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Definition of SOUTHERN ALPS
mountain range New Zealand in W South Island extending almost the length of the island — see cook (Mount)
Mountain range, South Island, New Zealand. It extends almost the entire length of the island, and it is the highest range in Australasia. It has elevations from 3,000 ft (900 m) to over 10,000 ft (3,050 m), culminating in Mount Cook at 12,316 ft (3,754 m) high. Glaciers descend from the permanently snow-clad top of the range. The range divides the island climatically: the forested western slopes and narrow coastal plain are much wetter than the eastern slopes and wide Canterbury Plains. Much of the southwest area was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1990.