Heading west from Christchurch the country is a gently rising agricultural plain. Once heavy with sheep and farm crops it is now turning to dairy cows and grazing paddocks. The wind-rows of evergreens are disappearing and the quaint British landscape is opening up. The foothills soon appear and eventually high lakes and mountains take over the vistas. The Southern Alps are a tectonic range of mountains along New Zealand’s South Island’s western edge. The outer side (the western facing side) is against the Tasman Sea and Australia, while the inner side slopes to the east and the greater Pacific Ocean. The elevations in the west as you approach the mountains are only at about 2,300 feet but are quite alpine in appearance. The grassy expanses are shadowed by mountains topped with snow and sometimes with glaciers.