Wonders of New Zealand: Middle Earth.
The Southern Alps (Māori: Kā Tiritiri o te Moana) are a mountain range extending along much of the length of New Zealand’s South Island, reaching its greatest elevations near the island’s western side.
The range runs 500 km north to south. The tallest peak is Aoraki / Mount Cook, the highest point in New Zealand at 3,724 metres (12,218 ft) and there are sixteen other points that exceed 3,000 metres (9,800 ft) in height. The mountains are cut through with glacial valleys and lakes.
The Southern Alps lie along a geological plate boundary, part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, with the Pacific Plate to the southeast pushing westward and colliding with the northward-moving Indo-Australian Plate to the northwest.