Rock climbing in Gariwerd
For more than 22,000 years, Gariwerd has been the living, hunting, gathering, cultivating, ceremonial, Dreaming Country and territory for Traditional Owners.
Gariwerd Traditional Owners are represented by: Barengi Gadjin Land Council, Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation, and Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation. Together, they form a Strategic Partnership Committee of Traditional Owners.
All parts of Gariwerd have cultural meanings and associated values for Traditional Owners – the land, its waters, skies, the plants and animals.
The landscape contains more than 500 registered Aboriginal places, with 277 located within parks and reserves managed by Parks Victoria. The region holds the richest concentration of Aboriginal rock art in Victoria.
Parks Victoria and Traditional Owners were partners in developing the Greater Gariwerd Landscape Management Plan which was released in 2021. Opportunities for recreation, including rock climbing, have been identified in the plan.
Extensive assessments and work with Traditional Owners were undertaken to define more than 100 rock climbing locations in the park. This includes 13 bouldering sites.
Frequently asked questions
Where can I climb? How many sites are open to rock climbing?
You can rock climb in Gariwerd at more than 100 designated areas, including 13 bouldering areas. Most sites contain multiple different climbs within them. See the maps showing the approximate location of these areas.
Please note there are some existing and new conditions to rock climbing in the Gariwerd landscape. These include; obtaining a permit (available for free online), using approved coloured chalk, and using designated tracks where they exist. Some of these conditions such as the rock climbing permit will take a while to establish, until it is established rock climbing can occur in designated areas without a permit.
Is Taipan Wall open to rock climbing?
Yes, it will be. Upper Taipan Wall was assessed and found to have cultural values. However, through discussions with Traditional Owners, who worked with the Gariwerd Wimmera Reconciliation Group, alternate access points and other mitigation measures were identified and agreed as suitable for allowing access. Once these measures have been put in place, Upper Taipan Wall will be a designated rock climbing area. The same conditions such as the rock climbing permit will apply (when the permit system is available).
Will other sites be open to rock climbing in the future?
The plan includes a list of other possible rock climbing sites that can be assessed to see whether they are suitable for rock climbing in the future. Which sites are assessed and when will depend on resourcing into the future. Parks Victoria has identified funding for continuing assessments of priority areas in the first 12 months. We will work with climbing representatives to identify these areas.
There will be no further bouldering areas opened due to the high impacts of the activity and subsequent management required to mitigate impacts.
Why does there need to be a permit for rock climbing?
It is not uncommon for sports to require permits when there are conditions on that activity that mitigate harm, fishing licenses are an example. In the case of rock climbing in Gariwerd, it is important the all users understand the cultural significance of the landscape and the conditions they climb under.
The permit will be free and can be completed online. There are still more logistics to work through and it could take up to a year before it is finalised. More details will be provided as the process is finalised.
Can I use and install fixed protections?
Within designated climbing areas the use and installation of fixed protection (bolts) is permitted to enable climbing. Rock climbers are responsible for assessing and accept the risk associated in undertaking the activity within these areas.
There are buffer areas within some designated climbing areas to protect cultural or environmental values. The use and installation of bolts is not permitted in these buffer areas.
Parks Victoria encourages minimising the impacts of recreation and will continue working with the rock climbing community on state-wide guidance about appropriate use of fixed protection in parks.
Is Summer Day Valley Licensed Tour Operator access only?
Yes. Due to the cultural values, you can only climb with a Licensed Tour Operators (LTO) at Summer Day Valley. LTO permit conditions allow land managers to specify additional protections to ensure the cultural values are monitored and protected.
We have taken on feedback about ensuring free access to all abilities climbing, and the plan includes a strategy to seek to establish all abilities climbing in another designated rock climbing area.