Geography and tourist attraction
And here is Franz’s fellow glacier, Fox Glacier. It is the largest in the Westland National Park and one of the largest glaciers in New Zealand. Located Fox Glacier about twenty-five kilometers south of Frantz. A few kilometers from the glacier is Route 6 and there is a small town that bears the name of the glacier. This Fox Glacier town is completely focused on the tourist business and providing all kinds of services. After all, Fox Glacier, as well as fellow Franz, a very popular place of tourist pilgrimage and the reason for this, the same easy accessibility.
At its hottest, the small town, which has a population of about four hundred (375), receives about a thousand visitors a day. But this number appears to be inaccurate, since many visitors without registration and unaccompanied by guides go to the glacier on their own, exposing themselves to serious danger in the process. Walks to the glacier are organized from the town. The best view is on the ninth kilometer along the glacier, at sunset, on a cloudless day. But only from the air, by plane or helicopter, one can feel all the magnificence of the Fox Glacier and the mighty peaks of the Southern Alps. Clearly, not everyone can take advantage of this.
Apparently, Fox Glacier, like its closest neighbor Franz, was once part of a larger glacier that formed thirteen thousand years ago, during the last ice age, but then separated and became a glacier in its own right. Then the Fox Glacier reached the Tasman Sea, but gradually retreated, forming new landforms in the retreat, particularly Lake Methison. The first inhabitants of these places were Maori, and they gave the names to the glacier.
There is information that the first European to see the Fox Glacier was a young Leonard Harper. He visited the glacier in 1852, and even called it “Albert. But this name has not survived, as Harper did not register his discovery. In 1865, gold was discovered near the glacier, and crowds of prospectors poured in. A settlement of 600 inhabitants sprang up on the site of the present town of Fox Glacier. But the gold rush passed quickly and the area was deserted. It was remembered a little later. In 1872, Prime Minister William Fox visited Fox Glacier, and the glacier was named after him.
Beginning at 2,600 meters above sea level, Fox Glacier descends to the coast and stops at three hundred meters, creating a breathtaking contrast to the tropical greenery of the rainforest. Fox is larger than its neighbor Franz, as it is 13 kilometers long. It is fed by snowfalls, which form an approximately thirty-kilometer annual layer at its head. The huge area of snow accumulation at the top of the glacier is 36 square kilometers, larger than the entire area of Christchurch. The snow compacts and becomes ice.