It's nothing great, but it's close to Palmy Nth. Introduction Ok, so we will assume that the only people REALLY interested in the Manawatu Gorge are from the Palmerston North area, so that is where this guide will base it's driving directions from. Warning- The rock here is Greywhacke and is therefore not the most solid of climbing mediums. Be aware that over time routes may change slightly as holds may break. On this note, it is advisable to wear helmets while climbing/ belaying here. Also, as stated for all climbing areas in the Gorge, mind your valuables in the car as that theft can be a problem.
Access: From downtown Palmy, hop on Main St. heading east, Main St. becomes State Highway 3. Follow Hwy 3 east towards Woodville. Just after the turn off for State Highway 57 there is a big car park on the left side of the road (this is the parking area for the gorge hiking track). This is a good landmark to base odometer readings for the 3 climbing areas through the gorge, so when you get to this point, keep track of your distance travelled. For the sake of directions, this parking area will just be referred to as the start of the gorge. On a side note.... it is technically illegal to park anywhere along the road while driving in the gorge, though many of the pull-offs can (and often do) happily accommodate a few cars. It should also be mentioned that the gorge is unfortunately well known for break-ins, so it is recommended that if you park at any of the locations mentioned it is advisable to lock your car and leave all valuables out of site (or take them with you.
Attribution: Hosted on www.freeclimb.co.nz. by Cliff Ellery. Written by Matt Natti.
This is the first bay on the left AFTER the gorge hiking track parking area.
Access: It is located (0.4)km from the start of the gorge and is easily identified by a yellow "S" (wiggly road ahead) sign just past the pull off. Bay 1 offers both bouldering and lead climbing possibilities. There are some decent cliffs, some of which can be top roped from the guard rail using a few long slings. The bouldering is an interesting (albeit small) venue which is actually UNDER the highway. It can be reached by walking just past the yellow "S" sign and then down a makeshift path on the left. The cliffs are actually directly below the car park. To reach the roped climbs, you can walk down the hill (past the boulder) and make your way along the river using a series of guide ropes. The other option is to abseil from the guard rail and pull your rope when you reach the grassy patch at the bottom of the crag. "Groovy Gecko" is the face you will typically abseil down and because of it's location and easy grade, it makes a great "final climb" as that you can opt to place a quick draw at the belay and continue up to the guard rail. This enables you to belay the remaining people up the route from the parking lot (perhaps while listening to the car radio even!).
Balance bridge offers the best "ground up" climbing in the gorge. The Corner- In between Red Block and the Main Wall is a short, steep and blank face. If the landing was better it would be a great boulder problem! The Main Wall- This one is fairly obvious..... it is the big cliff right along the water.
Access: Unlike the White Horse Rapids area, it is possible to walk to the base of most of the routes at the bridge (depending on how high the river is). It is also a bit different as that the rock there is limestone as apposed to greywhake. The bridge is located 6.6km from the start, and signifies the end of the gorge.