Sure it’s fun to climb bouldering walls in the climbing gym. But where’s the fresh air? The cool breeze? The beautiful views and sneaky post-climb beer? Outside, that’s where. Jump ‘Over The Fence’ to reach this bouldering beauty on the outskirts of Canberra.

Highlights
  • Being outside
  • Range of bouldering grades
  • Being outside
  • Views towards the Brindabellas
  • Being outside
The Lowdown (And The Up High)

Hanging in the entrance of my local bouldering gym is a beautifully framed photo of a boulder on a hilltop, with the city of Canberra in the background. Every time I walk past, I’m filled with a sense of ambition and desire to find that boulder and give climbing it a red hot crack. 

Outdoor Bouldering ‘Over The Fence’ In Canberra, Mattie Gould, boulder, climbing, trees, rock

After a bit of amateur sleuthing, aka asking the receptionist, ‘Hey, where’s that boulder?’, followed by a few clicks on thecrag.com to find the exact whereabouts, the boulder was found. And it was only 20 minutes from the city!

As we only had one bouldering mat between the four of us, we hired another from BlocHaus, packed snacks, water, and some post-climb beers, and piled in the car, crash mats proudly strapped to the tray of the ute. It felt like we were heading off on a proper adventure, despite the fact we were only driving to the edge of a South Canberra suburb, and walking less than 10 minutes up a hill in a nature reserve.

Outdoor Bouldering ‘Over The Fence’ In Canberra, Mattie Gould, fence, through the fence, mats, friends

The day was an absolute beauty, blue skies, sunshine, and a balmy 20 degrees. When we found the bouldering area, aptly named ‘Over the Fence’, we were blown away. Not only had we barely broken a sweat finding the boulders, but it was a veritable playground of opportunities. Best of all, ‘that boulder’ was sitting proudly in the foreground.

We learnt a few things about outdoor bouldering that afternoon. Firstly, it’s hella fun. Second, it’s hard. Thirdly, crash mats are an absolute necessity. And finally, it’s going to become a regular feature for the rest of our summers.

Outdoor Bouldering ‘Over The Fence’ In Canberra, Mattie Gould, boulder, view, sunset, friends, farmland

Essential Gear
  • Climbing shoes
  • Chalk bag
  • Crash mats
  • Post-send beers

Handy tip: All of the equipment can probably be hired from your local gym, it’s worth asking as it gets pretty expensive to buy all the gear. Crash mats retail around $500, we hired one for $30. 

Activities
  • Bouldering
  • Picnic
  • There’s also plenty of hiking and riding trails around Cooleman Ridge, including a section of the Centenary Trail.
How To Get There

Depending where you live, drive towards Cooleman Ridge in South Canberra. We parked up by the nature reserve off Darrell Place (there’s room for a few cars here). Walk through the gate, turn right and walk for about 500m along the fire trail. You’ll see a large freestanding boulder on your right. At this point, turn left up the hill for about 100m. Voila!

Skill Level

Beginner – Advanced
Use thecrag.com to choose your route on each boulder. They start at grade V0 (the easiest). Or go rogue and climb around any way you like. Just make sure you’re using the crash mat and spotting your mates.

Distance / Duration

Less than 1km from car to climb. About 10 minutes walking and as long bouldering as you can manage.