How to get to Fox Glacier

Fox Glacier is part of Glacier Country on the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island. Due to its remote location, the easiest way to get there is either by driving or doing a tour. There are also a couple of public transport options to Fox Glacier, but it might not be suitable depending on where you’re coming from and travelling to afterwards. 

The starting point for exploring the glacier and its surroundings is Fox Glacier Village. It’s located on State Highway 6. Josef Glacier Village is just 25 minutes by car from Fox Glacier.

Flying to Fox Glacier

If you’re travelling from overseas, the closest airport to Fox Glacier is Hokitika (HKK), which is a 1 hour and 45 min drive away. The next closest airports are Queenstown (4.5 hrs) and Christchurch (5.5 hours).

Driving to Fox Glacier

If you’re driving, you can get to Fox Glacier Village on State Highway 6. Below are the average drive times from major destinations on the South Island.

  • Christchurch - 5.5 hours 

  • Queenstown - 4.5 hours

  • Wanaka - 3.5 hours 

  • Greymouth - 2.5 hours

  • Hokitika - 2 hours

  • Haast - 1.5 hours 

  • Franz Josef Glacier Village - 25 minutes 

Catching a train to Fox Glacier

There are no direct trains to Fox Glacier, but you can get close. If you’re coming from Christchurch, you can take a TranzAlpine train to Greymouth and transfer to Fox Glacier with InterCity’s West Coast bus service. Trains depart daily, and the journey takes around 9.5 hours.

Taking a bus to Fox Glacier

You can get to Fox Glacier via bus from Nelson and Queenstown with InterCity’s West Coast service. Just note you might not be able to rely solely on public transport if you want to get to walks, lookouts and nearby attractions.

Can you walk on Fox Glacier?

Fox Glacier is located 6 km from the village. If you’re happy with seeing it from afar, there are heaps of vantage points including Cook Flat Road. However, if you want to get up close and personal, you’ll need to arrange a helicopter or glacier hiking tour. This wasn’t always the case. You used to be able to access the glacier via the valley floor, but it’s no longer safe after a severe flood in 2019.

The good news is you can walk on the glacier, but only with an authorised guide. In fact, you can do way more than just walk on Fox Glacier: you can hike through ice tunnels, peer inside hidden caves and climb up giant ice sculptures, but to do this you’ll need to get there via helicopter.

Want to learn more about Fox Glacier? Return to Fox Glacier FAQs

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