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A small but fun sandstone cliff near Coffs Harbour, NSW. Most of the routes are in the 15-20 grade range.
The 'Fun Parlour' is not a big cliff, being only 8 to 10 meters high. But the lines, cracks and walls are a lot of fun. The cliff is situated just out of 'Glenreagh', which is approximately half way (half an hour's drive) from Grafton and Coffs Harbour on the Orara Way.
Being a NW facing cliff summers are generally too hot for climbing at this crag, however winters days can be surprisingly warm and pleasant. After a hot day of climbing it is worth stopping at Middle Creek (500m towards Glenreagh) where a short hike leads to beautiful swimming holes.
About the middle of 'Glenreagh' Sherwood Creek Rd heads off across a bridge spanning the Orara river. Set your odometer to zero here. Follow this across the railway line, then hard left to Middle Creek (bridge at 5km). The parking for 'Fun Parlour' is a small, cleared, roadside area 500m past the bridge over Middle Creek on the Southern (right) side of the road (5.5km from turn off at Glenreagh). The crag is not visible from the road. The trail leaves the road about 10m up the hill from the parking lot. Follow a vague trail diagonally up and generally left for about 150m. When you reach the crag you are near the left hand side with the most obvious feature being the prominent, bolted roof Room With A View. Climbs are listed from left to right as you face the cliff.
The nearest bush camping is at a nearby climbing area called Wonderland. For all other levels of accomodation, it is about a 45 minute drive back into Coffs Harbour or Woolgoolga which offers everything from caravan parks and backpackers hostels to five star resorts.
Ethic inherited from Coffs Harbour
Climbing ethics in the Coffs Harbour area generally follow those of the rest of Australia. The sandstone often offers solid, natural protection which should be used instead of fixed protection where possible. Tape, ribbon, or something similar tied around a bolt or inserted in the route will indicate an incomplete route. Please respect these routes as projects until the marker is removed.
The Fun Parlour was founded by a Nymboida River Whitewater Rafting Guide, Larry Dixon some time in the early eighties. In the summer of 1984, during a moment of weakness, his brother Neil 'Dicko' Dixon agreed to see what climbing was all about and tied onto the end of the rope. They put up three routes that year, the best being Cold Tap (14), nearly melted in the process and then rushed back to the Golden Dog for some life-saving beers.
The following year, Dicko found that rock climbing interfered too much with his social life. As a result, another River Guide, Ian Allen, was talked into visiting the cliff. The result was two more new routes by Dixon, the best being Whip It (15).
The first wall route, Chicken Heroes (18) by Al Stephens from Armidale went up in 1986 along with 7 other crack routes.
The true potential of the Fun Parlour began to dawn on Dixon and Stephens in 1987 when they bolted the classic Funnel Web (16) by Dixon and Long Tall Texan (21) by Stephens. A total of eight new routes went up that year. Other visiting climbers that year were Richard Thomas (the long, tall Texan) and Mark Spence from Coffs Harbour.
The year of the Bosch, 1988, resulted in five beautiful routes, the best being the Ramones inspired Planet Earth (19) by Dixon and Quasimodo (18) by Stephens. Other visiting climbers involved int the first ascents were Graham Stewart from Armidale, Wade (Image Man) Fairly and Richard Falls from Tamworth.
1989 saw many visitors come and go and 16 superb routes being put up. Gavin (Coke) Dean, a climbing and abseiling instructor from Coffs got very serious about new routes and, with a variety of seconders, put up 12 new ones (nothing compared to what he did at Wonderland later), the best being The Raw (21) and the infamous, almost impossible for some, Rum and Coke (22). Other visitors during the winter were Niel Crabb and Mark Colyvan from Armidale, Karl Shultz from downtown Glenreagh and Davey and Tim Wood from Ulong.
In 1990 Larry Dixon became more involved in developing his Whitewater Rafting Business and temporarily retired from climbing. Dean, with Stephens and Wayne Anderson, at various times, were involved in 14 of the 15 new routes put up during the year. The best was Walt Disney's Picking Strawberries (23) by Dean (one of the hardest at Fun Parlour). Other climbers involved in the first ascents were Tim (Tadpole) Balla, Patrick Thompson, Toldy Thompson and Tim Loughlin.
In 1991, Gavin Dean discovered Wonderland which became the focus of attention for development. Since then, only a few routes have been added to the crag although it always seems to attract a few climbers every year, especially those who are looking for moderate routes.
Some content has been provided under license from: © Australian Climbing Association Queensland (Creative Commons, Attribution, Share-Alike 2.5 AU)
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