Three quarters of the surface of
New Zealand consists of hills and mountains. New
Zealand is located on 2 tectonic plates, the Pacific
Plate and the Australian-Indian Plate.
One plate is
sliding under the other in the North Island and this
resulted in one important range of mountains that
reaches from the East Cape and stretches all the way
to the south to Wellington.
This physical process also induces the intense
volcanic action that the North Island is known for.
The process is different in the South Island as the
2 plates are crashing into one another.
This same process is responsible for the creation of the
Himalayas. For New Zealand, it has produced the country’s
most extraordinary feature, the Southern Alps.
The Southern Alps is over six hundred kilometers long and
springs up abruptly on the South Island’s west coast and
only arrives at Kaikoura at the east coast. Mount Cook is
this chain’s highest peak and it measures well over three
thousand meters or more than twelve thousand feet.
Sir Edmund Hillary earned his experience in
mountaineering on Mt Cook, prior to becoming the
first man to scale Mount Everest, the highest
mountain in the world. New Zealand also has some
fiords which are deeply indented along the coastline
of the south west, and give the nation several of
its most striking scenery.
The highest peak of the North Island is Mount
Ruapehu which is well over two thousand meters or
more than nine thousand feet high. It is a
mountain-volcano, and has burst as lately as 1995
and 1996. Mt Ruapehu is also the North Island’s best
skiing spot. However, most of the ski fields of New
Zealand are found in the South Island. Mount Cook is
also called “Aoraki” by the Maori and rises at a
height of well over three thousand meters, which
fact makes this particular mountain the highest in
New Zealand, Oceana, and Australasia.
Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary, the very first man to scale
Mount Everest earned his experience in mountaineering on
Mount Cook is made up of 3 summits resting a little
to the south and east of the major divide, the High
Peak, the Middle Peak, the Low Peak, bordered on the
east by the Tasman Glacier and on the west by the
There are several activities to delight in at Mount
Cook and the circumventing national park. This
entails a heli-skiing adventure to the one of the
longest ski runs in the world down to the Tasman
glacier. Mount Tasman is New Zealand’s second
highest mountain and is 4 kilometers to Mount Cook’s
The only glaciers on the North Island are found on
There are 2 commercial fields for skiing at Ruapehu, on the
northern side is Whakapapa, while on the southern slope is
Whakapapa is the largest ski field in New Zealand. East of
the mountain is Tukino which is a private field. The skiing
season is usually from June to October but relies on weather
and snow conditions.