New Zealand’s largest Conservation Park is located around Reefton. The Victoria Conservation Park is managed by the Department of Conservation. It covers a vast area of 180,000 hectares centred on the Victoria and Brunner Ranges with the Inangahua, Maruia and Grey Rivers making their way through the landscape as they flow to the coast. Diverse and rich beech forest covers most of the landscape with each of the five types present - red, silver, mountain, black and hard.
Tuis, bellbird, tomtit and robin are a common site amongst these forests, along with kea, kaka, red and yellow crowned parakeets and in some places you can hear great spotted kiwi calling at night. New Zealand's only native land mammal (the Pekapeka or native bat) lives in the remote areas of the park.
Relics from the quartz gold mining era can be found hidden amongst the regenerating beech forest. People should not leave the marked tracks or enter mining areas, there are unmarked holes and mines in the forest and theses areas can be dangerous. From the tracks you can see items such as abandoned mines, stamper battery's, boilers, winding plant, buildings and other mining history.
A variety of walks and tramps, many dating from the late 1800's provide access through the Parks and into its remote mountains. These tracks provide a range of walking and mountain biking opportunities from a few hours duration to over night stays, many of which are suitable for family groups and people of all fitness levels.
Many walks and tramps offer Department of Conservation huts and the historic township of Waiuta has a fully equipped lodge bookable through the Department of Conservation website. A large amount of the Park is actually quite remote and requires trampers to be experienced and self-sufficient. Please check the current condition of tracks and weather conditions at the Reefton Visitor Centre.
Other activities are possible within the Park, including fishing, mountain biking, 4WDing, kayaking, gold panning and hunting.