Eastern Highlands, c.2,400 mi (3,860 km) long, general name for the mountains and plateaus roughly paralleling the east and southeast coasts of Australia (including Tasmania) and forming the Continental Divide (see Great Dividing Range); rises to Mt. Kosciusko (7,316 ft/2,230 m), Australia's highest peak. Rugged, with many gorges and few gaps, the Eastern Highlands long hindered westward expansion of British settlement. The slopes are covered with eucalyptus forests. Rich in minerals, the highlands contain most of Australia's coalfields; gold, copper, tin, oil, and natural gas are also extracted. The southern part of the region is a popular winter resort area. Major segments of the system are the Australian Alps, the New England Range, and the Blue Mts.
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