Paynes Ford




Predominately a sport climbing area, the Paynes Ford rock climbing area offers routes that are generally vertical to slightly overhanging but with some steeper roofs. Climbers are offered a range of limestone features including pocks, cracks and flowstone which could be characterised as 'interesting slopers'.

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(photo by Kelly Cudworth)

The area is most popular in Summer especially around Xmas and New Year, however spring and autumn are the best seasons, as it is not so hot. In winter you're likely to be almost on your own with good friction during the shorter days but be prepared for cold nights. Routes may be dirty after the winter/spring rains which hinders on-sighting. Takaka can have heavy rain, after which is can take a few days for the crags to dry (due to runoff from above).

bulletRoutes - 240
bulletGrades - 
bullet23 Routes between grade 10 and 15
bullet75 Routes between grade 16 and 20
bullet100 Routes between grade 21 and 25
bullet25  Routes between grade 26 and 30
bulletCliff Heights - up to 30m but average about 12-15m
bulletRock Type - Limestone
bulletProtection - Natural and Fixed Bolts
bulletGuide Book - Golden Bay Climbs (most comprehensive), Paynes Ford Climbs or South Island Climbs
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"Temples Of Stone" (18), one of the classic routes of the crag (photo by
Simon Middlemass)


Near Takaka, in Golden Bay at the NW end of the South Island. Motueka is approximately 50 minutes drive over the Takaka Hill (Highway 60). From Christchurch it is approximately 6 hours drive, or approximately 1.5 hours drive from Nelson.

Approaches are typically 5 to 15 minutes of easy walking on well maintained tracks.


Paynes Ford is west facing and gets the afternoon sun, though there are some shady areas though. Tarakohe on the other hand is north facing so it gets the morning sun and no shade.

Bring a 50-60m 10mm+ rope (60m essential to get down off the longer routes). You will also need about 12 draws plus light rack of wires, CD's to #3 and a carpet square to clean your feet on!

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Chris Plant on "African Head Charge" (26) (photo by
Simon Middlemass)

Recommended Routes

16: Doolittle, Blobbet
17: Goodbye Cream Poofters, Stairway Of The Gods
18: Ambrosia, Temples Of Stone
19: Gobble Gobble Yum Yum, Bored Of The Rings
20: Hi I'm Doctor Terrific, Loose Unit, Rat Up A Drainpipe
21: Burn Hollywood Burn, Headplant, R For Ranger D For Danger
22: Rawhide, Electricorp Production, Go With The Flow, You're Either Dead Or You're Not

23: Send A Gorilla, Amino Pro, 1080 And The Letter G, Superconductor 

24: Daves Arete, Jive Bombing, Dread Carefully
25: Responsible Lunges, Make My Day, Feeling Lucky Punk, Body Nazis
26: African Headcharge, Creative Confusion, Fish On Heat
27: Cloudwalker, Stoned Monkey, Papageno, Smells Like Fish
28: Dancing On A Skewer, Fauvism
30: African Headcharge (direct start)

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Bianca Walker on "Goodbye Cream Poofters" (17) (photo by
Simon Middlemass)
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Corrine on "High Voltage" (23) (photo by
Simon Middlemass)
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Nick Sutter on "1080 And The Letter G" (23) (photo by
Simon Middlemass)
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Ton Snelder on "Body Nazis" (25) (photo by
Simon Middlemass)

Other Activities

Surfing, Caving, Mountainbiking, Tramping, Cafes, Raves (eg the Gathering) Swimming holes at the river are brilliant (as are the riverside boulder problems)

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Jochen Lenfert bouldering at the swimming hole (photo by
Simon Middlemass)


Hangdog Camp is just a few metres from the crag just on the R after you cross the Paynes Ford bridge 4km before Takaka. $4 per night camping, shower, toilets and a bunkhouse. The climbers hangout. Just turn up or phone 03 525 9093;

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Chris 'Lizzard' Burtenshaw lights up the night at Hangdog (photo by
Simon Middlemass)


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Copyright Steven Riddell 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 & 2003.