29.85/week, includes yoga and gym access urbanclimb.com.au/
Worx Gravity 182-184 Sussex Street, Pascoe Vale VIC 3044 $23 occasional entry climbing; $17 occasional block entry gravityworx.com.au/
Rocks on the north side 329 Victoria Street, Brunswick VIC 3056 occasional entry $22; $130/month with access to all locations northsideboulders.com/
Clip’n Climb Warehouse 2, 134 Maddox Road, North Williamstown 3016 Victoria occasional entry $20; $150 ten visits clipnclimbwilliamstown.com.au/
BlocHaus Unit 2 359 Plummer Street, Port Melbourne VIC casual entree $21; $189 ten visits mlb.blochaus.com.au/
rock lab 8/1821 Ferntree Gully Road occasional entry $20; $180 ten visits boulderlab.com.au/
Ride West 193 Maidstone Street, Altona VIC 3018 occasional entry $20; $32/week for six months climbwestmelbourne.com.au/
Burnley block wall Citylink, Richmond VIC 3121 Free facebook.com/burnleyboulderingwall/

Hard Rock

This place has it all. There are no less than 51 high rope walls* and over 40 bouldering problems to tackle. For the best stringers among us: All routes are set up with pre-attached belay devices, so there’s no need to bring your own. If Nunawading is too remote for you, Hardrock also has a location in the CBD.

*Top-of-the-rope climbing simply refers to climbing where the individual is attached to a rope that passes up to an anchor system and then back down to a “belayer” (your companion holding the rope ) downstairs.

Location: 16-18 Varman Court, Nunawading, VIC 3131

Contact: 03 9894 4183

Price: $20 casual entry for rock climbing; $15 occasional entry for the block

hardrock.com.au

bay side

Bayside ticks all the boxes in terms of gear and coaching, but it’s the community aspect that keeps people coming back. They host social climbing parties where you are invited to meet and greet other like-minded climbers, as well as women’s and student parties.

Location: 9 Network DriveCarrum Downs, VIC, 3201, Australia

Contact: 03 9775 1557

Price: Starting at $95/month

baysiderock.com.au

Urban climbing

With four locations on the East Coast, Urban Climb is one of the biggest names in the Australian climbing scene. The Collingwood location offers top quality bouldering as well as fitness and yoga classes.

Location: 29/41 Down Street, Collingwood VIC 3066

Contact: 1300 001 203

Price: $25 occasional entry; from $29.85/week, includes yoga and gym access

urbanclimb.com.au

Worx Gravity

If speed is your thing, Gravity is the place for you. Why? One of Gravity’s specialties is speed climbing, a sport in which two climbers navigate identical routes, with the first to hit the buzzer at the top being declared the winner. In fact, Gravity is the only gym in Australia to have a standard speed wall, accredited by the good folks at the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC). This means that their speed wall is identical to the one used during the climbing world cup. It’s time to practice!

Location: 182-184 Sussex Street, Pascoe Vale VIC 3044

Contact: 03 9350 1789

Price: $23 occasional entry escalation; $17 occasional block entry

gravityworx.com.au

Rocks on the north side

As the title suggests, Northside is all about the boulder and they have three locations across Melbourne. Fostering an inviting community atmosphere via regular events, Northside is suitable for everyone from absolute beginners to pros. They also offer yoga and stock awesome products so you can always just copy the t-shirt and tell people you’re a climber. Your call.

Location: 329 Victoria Street, Brunswick VIC 3056

Contact: northsideboulders.com

Price: $22 occasional entry; $130/month with access to all locations

northsideboulders.com

Clip’n Climb

Part theme park, part climbing gym, Clip ‘n Climb is a fun way to spend the afternoon. There’s a range of obstacles and challenges to overcome in a totally non-competitive environment and while they offer an impressive range of kids’ parties, trust us when we say it’s great fun too without children.

Location: Warehouse 2, 134 Maddox Road, North Williamstown 3016 Victoria

Contact: (03) 9448 8642

Price: $20 occasional entry; $150 ten visits

clipnclimbwilliamstown.com.au

BlocHaus

Dubbed the “rockiest bouldering gym” in Melbourne (see what they did there?), BlocHaus has 850 square meters of climbing surface, which is then divided into different sections with two sections cleared and reset every week. That equates to a shiny new gym every 8 weeks. Beginner courses are also offered, as well as an impressive program for young people.

Location: Unit 2 359 plummer street, port melbourne VIC

Contact: (03) 9646 6018

Price: $21 occasional entry; $189 ten visits

blochaus.portal.approach.app

rock lab

Another space dedicated to bouldering, the Lab has more than 700 square meters of walls as well as a training area and a gym. They made the smart decision to use locks to renovate the space, so expect a new and improved gym on your next visit.

Location: 8/1821 Ferntree Gully Road

Contact: 03 8719 6444

Price: $20 occasional entry; $180 ten visits

boulderlab.com.au

Ride West

Climb West offers bouldering, fitness, yoga and coffee, which we think is a really good combination. The space is beautifully maintained and there is a wellness center to take care of you between climbs. On their site, they were even kind enough to offer a breakdown climbing slang for beginners so you know your “slabs” from your “sends” before you hit the gym.

Location: 193 Maidstone Street, Altona VIC 3018

Contact: climbingwestmelbourne.com.au/contact-us/

Price: $20 occasional entry; $32/week for six months

climbwestmelbourne.com.au

Burnley block wall

Ok, it’s not technically a gym, it’s an open bouldering wall, but that’s exactly why it’s on this list. Located in the suburb of Burnley, the space is well maintained (however, we don’t know by whom) and there are a total of 3 walls meaning there is room for everyone. Oh, and did we mention, it’s free?

Location: Citylink, Richmond VIC 3121

Contact: facebook.com/burnleyboulderingwall/

Price: Free

Social: facebook.com/burnleyboulderingwall/

Christopher Riley

A former deputy editor of GQ, Chris is a new addition to the relaunched Australian Men’s Health. Passionate (read: obsessive) about the gym, Chris prides himself on maintaining a shredded exterior. When he’s not making outrageous claims, he focuses on producing engaging content that informs as much as it entertains.