Located in the Westland Tai Poutini National Park on the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island, Fox Glacier is a popular holiday destination and tourist attraction. Fed by 4 alpine glaciers, Fox Glacier is both longer and faster moving than Franz Josef Glacier 25 minutes away. Just 5km from the village, Fox Glacier holidays are a stunning experience in the icy wonderland of Glacier Country. Part of a World Heritage area, Fox Glacier is best explored with a guide for a fascinating insight into this frozen natural attraction.
This Fox Glacier travel guide is designed to help you make the most of your time at this incredible alpine wonder. Surrounded by the forested foothills of the Southern Alps, Fox Glacier offers a much more intimate experience than Franz Josef Glacier. There are many ways to enjoy the glacier including gentle yet informative guided walks of the valley and glacier face, day treks, overnight alpine treks, heli ice climbing adventures and thrilling scenic helicopter flights to some of the more remote parts of Fox Glacier. There are also some excellent activities near the village including night walks with a pretty glow worm fern grotto, beachcombing and adventures for adrenaline junkies.
There is a great range of Fox Glacier accommodation available both in the nearby village as well as right by the glacier itself. For hot pool hikers, ski tourers and mountain climbers, the Department of Conservation has provided a selection of alpine huts within the Westland Tai Poutini National Park, known as Serviced Alpine DOC hikers’ huts. However there are also a full range of accommodation options in town which range from 3 stars to 5 stars and include everything in between. Accommodation ranges from comfortable motels and affordable lodges to modern hotels and even luxury stays, all within a short distance of a number of shopping and dining options as well as activities and attractions. Book cheap Accommodation in Fox Glacier
Although Fox Glacier is in fact an attraction in its own right, there are also a wide range of additional attractions close by, allowing you to fully enjoy the beauty and atmosphere of this unique natural attraction. Just minutes from the village, Lake Matheson is famously beautiful and offers mirror-like reflections of Mount Tasman and Mount Cook, the highest peaks in New Zealand. There’s also a lovely bush track which follows the lake’s edge. A colony of up to 1500 seals congregate at Gillespies Beach during winter, making for an incredible sight just below Waikowhai Bluff. Although the seals can still be seen in summer, their numbers are significantly smaller.
Measuring more than 13km long, Fox Glacier plunges 2.6km from the peaks of the Southern Alps and is fed by 4 alpine glaciers. Receiving 30m annual snowfall, the snow is compacted at the top of the glacier and turned into blue ice, hundreds of metres deep. Sliding down to the river valley, it remains 300m thick until ice under pressure melts, flowing 10 times faster than most valley glaciers and making Fox Glacier one of the fastest flowing valley glaciers. The frozen landscape is dramatic, but also potentially dangerous, from deep ravines and upheaval caused by cracking and shelving in the valley floor.