Fox Glacier

Visit Fox Glacier, West Coast, NZ

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  • Fox Glacier is fed by four alpine glaciers at high altitude, and descends 13 km (8 miles) into lush rainforest. Many thousand years ago, the glacier extended to the coast, and its movement has created flat glacial moraine valleys and lakes.

    As well as being New Zealand’s longest glacier, Fox Glacier is also its most accessible. Its constantly crumbling terminal face is only 6 km from Fox Glacier village, with its many hotels, lodges, shops and cafes.

    Activities popular around Fox Glacier include helicopter sightseeing, sky-diving, ice-walking and many scenic and historical nature walks, including walks to the famously photogenic Lake Matheson, located near the village.

    Accommodation in Fox Glacier (NZ)

    Fox Glacier has a very wide selection of accommodation options. There are luxury hotels, motels, lodges, and boutique self-contained units.

    Forbudget travellers, there are motor camps, holiday parks and backpacking lodges.

    Transport around Fox Glacier

    Most visitors travel to Fox Glacier by road – using private or rental vehicles, or travelling by one of many coach services that stop. The nearest large town is Hokitika, about 2 hours’ drive to the north along the coast. (Hokitika is about 3.5 hours’ drive from Christchurch).

    To approach Fox Glacier from the south requires traversing the Haast Pass from east of the Alps. The journey takes about 3.5 hours from Wanaka.

    It is possible to fly to Fox Glacier’s small airfield in a light plane or helicopter – in good weather – from nearby destinations including Queenstown and Wanaka.

    At Fox Glacier, there are shuttle services from the settlement to most activities in the area, and a regular service to Franz Joseph, about 20 minutes’ drive to the north. Mountain bikes can be hired for shorter journeys.

    Tourist Activities around Fox Glacier

    One of Fox Glacier’s most popular activities is helicopter flightseeing; a number of operators are based at the local airfield. With helicopter transport, it is possible to land on ice fields high up the glacier and then to enjoy guided walking in stunning scenery. Sky-diving from a light aircraft is another, unforgettable way to appreciate the scenery.

    There are many noted walking trails around Fox Glacier, including the Peak View Lookout, Chalet Lookout, Fox Glacier Valley, Moraine, and Minnehaha Walks, and the famous Copeland Track to Welcome Flat. Lake Matheson, renowned for its views of the Southern Alps, reflected in its waters, is a popular walk. Many of these localities can also be explored on mountain bikes, which can be rented from the village.

    The coast west of Fox Glacier has some interesting walks through areas that were dredged for gold in the late 1800s through to the 1940s. Remains of engineering works are a feature of the walk to Gillespie’s Beach, from where it is a further short walk to reach Galway Beach’s fur seal colony.

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    Fox Glacier