Fox Glacier

Photo taken by: The Planet D (Flying Kiwi Traveller)

Fox Glacier Tour

Fox Glacier - Tour Highlights

Located on the Wild West Coast, Fox Glacier is a 13km long glacier in Westlands Tai Poutini National Park. Glacier Country remains almost untouched and has around 140 glaciers but only Franz Josep and Fox Glacier come all the way down to the lower rainforest. The small township of Fox Glacier is tucked into the foothills of the Southern Alps and is just 5km from the terminal face making is one of the most accessible glaciers in the world. It is a major tourist attraction and in the peak summer season around 1000 people will visit the glacier each day.

Here are some handy facts about the glacier (content from

  • The mighty Fox Glacier is the largest and longest of the magnificent West Coast glaciers.
  • It is remarkable in that it ends in temperate rainforest, 250 metres above sea level and a mere twelve kilometres from the sea.
  • There are more 3,000m (10,000ft) peaks at the head of the Fox Glacier, than in any other valley in New Zealand.
  • The Fox Glacier, like all glaciers, advances and retreats. Evidence of the lastest surge forward can be seen in the bulging lower ice fall.
  • The  Maori who named the glacier Te Moeka o Tuawe. This name derived from a tupuna (ancestor) Tu Awe who fell to his death while exploring the area. The bed of Te Moeka o Tuawe became his moeka (final resting place). It is said that when his lover Hine Hukatere wept, the bed of the valley filled with her everlasting tears of ice.

Time spent here while on a Flying Kiwi tour:

We spend 1 night here.

Tours that take you here:

Ultimate Explorer - 27 or 28 days       Summer Blast - 16, 17 or 19 days 
Total Aotearoa - 24 days  Wild West - 8 or 9 day s
Reverse Traverse - 14 or 15 days  

Where we stay: 

Fox Glacier Holiday Park – A camping located between the sea and the glaciers country. It’s a big campground, well-equipped with awesome facilities. The area is great for short walks or cycling rides, and there are a few restaurants nearby.

- Wifi 30mins free or pay $5 for 24h 100GB.
- Laundry $4 per wash (30mins) & $4 per dry (45mins).
- Cabin upgrades.

Things not to miss:

Near Whataroa, on the shores of the Okarito Lagoon, is New Zealand's only nesting colony of the White Heron (Kotuku).

Things to do:

What about a little adventure during the night? Pick up a torch and encourage your fellow travellers to go to the start of the glacier path. Why? Because there are hundreds of glow worms hidden in the leaves and tree trunks.


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Free Things to Do:

Stars and more stars! Thousands of them! This is, in fact, another clear sky area. If the clouds allow you might be able to enjoy another good star gazing night.

Insiders Tip:

Glacier Country is one of UNESCO”S World Heritage Area’s – the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Area, which means the land has massive international significance.



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Hiking Options:

Ship Creek & The Swamp Forest Walk - (20 minutes) follows the slow-flowing Tauparikaka Creek, the dark inky colour caused by tannin in the water. There is a boardwalk through the Kahikatea Swamp Forest allowing easy observation of the forest plants.

Dune Lake Walk - (30 min) winds through dense wind-shorn coastal forest stunted by wind. It opens out to provide magnificent photo opportunities from platforms overlooking Lake Mataketake to the sweep of coastline south-west to Jackson Head. Make you way back along the beach to the start keeping a close eye on the surf as this is one of the best places in New Zealand to spot Hector Dolphins without the need for a boat and we often see them playing in the waves close to the shore here.


lake matheson


Lake Matheson walk – (1hour 30mins) a great place to try and spot native birds such as fantails, bellbirds and tui but the real highlight is the view of the Southern Alps that are clearly visible from the far end of the lake on a nice day. If you are extremely lucky and it is both clear and dead calm then the lake is also famous for having a near perfect reflection of the mountains in the distance that includes New Zealand’s highest peak, Aoraki/Mt. Cook.

Fox Glacier Viewpoint – (1hour 30mins) walk through the native forest first, and alongside the Fox River after. Once in the carpark allow 45mins to do the walk to the glacier viewpoint. Returning to Fox will take you 1h 45mins.

Cycle Options:

Fox Ride – This ride either 45 or 25km, is an awesome achievement. Ride along the highway taking in view of mountains in the distance and sections of dense temperate rainforest.

Our pick of Fox Glacier's Top Activities:


Face Walk

Terminal Face Walk

2hrs. Although you will not walk on the glacier your guide will take you to the final resting place of the ice that has travelled 12 kilometres from the base of the Southern Alps, all the way to the river valley floor. Learn about the glacier and the surrounding environment.

Fox Guiding

Glacier Guided Heli Hike

4hrs. Combine the thrill of 2 helicopter flights and the opportunity to explore a remote and pristine part of the glacier on foot, with your knowledgeable guide.

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9,000 ft / 2,750 m Skydive Fox Glacier Tandem Skydive
13,000 ft / 4,000 m Skydive Fox Glacier Tandem Skydive
16,500 ft / 5,000 m Skydive Fox Glacier Tandem Skydive

One of the most scenic skydives in the world, if not THE most scenic, with a backdrop of the Southern Alps, glaciers, rainforest and the ocean. It is hard to imagine a better place to jump out of a plane than at Fox Glacier!