The Castle Hill Basin is made up of nine areas as described below. There are three different land owners / access arrangements - please read about each area before you visit.
Don't climb on already polished rock. Explore.
Flock Hill is closed for lambing until 25th December.
Please read the safety notice and follow these guidelines:
- Park respectfully - clear of the gate and well off the road. If the small car park seems too full please considering bouldering somewhere else that day!
- Leave no trace, don't stash pads and gear.
- Wash problems when finished, leave them pristine for the next person. more
Part of the Conservation Area - Castle Hill (s.25 - Stewardship Area) but there is no negotiated right of way at present.
Prebble Hill (aka “Teapot” - check out the view from CH Village if you don’t get that reference..) has had little exploration to date and is the ‘land of the projects’. Stunning compression problems, awe-inspiring mountain views, and seemingly-infinite lines to clean make Teapot a premier destination (if you were allowed to get there...)
Check https://www.doc.govt.nz/map/index.html for the location of recent marginal strips which show a access route along the Thomas river or through Gorge Hill.
This is a small field, but somehow a few excellent problems have been cleaned & climbed.
Part of the Conservation Area - Castle Hill (s.25 - Stewardship Area) but has no negotiated access route.
The Cave Stream Scenic Reserve is home to one of the most outstanding natural features in the Canterbury region - a 594 metre long cave which visitors can walk through (please take note of the warning signs about entering the cave - it has claimed lives).
There are a handful of boulders just south of the cave entrance and two nice boulders next to the river by the cave exit.
Flock Hill is the premier bouldering area in the Basin. With its huge twisted forms and water-worn limestone boulders, Flock Hill offers perfect terrain for proud modern bouldering problems. Although people have been climbing here for over 40 years, Flock Hill is still under-developed.
With a long approach to ward off the masses and lichen covering past climbers’ test pieces, Flock Hill has always been an area for adventure. The names and grades of problems are passed around like Chinese whispers from climber to climber, so only a handful of locals have a grasp of who has climbed what problems and where all the established classics are.
Dry Valley has become the forgotten area in recent years because the access has changed - now climbers must park at Flock Hill gate and walk back to Dry Valley. Pre-2005 it was a quick jaunt from Cave Stream to the boulders and the area was bustling with activity (well, comparatively). Now it is hard to even find boulder problems that don’t require cleaning.
The boulders here have a ‘Quantum Field blankness’ to them which makes the lines that do exist stand out all the more.
Just north of Rambandit Valley, Dark Castle features more routes than boulder problems. Some classic lines include the 3-star Rambandit crack, and Eric Talmadge’s Angel of Pain.
A special part of Kura Tawhiti Reserve that has predator fencing - please shut the gates!
Few people venture into Dark Castle these days, the lure of pre-cleaned moderates in Quantum & Spittle Hill prevails.
Wuthering Heights is the silhouetted line of boulders above Quantum Field that you cannot miss, part of the Kura Tawhiti Reserve. With a concentrated number of 2 and 3 star problems, and featuring at least 100+ must-do problems, it is well worth the short sharp hike up the hill.
Part of Kura Tawhiti Reserve.
A close second most popular field, Spittle Hill has stacks of boulder problems including many interesting moderates. Polished holds are rife here unfortunately, due to ease of access and popularity.
Part of the Kura Tawhiti Reserve, Quantum Field is the most popular field in the basin. With about 1500 graded boulder problems to keep you entertained and an easy 10 minute stroll from the carpark, it is guaranteed to be a good day. There are plenty of established route climbs as well, but further bolting is prohibited.
This is the land of the mantle topout, on the most frictionless rock.