The best sport climbing in the state. Sometimes ugly, but great climbing, with a huge variety of styles. Also home to some of the state's hardest bouldering.


Nowra is a fantastic sport climbing area, in quite a beautiful urban setting, with many of the crags sitting in valleys carved out by the Shoalhaven River. It is not unusual to park your car outside someone's house, then disappear into the bush, and 3 minutes later be at the crag. The climbing is characterised by being steep and powerful, there are not many pure endurance routes. While the climbing is not as visually inspiring as other areas in Australia, once you're on it's very good.

Nowra is a very comfortable place to climb, most crags require a five minute approach at the most. All routes are bolted with easy lower offs and the rock is generally very good. While Nowra doesn’t offer the casual café style that the Blue Mountains has, it is a good location for rest days, with reasonable surf only a short drive away. Nowra itself has all the amenities you would expect from a reasonably sized city.

For the beginner climber Nowra doesn't have a lot to offer, all the easier type climbs do tend to be the chossier ones, and there is very little below grade 18. For the intermediate to advanced climber however there is a lot of very good routes to do, especially if you climb 20+. The best crag in the area is Thompson's Point, it offers more climbing in a greater range of grades than any other Nowra crag. This is probably the best crag to visit if you are an intermediate climber. In the 18 to 24 range there is a plethora of really good routes, all well protected and ideal for pushing your grades on.

For the advanced climber there is loads of stuff to do. There are a lot of other crags apart from Thompson's, they are not quite so large and varied. The intermediate climber has to wander about a bit, but there are some real gems to be found. For the harder climber Nowra is a paradise of projects to do.

Apart from climbing there is also a lot of bouldering, a lot of hard stuff has been done at areas like Lot 33 and Cheesedale, with much more being developed.

All up Nowra is a great place to climb, what it lacks in presence, it makes up for in fun.

Access issues inherited from New South Wales and ACT

If you have benefited from climbing infrastructure in NSW, please consider making a donation towards maintenance costs. The Sydney Rockclimbing Club Rebolting Fund finances the replacement of old bolts on existing climbs and the maintenance of other hardware such as fixed ropes and anchors. The SRC purchases hardware, such as bolts and glue, and distributes them to volunteer rebolters across the state of New South Wales. For more information, including donation details, visit


Three hours south of Sydney. It’s easy to get public transport to Nowra, once you are there many of the crags are in walking distance of each other. If you're staying at one of the parks opposite Thompson's Point it may be wise to hire a canoe to get across, which saves a long walk.

Where to stay

It is possible to bush camp for free, but you want to have found a very secluded spot- climbers' cars have been broken into. The best option is to pay for camping at one of the parks opposite Thompson's Point.

Ethic inherited from Illawarra and Shoalhaven

Lots of bolts in this region. Most development has been done after the 1980s.

Did you know?

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Check out what is happening in Nowra.

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