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The Franz Josef Glacier is a 12 km long glacier is one of New Zealand's most spectacular natural attractions, a remnant from the Ice Age which is one of South Westland's major attractions for visitors. The Glacier area (which also includes Fox Glacier) attracts up to 250,000 tourists every year - most of them viewing the glacier close up by taking a walking tour or getting the big picture from the sky by helicopter. Having retreated several kilometres between the 1940s and 1980s, the glacier entered an advancing phase in 1984 and at times has advanced at the rate of 70 cm a day. The flow rate is about 10 times that of typical glaciers. From a long term perspective, the glacier has retreated since the last ice age, and it is believed that it reached the sea some 10,000 to 15,000 years ago. It is receding at present. Being a slow moving frozen river, the stunning glacial landscape changes daily, and all safety warnings should be taken seriously. There are a number of walking tracks in the glacier valley.

- Wikivoyage

Image by Mesut Kaya

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