Fox Glacier Township: Rests in the Shadows of Aoraki/Mt Cook

Fox Glacier Township: Rests in the Shadows of Aoraki/Mt Cook

Fox Glacier Township is on the West Coast of New Zealand's South Island, part of what is referred to as "Glacier Country". Fox Glacier Township is quieter than the area near the Franz Josef Glacier. It rests in the shadows of Aoraki/Mt Cook.

When you arrive at Fox Glacier you immediately feel relaxed in its intimate, village atmosphere. It has a stunning outlook across surrounding farms and offers breathtaking views of New Zealand’s highest peaks Aoraki (Mt Cook) and Mt Tasman. Tucked discreetly into the rainforest-clad foothills of the Southern Alps, the town was founded when gold was discovered. The township is small and all accommodation is within walking distance to the town centre.


- Fox Glacier. Walk along the river valley floor to the Terminal Face, take a guided walk or helihike onto the glacier itself with one of the Tour Operators or fly over it by helicopter.

- Take an unguided Fox glacier trip. Located 6km from the town center, a 2 hour walk round trip or 10 minute drive. From the parking lot, walk the on a track right up to the face of the glacier. This track can be cumbersome in places, requiring balance to scramble down slick rocks. 1 hour round trip. Do not proceed past the barriers at the Terminal Face of the glacier, as the area is extremely dangerous. In order to step onto the ice take a guided walk.

- Take a guided Fox glacier trip. There are several Tour Operators offering trips onto the longest and least crowded West Coast glacier, the Fox Glacier. There are half day walks, all day walks, terminal face walks, ice climbing adventures or even overnight Heli-Treks packages.

- Lake Matheson. Located five minutes' drive from Fox township. Take the 1 hour 30 minute walk around the lake to see the beautiful reflection of Aoraki/Mt Cook and Mt Tasman. The track is well maintained, and there are boardwalks and specially made platforms for getting the right angle for your pictures.

- Gillespies Beach. An 11km drive down a twisting unsealed road through a rimu rainforest leads you to a camping area. From here, walk a few km more and you'll find yourself on a black sand/quartz pebble beach on the Tasman Sea. Near the beach entrance is the rusted and overgrown historic gold dredge. Several km up the beach you can visit a seal colony. It is a 3 hour round trip walk to the seal colony.

- View the mountain peaks. Drive 10km south of the township past Lake Matheson to the best view of the peaks of Aoraki/Mt Cook and Mt Tasman.

- Tramping

  • Minnehaha Walk. A 20 minute round trip through the rainforest on the outskirts of town.
  • Moraine Walk. Located along Glacier View Road, tramp over moraine surface into native bush for a 40 minute round trip.
  • Chalet Lookout Walk. 1 hour 15 minute round trip with a stream crossing to find a beautiful lookout point over the Fox glacier. Track starts at the car park at the end of Glacier View Road.
  • Mount Fox Track. 8 hour round trip tramp on a steep marked route through to alpine grasslands that afford views of the mountains, glacier, and the coastline. Start from the parking area on State Highway 6 just south of town.
  • Copland Track - Welcome Flat. A 6 to 8 hour tramp one way to the Welcome Flat Hot pools. Start the track 20 minutes south of town. Transporation available through Intercity and Atomic Shuttles.