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Granite crack climbing and bouldering close to Melbourne, no crowds, great views, short walk to access, easy to top rope.


Granite crag just over an hour from Melbourne, situated in a Flora reserve which runs along the highway. Good views north, nice rock and smattering of lines in the 17-24 grade. Short cliffline easy to toprope, highest route is only 25m, and features some interesting cracks on good qaulity granite that is kind on the paws; a good spot for beginners to granite cracks. Climbs are generally crack affairs, there is one bolted line at time of writing, but potential for more on some faces. Makes a good little daytrip from Melbourne if you are sick of the local stuff and don't want to drive to Gramps or Araps. A nice trip is to do Big Hill and nearby Tennerife. Its a lovely location with great views north, lots of wildlife and a few climbs that stay in the shade through summer.

Access issues

While the crag itself is in a flora reserve, the horse stud that must be crossed to access it is private property.

Craig is the manager of the Horse stud at Big Hill. Really nice guy and more than happy for climbers to access via their property. Details below:

Contact Craig O'Donnell – 0402 400 880

If going to Big Hill to climb, please contact Craig beforehand to let him know. They have had issues previously with 4wd vehicles driving onto property and also shooting. Kangaroos and wallabies have been shot and left to die with some making down to the property. Because of this, the gate has now been locked so that vehicles can't get on. If climbers see anything like this happening or untoward, please also give Craig a call – he said it would be much appreciated.

NOTE: He said there have been a huge increase in the amount of snakes that have been seen – lots of browns. So take care.

Falcons nest there in September through to about November so don't access then.

There are some endangered wildflowers that grow amongst the crag boulders and cliffs (some can be found on the 'sandpaper terrace', as well as numerous wombats, echidnas and falcons, so be aware.


This is a roadside crag just off the Hume Highway. From Melbourne, head north on the Hume. A few minutes after the Avenel roadhouse you will see Mt Tennerife on your right, keep heading north until You see a turnoff for Berry Lane. Turn right, then left onto the dirt road just off the highway. Before the top of the crest you will see a gate on the right, park here, and follow the fire trail up the hill to the north. The Southern Boulders are obviously on the southern side of the ridge, and the crag is on the northern face. Climbs are described from this approach.

To get to the better boulders you need to contour around the ridge and pick out the stuff with good potential.

Where to stay

Nearby towns Avenel, Longwood, Seymour and Euroa have hotels and other accomodation.


View historical timeline

In 1969, 'Trial' (6) and 'Coolu' (5) were established, as well as the other 'chimney', 'Tribulation' (14). Chris Baxter aided Dipsomania with his brother in 1970 and led the crag favourite 'Cut Throat Crack' with Keith Lockwood. In '74 those routes went free by Mike Law, who also happened to solo a second ascent of 'A smile from Julia', and soloing the FA of 'Lightstropper'. 1974 also saw visits from Nic Taylor, Reg Marron, Iain Sedgeman, Peter Watson and Andrew Bowman took most of the obvious lines. In 1975 Mike Law and Kim Carrigan returned to put of more comments from Julia. Things stayed quiet with focus moving to the bigger crag down the road at Mt Tenerife. In the late 1990's Pat McVeigh-Mcconnel and Darryl McConnel put up the nice beginner line 'Mosquito Corner', a rather difficult 10. Steve Wilson and Robin Holmes finished off the last of what was available in 2002 with 'Battle of the Bulge', the one star 'Lost for Words' and 'Gravel Rash' all on the sandpaper terrace. They also added a nice variant to the already enjoyable 'Tribulation' at 18.


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Grade Route

Independant Boulder on approach track to crag. Up the corner, then around the bulge and up crack to finish.

FA: Robin Holmes & Steven Wilson, 2002

Up the crack. Some feel its hard for the grade (a possible 14/16?).

FA: Pat McVeigh-McConnell & Darryl McConnell

To the right of Cut Throat Crack, the narrowing crack.

FA: Mike Law, 1975

Up angled crack then into wider crack at top to finish. One of the best climbs at the crag and an easy tick for the grade.

FA: Keith Lockwood & Chris Baxter, 1970

Unknown climb on face to the left of Cutthroat Crack, line of carrots. Name of climb, FA, and grade are unknown, although some suggest it goes at around 24.

Up the wide chimney, onto large chockstone then up handcrack on left to top.

Hard for the grade.

Up column to under chockstone, traverse (bridge) out and around chockstone then to top.

A fun variation at around grade 16 is to just use the hand crack on the right side, or just the offwidth on the left.

A nice addition to the climb. Up column till you reach chockstone. Traverse left using horizontal crack then up ramp to off-width.

FA: Robin Holmes & Steven Wilson, 2002

Similar to Coolu. Up wide chimney and top out left.

1 1/2 metres left of trial, follow corner crack to rest stance, then crack to top.

FFA: Kim Carrigan & Mike Law, 1975

2m left of A Grunt from Julia. Up easy blocks into small cave. Follow left leaning crack into Dipsomania, but instead of heading right onto slabby section, continue to follow horizontal crack left under roofs and finish on final moves of A Smile from Julia.

Crackline left of Nothing at All from Julia. Follow crack as it curves left, exit right and onto slab section, top out on right arete.

FA: Chris Baxter & Nick Baxter, 1970

10m Left of Dipsomania. Follow obvious crack.

FA: Reg Marron & Andrew Bowman, 1974

A few metres left of A smile from Julia. Layback up corner crack to a rest stance on blade below cave. Head up and bridge wide, then follow chimney up to mantleshelf. Finishes at Ledge which is start of Sandpaper Crack and others.

The next four climbs are located around back of outcrop, on a large vegetated ledge. Sandpaper crack is the first line on the left. Follow the crack and around the chockstone.

FA: Nic Taylor & Peter Watson, 1974

Use start as for Lost for Words. Up left crack and over loose blocks to finish.

FA: Robin Holmes & Steven Wilson, 2002

Start right of Sandpaper crack on the Right angled crack, then exit left.

FA: Steven Wilson & Robin Holmes, 2002

The right most line on the terrace. Up and over the overhang.

FA: Mike Law, 1975


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