In two weeks, Illawarra residents have the chance to climb architecturally designed walls, built by a leading global bouldering company with builders flown in from Bulgaria to complete the fit-out in Albion Park Rail.
Bouldering may have burst onto TV screens during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, but it had steadily ridden a wave of popularity that saw nearly every second mid 20 year old telling housemates and nonplussed family members they'd just joined a bouldering gym.
In the Illawarra, those who caught the bouldering bug could chalk up their hands and try out their grips before collapsing onto mats in gyms in North Wollongong and Coniston, but from December 16 will be able to clamber up "problems" in a purpose-built gym next to Shellharbour Airport.
It's the second location for Luke Magill, whose company Dynomite also operates a dedicated bouldering gym in North Wollongong, and six months on from receiving the keys to the warehouse, he's preparing to have the first customers through the door from December 16.
"These walls are imported from Europe, they flew a team over to install them and they just finished today," Mr Magill said.
With the walls now installed, local bouldering enthusiasts are "setting" the courses, or "problems" as they are referred to, on each trapezoidal section, to provide a range of difficulties and styles.
"A lot of the younger people enjoy the parkour style, with a lot of gymnastic running, jumping, and then there's other styles like more traditional climbing," Mr Magill said.
Some sections require more upper body strength, while others require chimp-like balance and control from the lower legs and feet.
But a unique feature of the Albion Park Rail gym is the arch, which requires climbers to hang upside down about a metre and a half above the mats.
As much as bouldering requires skill and strength, its popularity has been a result of the social nature of the sport. Runs are quicker, with shorter intervals, and don't require as much preparation as traditional rock climbing with its array of ropes and pulleys. In bouldering, a climber surveys the route, dusts their hands with chalk and goes, often with a group behind them involved in every grip and fall onto the mats below.
Mr Magill said the new set up would cater to this side of the sport as well, with theme nights and the ability to support families and groups.
A new feature for younger climbers will be an augmented climbing wall, which combines motion tracking and projected graphics to mix climbing and video games.
For those keen to give it a try, Mr Magill said the sport had few barriers for the uninitiated.
"There's something for everyone."