Located in the Canterbury region
The forest is mostly mountain beech/tawhairauriki, with secondary species including broadleaf/pāpāuma, Halls tōtara, fuchsia/kōtukutuku, marble leaf/putaputāweta, kōhūhū and pokaka. Crown fern/piupiu and bush lawyer/tātarāmoa occupy the forest floor.
Above the bush line the vegetation changes to alpine herbs, shrubs and snow tussock/wī kura.
Southern rātā, a botanical rarity in this part of Canterbury, grows in Scotts Creek and in Awa Awa Rata Reserve.
European larch and alder were planted in 1930 on some lower slopes and the Awa Awa Rata Reserve Society has planted rhododendrons in the reserve.
Native birds mostly likely heard or seen in the forest include bellbird/korimako, silvereye/tauhou, tomtit/miromiro, rifleman/tīttitipounamu, wood pigeon/kererū and grey warbler/riroriro. Pipits/pīhoihoi and occasionally kea are seen above the bush line.
Redcliffe Conservation Area is part of the Mt Hutt Range, just south of the Rakaia River, 24 km northwest of Methven. It is bounded by the Swift River to the west and adjoins Hakatere Conservation Park at Mt Hutt.
As a result of the tenure review process for Redcliffe Station, completed in October 2009, some 7837 hectares are now public conservation land; 113 hectares of these are in scenic reserves.
The scenic reserve at Redcliffe Stream contains a diverse range of native plants that are representative of the sunny westfacing aspect of the valley system. The small scenic reserve near the mouth of Hutt Stream has a dense stand of kōwhai. It contains Sophora prostrata, uncommon in inland Canterbury.
At higher altitudes snow tussock grasslands and Dracophyllum shrubland predominate. This gives way at lower altitudes to short tussock. Small remnants of beech/tawhai and mixed native hardwood remain in deep valleys and around rock bluffs and scree.
Kea, the New Zealand falcon/kārearea (above), and New Zealand pipit/pīhoihoi are present at higher altitudes, while bellbirds/korimako, grey warblers/riroriro and silvereye/tauhou can be found in forest remnants and scrublands.
Mt Hutt Forest can be accessed from Awa Awa Rata Reserve at the end of McLennans Bush Road, which is off Arundel Rakaia Gorge Road and is 12.5 km from Methven.
The area can also be accessed from Mt Hutt Skifield access road. During summer, there is a locked gate at Scotts Saddle; you will need to walk from here.
Pudding Hill Stream Route can be reached via Hart Road.
Access to the Redcliffe Conservation Area is off Double Hill Run Road. From the Arundel Rakaia Gorge Road (State highway 77) at Mt Hutt follow Blackford Road and then Double Hill Run Road.
Redcliffe Conservation Area maps: NZTopo50 maps: BW20 Lake Coleridge and BX 20 Methven