img 20240505 083253 1200 900 80View south from Spot Height 1770 to Nelson Lakes

The Red Hills in the Richmond Range are an outcropping of ultramafic rocks, which are a striking red colour and rich in minerals containing iron and magnesium. They form poor soils and support little vegetation. These rocks are highly abrasive and I'd recommend you wear old footwear and gloves if travelling in the area. Similar rocks are found on the southern West Coast, some 480 km away – movement on the Alpine Fault has displaced them. Check out our video here: when we visited the the other half of the Red Hills north of the Big Bay in 2023.


We started our tramp from State Highway 63 and walked up to Red Hills Hut on Friday afternoon. The following day we crossed the plateau, climbed up the Red Hills Ridge to camp in the basin below Red Hill summit. From there it was a 90 minute return trip to climb to the summit of Maungakura Red Hill. We returned to the carpark via the same route on Day Three.