Gear up for adventures of a lifetime at Fox Glacier. Viewing this huge mass of ice on hiking and helicopter tours is an awe-inspiring visual treat. Fox Glacier is a 2,600-metre (8,500-foot) tall and 13-kilometre (8-mile) long glacier. It cuts through the temperate rainforests of Fox Valley from the tallest peaks of New Zealand’s Southern Alps. The glacier forms part of the Westland Tai Poutini National Park, a breathtaking expanse of glacial lakes, mountains and rivers.
Gaze in awe at the imposing terminal face that greets you upon arrival at the glacier. See where the ice ends its journey after travelling from the Southern Alps. Listen as ice blocks break free and collapse into Fox River. The glacier’s face is accessible via a leisurely 2-hour walk from the nearby village.
Sign up for a glacier trekking and climbing tour during which you will use specialist equipment such as crampon boots and ice picks. Tours start with an exhilarating helicopter flight, which presents unbeatable views of ice caves, pinnacles and rainforests. Experience the unique thrill of the helicopter landing right on the glacier.
Follow your guide to naturally formed arches and tunnels. Trek to a large snow shelf below Chancellor Dome and admire the views of Gillespies Beach and Mount Tasman. Spot alpine flowers, mountain antelope and mountain parrot. Land on Victoria Flat and then have fun forging your own trail and dropping down into ice holes.
For the ultimate adrenalin rush, take an ice-climbing tour. Work with a trained instructor and use climbing gear to ascend and descend overhanging walls and pinnacles. Alternatively, join an overnight trekking adventure. Spend the night at Chancellor Hut, a historic alpine house built around 1930. Visit alpine gardens and waterfalls, dine right on the glacier and enjoy superb sunsets over the Tasman Sea.
Fox Glacier is just 5 kilometres (3 miles) from its namesake village, on New Zealand’s South Island. The village has numerous tour operators that run excursions to the glacier year-round, subject to weather conditions. Wear suitable cold-weather clothing and remember to bring your camera the glacier is constantly moving and its appearance can change while you are walking on it.