These small gems of crags are often overlooked. What they lack in size they make up for in atmosphere and variety of climbing. The Arch is almost the great Wellington roadside attraction, with its concentration of hard bouldering; the Dionysiac Slab has good beginners’ climbs; Nobby’s Cave provides steep sport climbing; and Wairaka Rock is a tall sea stack.
When to go
One of the major attractions of this venue is that it is sheltered from all but the most driving northerly wind. Great conditions can be had in a southerly and a gusty nor’wester. However, if it’s been raining hard then leave the Arch for a day or two, as it will seep.
What to bring
You’ll want a bouldering mat at the Arch. Possibly two. The landings are nice and flat but consist almost entirely of rocks. You’ll also want a spotter. Although the problems climb solid features, some of the rock can be less than perfect. A small, soft wire-brush for cleaning moss (and soot) off some of the holds may also be useful. But please go easy on the rock. All the lead climbs are bolted, and double ropes may be useful on Wairaka Rock.
Take State Highway 1 north from Wellington for 25 minutes to Pukerua Bay. Turn off down Pukerua Beach Road and drive along to the end of Ocean Parade. Park the car here and walk along the beach for five minutes to the Arch and a further ten minutes to the rest of the crag.