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A Manatū Taonga audio guide to the Southern Alps. Check out the Ministry for Culture and Heritage's audio guide in the image carousel above.

As the Pacific and Australian tectonic plates collide, they push up mountains -- including the Southern Alps, one of the world's fastest-growing ranges. These dramatic South Island peaks are home to the cheeky kea parrot and native alpine flowers. They attract sightseers, skiers and climbers -- including Everest conqueror Edmund Hillary, who learnt his mountaineering skills on their slopes.



Edmund Percival Hillary,

On top of the world: Ed Hillary,

The Southern Alps and other axial ranges,

Aoraki/Mt Cook,


Kea plumage,

Archival audio sourced from Radio New Zealand Sound Archives, Sound files may not be reused without permission from Radio New Zealand Sound Archives (Reference number sa-d-00502-01-s1-pm D502.1a).

Roadside Stories are a series of audio guides to places of interest on major road trips in New Zealand. Each guide tells the story of an attraction along the way -- its people, its history, its cultural and natural significance. For more information about Roadside Stories visit

Map showing The Towering Southern Alps - Roadside Stories