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Protecting our precious places

West Southland - Redcliff-Rakatu wetland complex

Redcliff/Rakatu wetland complex - photo Mark Sutton.The Redcliff-Rakatu wetland complex is owned by Fish and Game Southland, who began creating it in the late 1970s by extending a small wetland patch in an old river ox-bow. Earthworks were carried out to create a larger shallow wetland area, followed by weed control, fencing to exclude stock, and extensive plantings. The wetland has flourished and was covenanted in 1984 to protect its biodiversity values.

The public is encouraged to visit the Redcliff-Rakatu wetland complex which boasts high landscape values and a substantial number and variety of waterfowl and other water birds that have flocked to the area since its creation. Rare species such as bittern, marsh crake and fernbird are resident and breeding. A highly valued native fisheries thrives within the wetland complex.

Places to explore

From the car park, 10 km of walking track offer four different walk options. For a good overview of the wetland area, take the 10 min uphill track to a lookout. An alternative 10 min track leads to the Waiau River. There are two loop tracks to choose from—the Speight Wetland Loop of 1 hr or the Rakatu Wetland Loop of 2–3 hr. Stiles, bridges, shelters and information panels are provided. 

Bring your binoculars for some rewarding bird watching.

Getting there

Located on the Blackmount-Redcliff Road (Southern Scenic Route) 15 min south of Manapouri, South Island.

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