STS079-835-065 Southern Alps, South Island, New Zealand September 1996 This southwest-looking view shows most of southern South Island, New Zealand. Along the right (west) margin of the image, the snow-covered Southern Alps are visible. The Southern Alps parallel the western coast of South Island. The southwest-northeast trending range has 17 peaks higher than 9842 feet (3000 meters) including Mount Cook (Aorangi) at 12316 feet (3754 meters), the tallest peak in New Zealand. There are more than 3100 active glaciers in the Southern Alps. West (right) of the Southern Alps there is little or no coastal plain. Along the west coast, steep-sided valleys and fiords are the prevailing landscape. East (left) of the Alps are extensive foothills and glaciated valleys, many occupied by deep freshwater lakes. There are also large areas that are covered with a glacial fluvial outwash of sand and gravel, and a number of intricately braided rivers. Along the east coast near the bottom left of the image is the Cantebury Plain, the largest area of fertile flat land in New Zealand. The southeastern part of the island near the upper center of the image is an irregular dissected section of land that consists of small plains and basins surrounded by hills. At the upper center of the image, Stewart Island is discernible.