Te Wai Pounamu/South Island

New Zealand's South Island has some spectacular landscapes, mostly as a result of the mountainous 'Southern Alps'. The alps have recently been formed by the upthrust between the Pacific and Australian plates which accounts for their often precipitous appearance. That they intercept moisture laden winds blowing from the Tasman Sea to the west of the country accounts for the rain forests of Fiordland and the West Coast, and the often wild but picturesque lakes and rivers.