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Mt Arapiles State Park/Australia

Introducing Mt Arapiles State Park

Mt Arapiles, 37km west of Horsham and 12km west of Natimuk, is Australia’s premier rock-climbing destination. At 369m it’s not a very big mountain but with more than 2000 routes to scale, it attracts salivating climbers from around the world. Popular climbs include the Bard Buttress, Tiger Wall and the Pharos. In the tiny nearby town of Natimuk a community of avid climbers has set up to service the visitors, and the town has also developed into something of a centre for artists – the biennial Nati Frinj Festival, held in November in odd years, includes performances and a colourful street parade.

Even if you’re not into climbing, there are two short and steep walking tracks from Centenary Park to the summit, or you can drive up along the sealed Lookout Rd.

Arapiles Mountain Shop sells and hires climbing equipment.

If you want to learn to climb or hire a guide, the Natimuk Climbing Company and Arapiles Climbing Guides are two professional outfits offering instruction and group courses.

Most climbers head for the popular Pines Camping Ground at the base of the mountain.

Duffholme Cabins comprises a self-contained cottage sleeping seven. Call to make a booking (it’s not staffed).

National Hotel in Natimuk has tidy motel-style units at the back and pub rooms upstairs, plus good counter meals.