The suburb is most directly accessed from the city centre by a causeway that crosses the Avon Heathcote Estuary and is the suburb immediately before Sumner. Alternatively, Redcliffs can be accessed through McCormack's Bay Road, which circles the perimeter of the Avon Heathcote Estuary (CCC, 1984). The coastal road from Redcliffs to Sumner allows for further access to the port and suburb of Lyttelton and the Port Hills, and an alternative - if long - route to the city centre.
Redcliffs is characterised by rocky, hilly geography and has many natural caves in its sides. The domineering cliffs of Redcliffs are a snapshot of the region's volcanic origins. The cliffs are tinged with solid red magma; the suburb draws its name from this the most notable of its physical features.
The suburb is affluent by New Zealand standards and property values are relatively high, with the average house costing NZ$450,000 in 2006 (source: Real Estate Institute of New Zealand). Redcliffs has a significant number of Baby Boomers.
One of Redcliffs' best features is Barnett Park, a park open to public access, and a product of the earliest council recreation planning in the wider Christchurch region (CCC, 1984).
2011 Christchurch earthquake
In contrast to the September 2010 earthquake Redcliffs and the surrounding hills suffered significant damage. Tens of houses were deemed unlivable and hundreds more damaged. There was a large scale evacuation of several streets in Redcliffs at 10pm on Thursday Feb 24th after some cliffs surrounding Redcliffs were deemed unstable. The following morning, a few streets or partial streets remained cordoned off but many people were able to return to their homes immediately.  
By March 7, detailed geotechnical inspections of the affected land inside the remaining cordons began with a view to removing them. They were removed on March 8.
In the meanwhile, Redcliffs citizens experiencing a near-total information vacuum from officialdom launched a local information centre on Feb 26, followed by a regular newsletter from Feb 27, followed by two support websites.
On Wednesday March 2, Redcliffs resident Peter Hyde launched a viral call to encourage more support - especially key supplies and information - for the worst affected Eastern suburbs of Christchurch. In particular those to the north of Redcliffs such as Parklands, Aranui, Bromley, Avonside, Bexley and New Brighton.
- Hyde, Peter. "Tuesday March 8, 6pm". Redcliffs Community NewsSheet. Webcentre Ltd. Retrieved March 8.
- Hyde, Peter. "Redcliffs Community NewsSheet". Redcliffs Community NewsSheet #1. Webcentre Ltd.
- Hyde, Peter. "Christchurch Quake -- More Action Needed in Eastern Suburbs Right Now". Quake Blogs. Peter Hyde.