Fox Glacier is one of New Zealand’s coolest glaciers, and we’re not just talking about the ice.
Fox Glacier is your gateway to Glacier Country on New Zealand’s stunning West Coast. In this slice of icy paradise you’ll be surrounded by the eye-popping Kā Tiritiri o te Moana (Southern Alps) and two epic glaciers on your doorstep – Franz Josef is about 20 km north-east of Fox. Unlike most other glaciers, Fox Glacier terminates just 12 km from the ocean…. only in New Zealand! Our local guides will help you explore Glacier Country the Intrepid way. Wake up and say kia ora to the mountains, admire the shimmering Lake Matheson, wander through mossy alpine forests, soak in soothing hot pools, or get up close to incredible ice architecture on a glacier heli-hike. You could even continue your adventure in Wanaka, Queenstown or Milford Sound.
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Everyone travelling on an Intrepid trip must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of carriage. All travellers are required to produce:
- Proof of COVID-19 vaccination
- All children aged 5 to 17 years old must provide proof of vaccination (if eligible), proof of recovery or a negative COVID-19 test.
- If you are unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons, you may apply for an exemption. Exemptions will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. To apply, you must provide a medical certificate from a medical professional.
In all cases, you must be fully inoculated. This means you must receive the full dosage of the COVID-19 vaccine and allow enough time for immunity to take effect. Each COVID-19 vaccine has different dosages and timeframes for inoculation, so please check the relevant medical advice associated with your vaccine.
Although glaciers often evoke images of heavy snow and ice cold temperatures, the weather at Fox Glacier doesn’t change a great deal throughout the year. Winter (June to August) experiences relatively mild weather by typical winter standards, with average temperatures ranging between 5-15°C.
Snow falls at the top of the mountains, but you’ll rarely see snow at sea level. The warmest months are January through March, but average highs hover just under 20°C and rarely exceed 25°C. Fox Glacier receives a whopping 6-8 metres of rainfall per year (which is amazing for the glaciers) and you can expect at least some rain no matter what time of year you visit. March tends to be the wettest month, while February is the driest.
The easiest way to get to Fox Glacier is by driving or doing a tour. You can drive to Fox Glacier Village on State Highway 6 from Hokitika (2 hours), Wanaka (3.5 hours) or from Franz Josef Glacier Village (25 minutes). A public bus is available with InterCity between Nelson, Queenstown and Fox Glacier. However, you might not be able to rely solely on public transport if you want to get to walks, lookouts and nearby attractions throughout Glacier Country.
You can walk to the base of Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers and get within about 750m of the terminal face, but if you want to get closer and explore the glacier on foot, you will need to do a guided glacier hike. You used to be able to access the glaciers via the valley floor, but it's no longer safe due to severe flooding in 2019.
The weather at high elevations at Fox Glacier is unpredictable and can change quickly. Bring plenty of warm layers, a pair of sturdy hiking boots and comfortable clothing that will see you through long days of walking and hiking. A warm fleece and a waterproof/windproof jacket are also essential - it rains a lot! If you’re doing a heli-hike experience, your tour leader will provide you with suitable socks, boots and crampons so you don’t need to worry about those.
Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. However, we’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.