Reach For The Skies: 10 Top Things To Do In Fox Glacier, NZ

things to do in fox glacier nz
| 3 min read

On the western part of New Zealand lies a maritime glacier known as Fox Glacier. It gets its name from a former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Sir William Fox, who visited the region in 1872. Fox Glacier is part of New Zealand’s Southern Alps and fed by the four surrounding glaciers. It’s a breathtaking region that offers visitors plenty of opportunities for adventure!

Now, visiting a glacier may sound scary to some, but Fox Glacier happens to be one of the most accessible glaciers in the world, with plenty of hiking trails. Therefore, weary travelers have nothing to worry about, as we’ll discover the many things one can do in this fascinating part of New Zealand.

1. Walk up Fox Glacier

Fox Glacier, New Zealand (3)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Michal Klajban used under CC BY-SA 4.0

There are walking tours available for those that wish to make their way up Fox Glacier. These walks aren’t too difficult or time consuming, as it only takes around an hour to reach the top. There’s also a platform to view the stunning surroundings, so bring along a pair of binoculars and a camera.

Fox Glacier

Address: Westland Tai Poutini National Park, Fox Glacier, Westland National Park (Te Wahipounamu), New Zealand

Website: Department of Conservation – Te Papa Atawbai

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2. Take one of many guided tours of Fox Glacier

The Fox Glacier Guiding Team Wish you a Very Merry Xmas and stay safe these holidays. We're closed today Christmas Day but it will be business as usual from tomorrow the 26th, opening at 7.30am Cheers

Posted by Fox Glacier Guiding on Thursday, 24 December 2015

You may decide to walk up Fox Glacier by yourself. However, there are guided tours available that can show you aspects of the area that you didn’t know about. Fox Glacier Guiding offers tourists a comprehensive range of touring packages that will suit every pocket. Furthermore, the guides have extensive knowledge of the region and prioritize the safety of their visitors.

Fox Glacier Guiding

Address: State Highway 6, Fox Glacier, Westland National Park (Te Wahipounamu) 7951, New Zealand

Website: Fox Glacier Guiding

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3. Skydive over Fox Glacier

Dana with Paulo

Posted by Skydive Fox Glacier on Friday, 8 April 2016

Does skydiving sound scary to you, especially when you’re diving 13,000 feet (3,962 meters) above Fox Glacier? No need to fear, Skydive Fox Glacier has professionally trained instructors for novice skydivers. And it’s all well worth it, as the amazing panoramic view from high above reveals the glaciers, rain forest, and ocean in all their glory!

Skydive Fox Glacier

Address: 1 Cook Flat Road, Fox Glacier, Westland National Park 7859, New Zealand

Website: Skydive Fox Glacier

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4. Ride a helicopter above Fox Glacier and the surrounding regions

Windy morning but still spectacular

Posted by Wilderness Wings Scenic Flights New Zealand on Sunday, 27 November 2016

See Fox Glacier from high above with a helicopter tour from Scenic Flight Tours. This is a great option, as helicopters are more versatile than planes, as they can land on a variety of terrain. Several tour packages are available that will allow you to view the region from a fantastic vantage point, but also land on those hard to reach mountain plateaus.

Scenic Flights

Address: Main Road Franz Josef Village, Fox Glacier, Westland National Park, New Zealand

Website: Scenic Flights

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5. Choose your ideal hiking trail at Fox Glacier

Fox Glacier Hiking

Posted by New Zealand Trails on Sunday, 27 November 2016

Fox Glacier is an excellent destination for hiking, as it has the perfect mix of valleys, mountains, and the glacier itself, which present visitors with amazing views. Hikers have a choice of an easy and a more advanced trail. The former trail runs along the riverside, while the latter will take hikers all the way to the top of the glacier.

Fox Glacier Hiking Trails

Address: Fox Glacier, Westland National Park, New Zealand

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6. Discover the hidden side of Glacier Fox on the Minnehaha Track

Back to my favourite running track, between rain showers.

Posted by On Happy Ground on Wednesday, 24 August 2016

So, you may prefer to take things slow and not engage in any exhausting hikes. No problem, as there are more relaxing options available for visitors to the Fox Glacier region. Take a short walk in nature by discovering the regions vast rainforests. Furthermore, this will also give you the opportunity to check out the glowworms that light up the evening!

Minnehaha Track

Address: State Highway 6, Westland Tai Poutini National Park, Fox Glacier, Westland National Park, New Zealand

Website: Department of Conservation – Te Papa Atawbai

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7. Test your physical limits at the Copland Track

Welcome Flat hot pool. Copland Track, South Westland, West Coast, NZ.

Posted by Kim Young Googi on Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Another popular hiking trail is the Copland Track, which has a few differences to the Glacier Fox trails. Here, hikers are welcomed by charming huts located near the Copland River. This is a longer and harder trail and definitely suited to more fit and energetic individuals. It’s a one-way hiking trail and usually takes around 2 days to complete.

Copland Track

Address: Fox Glacier, Westland National Park 7886, New Zealand

Website: Department of Conservation - Te Papa Atawbai

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8. Admire the views at Gillespie Beach

Gillespie Beach near Fox Glacier

Posted by Julia Mace on Saturday, 18 February 2017

Want to witness a beach that looks radically different to most other beaches? Fox Glacier’s Gillespie Beach has an incredibly white stone surface that’s just majestic to look at. However, this may not be the right spot for swimming, but you’ll be able to spot a few seals and dolphins along the coastline. There are also a few walking trails for those in the mood for a bit of hiking and a campsite that’s just perfect for backpackers.

Gillespie Beach

Address: Fox Glacier, Westland National Park, New Zealand

Website: Department of Conservation - Te Papa Atawbai

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9. Order a delicious snack at ReflectioNZ Gifts & Gallery Store

Posted by ReflectioNZ Gifts & Gallery on Saturday, 16 July 2011

Anyone that visits Fox Glacier and the surrounding areas is bound to get incredibly hungry, due to all that walking and hiking! So, there must be a good place nearby to satisfy a voracious appetite and quench one’s thirst. And fortunately, there is, ReflectioNZ Gift & Gallery Store is a café, gallery, and gift shop that draws quite the crowd. You can order a delicious meal from their comprehensive menu and buy some goodies to take home!

ReflectioNZ Gifts & Gallery Store

Address: Lake Matheson Rd, Fox Glacier, Westland National Park 7859, New Zealand

Website: ReflectioNZ Gifts & Gallery Store

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10. Taste the good life at Matheson Café

Here is Lara enjoying a walk around Lake Matheson, otherwise known as Lake Reflections, famous for its mirror views of...

Posted by Seasonz Travel on Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Coffee lovers and craft beer enthusiasts will be in for a treat when they visit the Matheson Café, which is located next to ReflectioNZ. This is a stylish and upmarket establishment, specializing in slow-cooked lamb, smoked-salmon, and breakfast bagels. Visitors to Fox Glacier certainly have some impressive culinary options at their disposal!

Matheson Café

Address: Lake Matheson Rd, Fox Glacier, New Zealand

Website: Matheson Café

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Fox Glacier offers the best of the ocean and mountain

As is already apparent, Fox Glacier is an incredibly beautiful area of New Zealand that truly caters for hikers and anyone seeking adventure. There’s an incredible range of options for visitors that wish to travel around the area. Overall, Fox Glacier offers visitors much natural diversity, as it has mountains and ocean in such close proximity.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Demos, a freelance writer, boasts an entrepreneurial background that informs his diverse writing portfolio. His articles span across various topics, encompassing travel, business, technology,...Read more

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