Perched on the frozen maritime glacier landscape amid the Southern Alps on New Zealand’s West Coast, South Island, is the famous Fox Glacier. Home to New Zealand’s Twin Glacier Mountains – the Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier and more wonders, here’s a look at the best things to do in this beautiful frosty destination.
Table of Contents
- 1 Observe the mirror views at the Lake Matheson
- 2 Discover the beauty of the Fox Glacier South Side Walk
- 3 Explore the stunning Franz Josef Glacier Walk
- 4 Camp at the Gillespies Beach
- 5 Relax and Rejuvenate at the Glacier Hot Pools
- 6 Take hiking to higher levels via helicopters with Glacier Heli Hiking
- 7 Witness the glowworm charm at the Minnehaha Walk
- 8 Get close to the glacier wildlife at the West Coast Wildlife Centre
- 9 Discover the Glacier Magic through Fox Glacier Guiding
- 10 Take Scenic Flights over the Fox and Franz Josef Glacier
Observe the mirror views at the Lake Matheson
Lake Matheson is one of the most beautiful lakes in New Zealand’s South Island. Situated 5–minutes from the Fox Glacier Township, this is where you head to witness the mesmerizing mirror view effects of the Alps on the lake waters. Visitors usually come either at dawn or dusk since the effect is most magical at that time. You can also get insane views of Aoraki, Mt Cook and even Mt Tasman. It’s Phenomenal.
Discover the beauty of the Fox Glacier South Side Walk
This 6 km stretch is a verdant, mossy beauty. A hike up the glacier valley in this scenic trail is a must-add to your list of things to do in Fox Glacier. Explore the stunning rainforests, cross glacier moraines and witness incredible views of this Glacier country. The start point of the Fox Glacier South Side Walk is just a 5-minutes’ drive from the Fox Glacier township.
Explore the stunning Franz Josef Glacier Walk
With the car park, just minutes from Franz Josef town here’s another must include in your list of things to do at Fox Glacier. Another New Zealand’s one-of-a-kind nature exploration you can only enjoy in South Island. The total trek takes less than 2-hours. Located along the Waiho River. Immerse in the beauty of waterfalls, scenic riverbanks and get amazing views of the Franz Josef Glacier itself.
Camp at the Gillespies Beach
If you enjoy exploring the charms of nature on foot, then Gillespies Beach is a must-add to your list of things to do in Fox Glacier. With 5 walkways and a massive campground, this beach is found near the Weheka River, 30-40 minutes from Fox Glacier and Franz Josef. Camping here and stargazing at night will be nothing short of amazing. Getting to the beach can be a little tricky, so always get the correct information before heading off.
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Relax and Rejuvenate at the Glacier Hot Pools
Take a break from exploring the frosty beauty of Fox Glacier and Franz Josef and visit the Glacier Hot Pools, which are situated near Franz Josef and approx. 30-minutes from Fox Glacier. Set in tranquil, temperate rainforest settings, there are 3 pools to choose from to dip in. The heat ranges between 36 – 40 degrees centigrade. A must-add to your list of things to do in Fox Glacier.
Take hiking to higher levels via helicopters with Glacier Heli Hiking
Hiking the glaciers with guides on helicopter’s essentially is what Glacier Heli Hiking is. Glacier Helicopters – the ultimate way to explore the glacier country of the South Island. From traditional Glacier tours to Trekking tours – choose your start from the Franz Josef or Fox Glacier. You can take the hike to another level and include Heli Ice Climbs in your adventure. Witness New Zealand’s rare glacier beauty from a unique vantage point.
Witness the glowworm charm at the Minnehaha Walk
This famous 1.2 km walkway exists super close to Fox Glacier, and the Haast highway as well as Lake Matheson. Pass through the lush rainforest scenery and small scenic streams, but if you want to witness the glow worms you will need to trek during the dark. Keep in mind that bikes are not permitted.
Get close to the glacier wildlife at the West Coast Wildlife Centre
West Coast Wildlife Centre is located in the heart of the town of Franz Josef. It is home to two of the rarest kiwi species in all of New Zealand – the Haast Tokooeka and the Rowi. They have many indoor and outdoor options – including guided tours through incubations and rearing areas. Which is bound to be a heartwarming experience.
Discover the Glacier Magic through Fox Glacier Guiding
Situated along the main route of Fox Glacier, a breathtaking glacier adventure awaits. Explore the marvels of the Fox Glacier valley. Immerse in the spectacular frosty views of mountains, icefalls, ice caves and more. These glacier walks are going to leave a trail of unforgettable memories in your mind.
Take Scenic Flights over the Fox and Franz Josef Glacier
Take to the skies to marvel at the glacier wonders of Fox Glacier and Franz Josef. Get a bird’s eye view of the heavy snow-capped Southern Alps, the majestic Mount Cook, the stunning Okarito Lagoon, Lake Mapourika, even the coastline, and of course the panoramic views of Fox Glacier and Franz Josef – the twin glaciers. It’s going to be a priceless experience.
Click here to check out our guide on “Things to do in Haast“