A Melbourne based writer who is a travel junkie, dedicated foodie and emerging photographer.
Published April 25th 2017
Climbing the Walls at Home? Come to North Walls
Climbing the walls? Well make sure you climb them at North Walls indoor rock climbing centre in Brunswick.
I visited this newly opened centre earlier this week to check it out. Reflecting that as a regular writer for WeekendNotes, we often get to check out new restaurants, bars or the like, so this was a bit of a different assignment. But of course, we (my partner Dave and I) had to give it a good go!
Throwing myself into it! This is me on the climbing wall. Thanks to staff member Kevin for taking the photo.
Upon arriving, we were asked to read and acknowledge the centre rules and were given climbing shoes and a harness. One steps into the harness, and there are straps around the waist and each leg, which are adjustable.
This was followed by an induction, delivered in this case by centre director Sam Percy, which everyone new to the gym, regardless of their skill level, must go through. If you are unfamiliar with indoor rock climbing, the set up here is that there is a climber and a belayer. In the induction, you are shown how to connect your carabiners to the belaying equipment and to the climbing rope (the latter double clipped for security). Then the belaying technique is explained - basically, the belayer must gather up the slack in the rope as the climber ascends, at the same time as braking off the rope to ensure the climber won't fall far if they come off the wall while climbing. It sounds more complicated than it is, and we were soon off the training wall and out into the main part of the gym.
The climbing gym features climbs of varying degrees of difficulty
The main climbing gym features a range of climbs of varying degrees of difficulties. The climbs are colour coded to help you find the right level - in our case, as novices, it was a yellow climb. We successfully made it to the top, and enjoyed 'abseiling' down, supported by the belaying rope and harness.
Just to test the system, Dave did a practice 'fall', and I'm happy to report that everything worked as expected and he survived unscathed!
If you are a more experienced climber, there are options at North Walls for you too. All the walls are grid-bolted, meaning every climb has the ability to be climbed on lead. If you are an experienced lead climber, you can be assessed on the spot, without the need to make a booking.
Nearing the top! One of the climbers close to meeting his goal.
Dave and I really enjoyed our experience at North Walls, and I'd love to do some more indoor climbing.
Overall, the positives here were the friendly, encouraging staff, the new impressive looking facility, and the coffee! Yes, there's a cafe at North Walls, and we can report the coffee, made with organic milk, was great. They also serve a range of healthy snacks.
Celebrate your successful climb with a coffee
It perhaps goes without saying that there is a strong focus on safety. We were impressed with the thorough induction briefing. We were also told that there is always a staff member supervising the climbing area (or two if it is busy). Staff member Kevin was watching us with an eagle eye, and readily stepped in with help and advice when needed.
Another positive is the exciting plans Sam Percy has for the facility. "There is a mezzanine area in the centre, which I intend to use for yoga and dance classes, amongst other activities", says Sam. The plan is to make it a holistic exercise centre.
We don't have any negatives to report from our experience.
North Walls is located at Unit 3, 17-19 Hope Street, Brunswick, in a warehouse that's part of an industrial development on the east side of the railway line near Brunswick station. It is therefore easily accessible by train or the number 19 (Sydney Road) tram.
If you're arriving by car, drive down Hope Street, and turn into the driveway immediately east of the railway line. North Walls is about 50 metres along the strip of warehouses, and there is limited parking onsite.
The costs for a climb are (for an adult): $18 entry, plus $6 harness hire and $6 shoe hire (total $30 for a session) (cheaper for concessions/children). If you're keen, you can buy a block of 10 visits for $160 (excludes equipment hire), or there are membership options available. Click here for all the pricing options.
North Walls is open seven days, from 12 noon to 10pm Monday to Friday, and from 11am to 7pm on weekends (check the website or Facebook page for opening hours on public holidays).