Fox Glacier


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Ice cave in the terminal face of Fox glacier.
View of peaks atop Fox Glacier.

The Fox Glacier/Te Moeka o Tuawe is a glacier located in Westland National Park on the West Coast of New Zealand's South Island. It was named in 1872 after a visit by the then Prime Minister of New Zealand, Sir William Fox. Although retreating throughout most of the last 100 years, it has been advancing since 1985 at an average of about a meter a day. Fed by four alpine glaciers, Fox Glacier falls 2,600m on its 13km journey from the Southern Alps down to the coast. Like the nearby Franz Josef Glacier, it is one of the most accessible glaciers in the world, with its terminal face an easy 5km walk from Fox Glacier village/Weheka. Fox has the distinction of being one of the few glaciers to end among lush rainforest only 300 metres above sea level. The outflow of the glacier forms the Fox River.Fox Glacier is a big tourist attraction and even though people are told not to, they go beyond the barrier and climb on the Glacier.

Fox Glacier village/Weheka functions mainly as a service centre for tourists. It also services the local farming community.


[edit] Visiting Fox Glacier

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.

[edit] Understand

Fox Glacier township rests in the shadows of Aoraki/Mt Cook and Mt Tasman with the Fox Glacier bearing down on them, yet dense rainforests are only minutes from town. In fact, as you enter the township from the south on State Highway 6, you're treated to views of the Tasman Sea and thick rainforests.

[edit] Get in

[edit] Get around

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.

[edit] See

Lake Matheson's reflective surface on a cloudy day.
Gillespie Beach's quartz pebbles and black sand.
  • 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.
  • Fox Glacier. Walk along the river valley floor to the Terminal Face, take a guided walk or helihike onto the glacier itself, or fly over it by helicopter.
  • 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.

[edit] Do

The terminal face of the Fox Glacier. Notice the people in the foreground for height reference.
  • Visit the Fox Glacier. Located 6km from the town center, a 2 hour walk round trip or 10 minute drive.
    • Take an unguided trip. 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.
    • Take a guided trip. Contact 'Fox Glacier Guiding' [1], the most experienced New Zealand glacier guiding company. For information on their Half-Day, Helihike, All-day, Terminal Face Walks, Ice-Climbing, or even Overnight packages, please vist their website or phone 751 0825 or 0800 111 600.
    • Take a helicopter flight. Several helicopter services operate out of Fox Glacier Township and offer breathtaking flights over the glacier, weather permitting.
  • Skydive. This is probably the best place in New Zealand to do this activity thanks to its amazing scenery. Tandom jump with Skydive New Zealand [2], 0800 751 0080, prices between NZ$225 and NZ$500 depending on height and options.
  • Glow Worm Forest Walk, 751 0711.

[edit] Whitewater Rafting

  • Whataroa & Perth Rivers. 20 minutes north of Franz Josef are two of the best one-day whitewater rafting runs anywhere on the planet. Total wilderness experience, awesome Class IV & V rapids, and stunning scenery. Accessible by helicopter only. Rivers Wild [3] 0800-GO-WILD (in NZ) or +64-21-748-371 (overseas)

[edit] 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.

[edit] Buy

  • Gasoline. There is a gas (petrol) station located on State Highway 6 within the Fox Glacier Township.
  • General Supplies. The general store is located on State Highway 6 between Cafe Neve and the Glacier Country Hotel.
  • Souvenirs and gifts. The Hobnail Shop in the Fox Glacier Guiding Building on the Main Rd offers a great variety of affordable gifts. Travellers often comment that this is one of the most charming shops that they have come accross in the country. Ph 03 751 0825 or visit
  • Stamps and Postage available from the friendly staff at the Fox Glacier Building.
  • Foreign Currency Exchange available at the Fox Glacier Guiding Building on the Main Rd.

[edit] Eat

  • Cook Saddle Cafe and Saloon, State Highway 6, 751 0700. Serving lunch and dinner indoors or out. Family friendly and full of local history.
  • The Plateau Cafe and Bar, Sullivan Road, 751 0058.
  • Cafe Neve, State Highway 6, 751 0110.
  • Matheson Cafe, 751 0878. At the Lake Matheson car park.
  • Fox Glacier Inn Cafe and Bar, Sullivan Road, 751 0022.
  • Fox Glacier Resort Hotel, 751 0839.
  • Glacier Country Hotel, State Highway 6, 751 0847.
  • High Peaks bar and Restaurant, Cook Flat Road - Lake Matheson Road, 751 0804. Located at the A1 Fox Glacier Motels.
  • Hobnail Cafe, State Highway 6, 751 0005. Located alongside Alpine Guides' offices.
  • Parigna Cafe, 751 0894.
  • The Salmon Farm Cafe, 751 0837.

