Glaciers have been tourist attractions for many years. The “Hermitage” tourist hotel, near the Mueller Glacier, had been built by 1887, but was later damaged by flood waters. It was rebuilt on a new site, but destroyed by fire in 1957. A new, very modern hotel was quickly built and today is the centre of New Zealand's alpine activities. Each year thousands of tourists are taken on guided tours to the Tasman Glacier. During the winter, ski-ing is popular on the Ball Glacier, and ski-equipped aircraft take skiers to the upper parts of the Tasman, Murchison, Fox, and Franz Josef Glaciers. There have been tourist hotels at the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers for many years. Although the West Coast glaciers have shown a marked retreat over the past 10 years, the sight of white ice cliffs in the dense rain forest continues to attract many people. The glaciers also provide access routes to the high peaks of the Southern Alps, and are traversed by many mountaineers.
by Arnold John Heine, Antarctic Division, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Wellington.