West coast

Why Fox Glacier is a must do on your South Island trip

While the South Island is full of iconic spots, Fox Glacier is a gem of town tucked away on the West Coast and well worth the visit.

Aug. 4, 2019

Hikers on Fox Glacier

While the South Island is full of iconic spots, Fox Glacier is a gem of town tucked away on the West Coast and well worth the visit.

Here are our top 5 reasons why Fox Glacier should be included in your tour of the South Island:

Fox Glacier is one of the world’s most accessible glaciers

Fox Glacier is also one of only glaciers in the world that descends into rainforest. Fed by four alpine glaciers, Fox Glacier descends 2,600 metres across 13 km. It’s the largest and highest of the West Coast glaciers.

Fox Glacier can be viewed from a lookout on Glacier View Road, but to really take in just how huge this glacier truly it, we recommend driving along Cook Flat Road (on the way to Lake Matheson) where you can see the glacier in all its glory.

If you want to get up close and personal with Fox Glacier, there are Heli-Hikes and scenic flights available that landings. Either activity is an once-in-a-lifetime experience.

For a truly unique experience, stay overnight near the glacier at Chancellor Hut, the oldest alpine hut still on its original site.

Lake Matheson

Lake Matheson is famous for its mirror reflection of Aoraki/Mount Cook and Mount Tasman.

It’s one of the most photographed locations in New Zealand and is worth the 40 minutes leisurely walk to the jetty viewpoint.

Sign up for a small guided eco tour of Lake Matheson to learn more about the landscape.

Afterwards you can relax and enjoy a coffee and snack at Matheson Cafe and Reflectionz Gallery.

It’s the ultimate sky diving destination

The Lonely Planet says that only Mt Everest could possibly beat Fox Glacier for a scenic skydiving experience and Rankers.co.nz has voted Skydive Fox Glacier as the best skydive in New Zealand.

Need we say more? If you’re after an unforgettable adrenaline rush, skydiving over Fox Glacier is the place to be!

Gillespies Beach

Head 20 minutes on Cook Flat Road, before turning right onto Gillespies Beach Road. Make sure to stop at the Fox Glacier Lookout before continuing through to the beach.

Gillespies Beach has stunning views of the Southern Alps and several short walks in the area. There is a lot of rich gold mining heritage in the area and some of the walk in the area lead to historic suction and bucket dredges.

Bruce Bay

Just 40 minutes south of Fox Glacier is Bruce Bay (Mahitahi), voted one of New Zealand’s most beautiful beaches. It’s a stunning beach where the trees come into direct contact with the coastline. Bruce Bay is well worth the stop travelling north or south along the West Coast.