Most of New Zealand's large mountains are in a range called the Southern Alps1. However, because of heavier snowfalls on the peaks due to the regional Westerly weather patterns which bring in a succession of cold fronts from the nearby South Tasman Sea, the Southern Alps are much more heavily glaciated than their northern counterparts. The result is an enormous, rugged playground for mountaineers.
The highest peak in New Zealand is Mount Cook, at 3,750 metres, but there are also many other challenging peaks to entertain the climber*. Climbing is often undertaken from a mountain hut in one of the national parks, but as for venturing beyond the parks into more remote terrain, a tent or a snow cave is used as a base.
Traditionally, New Zealanders have been keen on outdoor pursuits, and the mountaineering clubs of New Zealand, such as The New Zealand Alpine Club, are active in promoting the sport of climbing, providing facilities for the mountaineer and are responsible for maintaining access to the peaks.