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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 62

Extent of South Island

Extent of South Island.

The extreme length of the South (or, as it used to be called, the Middle) Island from Point Jackson, in Cook's Straits, to Puysegur Point at the South Western end is 525 statute miles, while the greatest distance in breadth is 180 miles. Through almost the entire length of this island runs a mountainous range known as the Southern Alps. Some of the summits reach altitudes of from 10,000 to 12,000 feet, the highest being Mount Cook, which is 12,349 feet high. In the vicinity of the West Coast Sounds and the cold lakes, of which, together with the various mountains, I shall have more to say in my lecture entitled "The Tourists' Paradise," there are a large number of magnificent peaks which, though not of any great height, are owing to their southerly position covered with perpetual snow and ice. The two other principal mountains are Mount Earnslaw at Lake Whakatipu and Mount Aspiring at Lake Wanaka, the latter of which has been aptly termed the New Zealand Matterhorn, being nearly 10,000 feet in height. From these mountains northwards there is a fine chain of peaks which form the backbone of this island, and run to where Mount Cook, known by the natives as Aorangi (the cloud, piercer), towers majestically midst scenes of unsurpassed grandeur.