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Fox Glacier

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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.


Fox Glacier township rests in the shadows of Aoraki/Mt Cook.

Get in[edit]

  • State Highway 6
    • From the South, travel from Queenstown approximately 4.5 hours by car, Wanaka approximately 3 hours by car, Haast approximately 1.5 hours by car.
    • From the North, travel from Christchurch approximately 5.5 hours by car, Greymouth approximately 2.5 hours by car and Hokitika approximately 2 hours by car.

Get around[edit]

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.

See[edit][add listing]

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 with Fox Glacier Guiding 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.

Do[edit][add listing]

The terminal face of the Fox Glacier. Notice the people in the foreground for height reference.
  • Take an unguided trip. Located 6km from the town centre, 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 go 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.
  • Walk on the glacier. 'Fox Glacier Guiding', the most experienced New Zealand glacier guiding company, offers trips onto the longest and least crowded West Coast glacier. ☎ +64 3 751-0825 or Freephone 0800 111 600 in New Zealand.
  • Take a helicopter flight. Several helicopter services operate out of Fox Glacier Township and offer breathtaking flights over the glacier, weather permitting.
  • Skydive. Tandem jump with Skydive New Zealand, 0800 751 0080, priced $225-500 depending on height and options.

Whitewater Rafting[edit]

  • 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 [4] 0800-GO-WILD (in NZ) or +64-21-748-371 (overseas)


  • 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 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. Transportation available with Intercity.

Buy[edit][add listing]

Due to the lack of competitions, things in Fox Glacier are substantially more expensive than other bigger towns, even the Franz Josef Glacier nearby, therefore it is a good idea to buy your groceries elsewhere before you come.

  • Souvenirs and gifts, +64 3 751-0825, [1]. ]. The Fox Glacier Guiding Gift Shop on the Main Rd offers a range of gifts.  edit
  • Filling Station, petrol (located on State Highway 6 within the Fox Glacier township).  edit
  • General Supplies, State Highway 6 between Cafe Neve and the Glacier Country Hotel.  edit
  • ReflectioNZ Gifts and Gallery, Lake Matheson (5 min drive from Fox Glacier), +64 3 751-0753, [2]. Open from 08.30. Showcases carefully selected, contemporary merchandise with a New Zealand flavour –NZ themed jewellery, designer merino garments, greenstone & souvenirs, New Zealand artwork & photos. Overseas shipping available. Friendly, efficient service. Open 7 days.  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Fox Glacier Guiding Cafe, State Highway 6, 751 0005. Serving breakfast and lunch daily. Offer a range of homemade deli style food. Located in the Fox Glacier Guiding Building.
  • 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.
  • Fox Glacier Inn, Sullivan Road, 0064 3 751 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.
  • The Salmon Farm Cafe, 751 0837.
  • Lake Matheson Cafe, Lake Matheson Road (5 mins drive from Fox Glacier at Lake Matheson walkway), 03 751 0878, [3]. Best coffee in the area as well as breakfast, lunch and in the busy season, dinner is on blackboard menus and change to suit seasonal ingredients. Deli style sandwiches, cakes, pies, cookies, salads etc are in our counter display cabinets, and all products are made on site. Evening dining Nov – Mar. Great views of Mt Cook and Mt Tasman. Open daily from 7.30am until late November – March, and 8am until 4pm March – October.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

At any of the above restaurants, cafes and bars.

Sleep[edit][add listing]


  • Ivory Towers Backpacker Lodge, Sullivan Road, 751 0838, [5]. $NZ 10 - 90. Lowest prices offered to BBH members. In the winter, rooms are freezing cold; they do not have adequate heaters.
  • Fox Glacier Holiday Park, Cook Flat Road - Lake Matheson Road, 751 0821, 0800 154 366, fax 751 0813, [6]. 14 room lodge, campsites, powered campervan sites, and bunkhouse cabins are available. $NZ 13 - 99.


  • 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.
  • Ropatinis B & B, 0064 3 751 0779. Located three minutes drive from town's centre, this is a lovely homestay with inviting hosts. The gardens and views a beautiful. There is a choice of ensuite units or rooms inside the main house (with and without ensuite). Breakfast is provided, dinner by arrangement.


  • Distinction Fox Glacier Te Weheka Hotel,State Highway 6, +64 3 751 0730, 0800 313 414, fax +64 3 751 0731 [7] 20 rooms with spacious ensuites and private balconies. Guest lounge, WiFi, library, lift, complimentary undercover parking. Breakfasts included.
  • Mainstay Fox Glacier Hotel, Cook Flat Road - Lake Matheson Road, 751 0839, 0800 273 767, fax 751 0868. [8] 54 rooms with bathrooms. $NZ 120 - 190.
  • Scenic Circle Glacier Country Hotel, State Highway 6, 751 0847, 0800 696 963, fax 751 0822, [9]. 51 rooms. Around $NZ 209 per night

Inns and Lodges[edit]

  • Fox Glacier Lodge, Sullivan Road, 751 0888. E: [email protected] W: 8 Ensuite rooms. Some rooms with kitchens, double spa baths & gas fire places. B&B Lodge rooms include continental selection breakfast. $NZ120 - $250 (2 persons). Also Fox Glacier Campervan Park: 24 powered campervan sites. Showers, toilets, kitchen & coin operated laundry. Fresh drinking water & dump station. Free BBQ in sheltered BBQ area & picnic tables for guest use. 1min stroll to all cafes/shops, etc.
  • Fox Glacier Inn, Sullivan Road, T: 0064 3 751 0022, F: 0064 3 751 0024, E: [email protected] - 16 ensuite rooms, 12 basic share rooms.


  • Sunset Motel, 751 0062, 0800 751 006, fax 751 0063, [10]. 25 motel units opened in November 2003. $NZ 95 - 195.
  • The Westhaven, State Highway 6, 751 0084, 0800 369 452, fax 751 0094, [11]. 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.
  • Lake Paringa Heritage Lodge, 751 0894. Located south of town.

Motor Park[edit]

  • Fox Glacier Campervan Park (see under "Inns and Lodges" above).
  • 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.


  • All numbers are 64 3.

Stay safe[edit]

  • 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.

Get out[edit]

  • Bus Booking. The following locations offer bus bookings through various bus companies.
    • Fox Glacier Guiding Building, State Highway 6, 751 0825, Atomic Shuttle and Intercity Bookings.
    • Fox Glacier Information Center, Sullivan Road, 0064 3 751 0044.
    • Ivory Towers, Sullivan Road, 751 0838.
  • State Highway 6. Travel North or South along the highway to reach.

Visit nearby Franz Josef, the larger of the two Glacier towns, with more accommodation, restaurants and bars as well as the Glacier Hot Pools.

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