Situated near the west coast of the South Island, it is some 20 miles north-east of Milford Sound and about the same distance from the head of Lake Wakatipu. It was first named in 1862 by Sir James Hector, then Otago Provincial Geologist, but until recently it has been shown on official maps as Red Hill, an inappropriate name for a peak 6,600 ft in height. Red Mountain forms one of the most prominent land marks on this part of the coast and from its peculiar colour and great height is always an object of interest, even to those who view it only from a distance. In sheltered places it carries a considerable field of snow all the year and, except on its eastern flank, it is entirely destitute of vegetation, its surface on all sides, from top to bottom, being one great talus of loose rocks considerably furrowed by water courses and snow ruts. The striking dun-red colour of the mountain and its extreme sterility are due mainly to the mineral character of its rocks, which are ultrabasic. Although not an accessible tourist attraction, it presents a magnificent view of Big Bay from the upper Pyke Hut near Awarua.
by Alexander Russell Mutch, B.SC., A.O.S.M., New Zealand Geological Survey, Dunedin.