fox glacier new zealand

How To Experience New Zealand’s Fox Glacier Terminal Face Walk

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**It sounds like at the time of writing (11/3/19) the road in is closed from a landslide and it is closed indefinitely.  I would ask around wherever you are before making the trip out here, so a helicopter visit may be the only option right now.**

It’s too hard to choose one favorite thing that I did in New Zealand.  I always say Tasman Glacier and Tasman Valley, but it was all so good!  Like, there was literally nothing bad.  And while we didn’t get to hike on Fox Glacier, we did get to do the Fox Glacier Terminal Face walk.  Aka we got to walk to the end of the glacier and it may not sound like the coolest, it’s still totally worth doing, even if it’s cloudy.  If it’s rainy though, they may close it for the day.  You can always check the daily update.  And sometimes the road can be washed out from landslides or rockfall, so it may be closed because of that as well.

fox glacier new zealand

I really enjoyed this walk because it’s pretty easy, if a little rocky, with killer scenery.  It’s almost jungley on one side and frozen on the other.  You’re walking along the Fox River and occasionally hopping on rocks to go over a small stream.  This is a seriously cool place that I would love to see again, but this time heli hiking.  But for the free walk, you can walk to the base of the glacier (I’m not sure if you can walk right up to it though) where it melts into the river.

fox glacier new zealand

Keep an eye out for waterfalls as you walk.  They are all over.  Fox Glacier may not be as popular as nearby Franz Josef Glacier, but it has plenty to offer.  Fox is one kilometer longer, less visited, and has varying trails based on conditions, so you may find some wonderful surprises.  It also has a view of Mount Cook that Franz Josef does not.  If you can only visit one, this may help you decide.

fox glacier new zealand

What is the Fox Glacier Terminal Face walk?

While the best way to see Fox Glacier might be a heli hiking tour, it’s still really cool to walk to the Terminal Face, or the end of the glacier at any given point in time.  This is the only free way to experience the glacier, but you won’t be able to walk on the glacier at all this way, just up to it.  This is perfect if you don’t like helicopters or are short on time but still want to see it.

waterfalls in new zealand

What to bring on the Fox Glacier Terminal Face Walk

Water bottle – Even though it’s a short walk, you’ll want to bring water.  A Hydro Flask will keep your water ice cold all day long.

Hat – You’ll want some kind of hat to keep the sun out of your eyes.  A baseball hat should be fine but a bucket hat or sun hat could help keep the sun off your neck.  Not necessary if it’s cloudy.

Sunglasses – This is a must, on those sunny days, cloudy less so.  Sunglasses are best paired with a hat on those really bright days.

Light Jacket – Because you just never know.  Weather can change quickly here.  It could be rainy, too, and I usually use my rain jacket for this.

fox glacier new zealand

Where is Fox Glacier?

How to get to Fox Glacier

These directions are from Fox Glacier Town.

fox glacier new zealand

Heli Hiking Fox Glacier

This is probably the best way to see Fox Glacier since you can get up close and personal.  While the tours are on the pricier side, it sounds quite worth it.  You’ll get panoramic views of the valley, mountains, and glacier from the helicopter before and after exploring the glacier on foot.

You’ll be right on the glacier and all hiking equipment is provided.  From reviews, it sounds like its about ten minutes in the helicopter and three-ish hours of walking on the glacier and admiring waterfalls.  You can book the tour here.

fox glacier new zealand

How much is it to see Fox Glacier?

Free!  At least to walk to the terminal face.  It will be more if you do a guided tour.  I don’t think one is necessary to walk to the terminal face, but they are offered.  You do need one if you want to hike on the glacier.

How long do I need for the Fox Glacier Terminal Face walk?

I would say about an hour to an hour and a half.  This, of course, will depend on how fast you walk and how much you stop.  The Fox Glacier Terminal Face walk is about 2.6KM round-trip.

fox glacier new zealand

Have you been to Fox Glacier?  What did you do there?  How did you see it?  Do you want to go?  What is your favorite glacier in New Zealand?

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