New Zealand has a dynamic duo of glaciers, which are easily accessed and provide a fascinating and unique holiday experience.
Nowhere else in the world, at this latitude, do glaciers flow down into a temperate rainforest so close to sea level.
Fox Glacier was named after an early New Zealand Prime Minister. It is fed from a catchment of four high alpine glaciers, and like Franz Josef Glacier it falls around 2,500 metres in 13 km. The terminal face is a short drive from the township of Fox and is reached via a riverbed walk from the road end.
Scenic flights and tandem skydives over Fox Glacier take you far above everyday life and on a day of clear blue skies, will be an unforgettable highlight of your trip. Alpine guides offer enthralling exploration trips on the tortuous ice flow, including half and full-day walks, heli-hikes and ice climbing instruction.
Spectacular views are attainable at ground level by taking short valley walks like the Glacier Valley Viewpoint and Fox Glacier Walk. At a higher elevation the dramatic landscape is really ‘in your face’. Take the Chalet Lookout Walk to an historic viewpoint that was once the main access route to the glacier. The surface is now an incredible hundred metres below you. The Mt Fox Track is a challenging climb to a realm where falcons fly.
Only 6 km from Fox township is Lake Matheson, the jewel in the crown of New Zealand’s scenic icons. Early morning is the best time for unsurpassed views of Mts Cook and Tasman, reflected in the mirror-like lake surface. Drive to Gillespie’s Beach to visit the seal colony and view the jagged white peaks of the main divide.
Take time to explore the lakes, rivers, forests and beach areas around Fox. They were shaped and moulded by ancient ice age glaciers that rumbled across the coastal plain, to be claimed by the Tasman Sea. Rock debris and sediment locked in their icy embrace was swept up the coast to form the 30 km long Farewell Spit at the South Island’s northern tip.
Enjoy the remarkable Fox landscape – it’s a geological marvel.
The Wild West Coast: The West Coast of the Southern Alps
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