[edit] Drink

At any of the above restaurants, cafes and bars.

[edit] Sleep

[edit] Backpackers

  • Ivory Towers Backpacker Lodge, Sullivan Road, 751 0838, [4]. $NZ 10 - 90. Lowest prices offered to BBH members.
  • Fox Glacier Holiday Park, Cook Flat Road - Lake Matheson Road, 751 0821, 0800 154 366, fax 751 0813, [5]. 14 room lodge, campsites, powered campervan sites, and bunkhouse cabins are available. $NZ 13 - 99.
  • Fox Glacier Inn and Backpackers, Sullivan Road, 751 0022.

[edit] Homestays

  • Fox Glacier Homestay, 751 0817. Located 1/2km from the village, this homestay offers three bedrooms and a continental breakfast. $NZ 70 - 120 per night.
  • Roaring Billy Lodge, 751 0815. Located two minutes from the town center, this homestay offers two bedrooms with shared bathroom and a special cooked breakfast. Your host Billy is a seasoned bushman and offers educational walks in the evenings.

[edit] Hotels

  • Mainstay Fox Glacier Hotel, Cook Flat Road - Lake Matheson Road, 751 0839, 0800 273 767, fax 751 0868. [6] 54 guest rooms with bathrooms. $NZ 120 - 190.
  • Scenic Circle Glacier Country Hotel, State Highway 6, 751 0847, 0800 696 963, fax 751 0822, [7]. 51 rooms. Around $NZ120-$NZ180 per night

[edit] Inns and Lodges

  • Te Weheka Inn, State Highway 6, 751 0730, fax 751 0731, [8]. A 21 room bed and breakfast opened in November 2001. $NZ 120 - 245 per night.
  • Fox Glacier Lodge, Sullivan Road, 751 0888.

[edit] Motels

  • Sunset Motel, 751 0062, 0800 751 006, fax 751 0063, [9]. 25 motel units opened in November 2003. $NZ 95 - 195.
  • The Westhaven, State Highway 6, 751 0084, 0800 369 452, fax 751 0094, [10]. Queen and King motel units. $NZ 175 - 195 per night.
  • Rainforest Motel, Cook Flat Road - Lake Matheson Road, 751 0140.
  • Lake Matheson Motel, Cook Flat Road - Lake Matheson Road, 751 0830.
  • A1 Fox Glacier Motels, Cook Flat Road - Lake Matheson Road, 751 0804.
  • Lake Paringa Heritage Lodge, 751 0894. Located south of town.
  • Pekanga Apartment, Pekanga Drive, 751 0088, [11] or e-mail 1 luxury self contained apartment. $90-190.

[edit] Motor Park

  • Campervan Park, Sullivan Road, 751 0888. Part of the Fox Glacier Lodge.
  • Fox Glacier Holiday Park, Cook Flat Road - Lake Matheson Road, 751 0821, 0800 154 366, fax 751 0813, [12]. 14 room lodge, campsites, powered campervan sites, and bunkhouse cabins are available. $NZ 13 - 99.

[edit] Contact

  • All numbers are 64 3.
  • Fastweb Internet, corner of State Highway 6 and Cook Flat Road - Lake Matheson Road, 751 0078.

[edit] Stay Safe

  • Nurse's Clinic, 751 0836. There is a nurse's clinic on the north edge of town open daily. Doctor available on Thursdays only.
  • Emergency Number, 111.

[edit] Get out

  • Bus Booking. The following locations offer bus bookings through various bus companies.
    • Fox Glacier Guiding Building, State Highway 6, 751 0825, Atomic Shuttle Bookings.
    • Fox Glacier Information Center, State Highway 6, 751 0044.
    • Ivory Towers, Sullivan Road, 751 0838.
  • State Highway 6. Travel North or South along the highway to reach.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

This article uses material from Wikipedia, "Fox Glacier" and Wikitravel, "Fox Glacier"

Any material derived from Wikitravel articles is released under the Creative Commons Attribution share alike licence

Glenorchy Air provides scenic flights to Fox Glacier from Queenstown.

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