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A great place to build confidence, skills, and strength, indoor climbing walls can be found all over New Zealand


Since the first indoor walls were built in the late 1980’s the ‘plastic’ scene has come along way.

New Zealand has a proud tradition of innovative facilities fostering talented climbers.

Since you don’t need to buy a heap of gear to give it a try, they are a great place to get started if you are new to climbing. The skills you learn indoors are a great foundation that you can build on when you are ready to move into outdoor climbing, and for climbers of all abilities, they are the easiest way to keep strong and fit.


In this section of the site, you can find a comprehensive directory of climbing walls in NZ, along with the latest events and competitions near you. The vast majority of indoor walls offer discounts to NZAC members, so join up if you haven’t already!

Getting started is easy



Find a gym

Search the indoor wall directory for a climbing facility near you.

Don’t forget your NZAC card, most of them give member discounts!


Invite your friends

You’ll most likely be learning to belay (control the ropes) each other so bring a friend or two if you can. Many gyms offer bouldering which is a popular rope-free version over mats.


Get climbing

Your local gym should be able to sort you out with all the gear and instruction you need to get started. Grab the big colourful blobs, pull up, grab the next one. Repeat until at the top. Easy.


Take it outside

Many of the NZAC regional sections offer great value introductory rock climbing courses in the summer – find your local section here.

Indoor climbing types

There are a few different climbing types offered at indoor wall in New Zealand:



Top Roping

One of the most common types of climbing on ropes, top-roping involves climbing a wall protected by a rope which passes through a top anchor point.

This involves a climber, and a belayer controlling the ropes. Most gyms provide the service of teaching you how to belay as part of their introduction to the facility, although age limits usually apply.


This is a system similar to top-roping, except an auto-belay device fixed at the top of the wall controls the line and lowers the climber automatically when it is lowered. Entire facilities devoted to this now exist and are very popular with children’s groups. The first such facility, Clip ‘n Climb in Christchurch is now a worldwide phenomenon.



Lead Climbing


Of all types of roped climbing, lead is held in the highest regard. The leader takes the rope with them, attaching it to anchor points on the wall. This makes for an experience liberated from the top rope and the temptation to use it to progress, and more exciting as you can potentially fall further before the rope catches you.


Indoor bouldering involves climbing to lower heights (usually less than four metres) with large mats below for protection. This style of climbing is very social, popular and the easiest to learn. Home bouldering walls abound, and some indoor facilities are now devoted to this type of climbing.




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