Many of the Fox Glacier motels are perfectly situated for exploring the local area and Lake Matheson Motels is no exception, being just 400 metres from the centre of the township. Fox Glacier motels offer visitors a great base for visiting not only the famous glacier, but for enjoying many of the activities available locally. You'll find some of them described in more depth here.
Should you require any further information about the following activities, or wish us to pre-book for you, please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
A wide variety of companies offer scenic flights near to most Fox Glacier motels - Bookings essential - Our Reception Staff are happy to assist with recommendations and bookings for you.
One of the most popular ways to view the area is from a plane or helicopter as you fly over the farmlands and then into the glacial wonderland of the upper neves. The 13 kilometre long Fox Glacier links with the nearby Franz Josef Glacier at the head, as the snowfields feed from the nearby Alps.
Flights vary widely offering different price, duration and itinerary options which can incorporate a snow landing or a circuit around mighty Mt Cook and its eastern aspects. On a fine day, this is a 'must-do'.
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Operator: Alpine Guides Ph 03 7510825
Guests staying at Fox Glacier motels can enjoy amazing alpine experiences and an education in the forces of nature, which have sculptured the dramatic landscape of South Westland. Guided trips to the glacier in some form are a must and various options depart daily from the Alpine Guides headquarters in the main street of Fox Glacier. Equipment required (boots, crampons, wet weather gear) is supplied at no cost on guided trips. All guided options require pre-booking and our staff are happy to arrange this for you. The various glacier walks are as follows:
Half Day Fox Glacier Walk
Crunch across the frozen surface of the 13 kilometre long Fox Glacier in the company of an experienced guide. With 2 departures daily, regardless of season (9.30 am & 2.00 pm) you join a group for the 3.5 - 4 hour round trip. A short bus ride takes you to the carpark and then a brisk 45 minute walk on a well formed track provides access onto the glacier itself.
Fox Glacier Full Day Walk
If you want to truly experience a full glacier experience, then a full day hike will provide it. This trip spends a full day on the ice allowing you and your party to discover ice caves and streams with a trained guide to fully interpret the experience.
Fox Glacier Helihike
Want the thrill of a helicopter ride as well as the chance to experience your own remote section of the glacier? A short exhilarating helicopter ride deposits you and your guide onto a remote area of the glacier, away from other groups allowing you a 3.5 - 4 hour glacial experience which doesn't rely on undue fitness, although some agility is required. The helicopter trip back provides an awesome vista of the glacier as it grinds seaward. Highly recommended.
Fox Glacier Terminal Walk
For those limited on time, there is the opportunity to take a short walk to the terminal face of the glacier. This can be achieved as part of a small guided group or very easily under your own steam. This trip takes approx 1 hr return.
Alpine Guides also offer specialized activities such as Ice Climbing. Talk to the Alpine Guides direct for these activities.
Mini Map available from office/Detailed maps from Dept of Conservation Office.
This is a MUST-SEE! Lake Matheson is a kettle lake formed by the decaying glacier as it retreated back to the existing valley. A West Coast icon, Lake Matheson provides amazing late afternoon reflections, early morning sunrises and spectacular sunsets. Ask reception for sunset-time and aim to be standing on one of the various viewing points to see the snow of the Southern Alps with Mt Cook and Tasman bathed in orange light. A boardwalk weaves through massive rimu, kahikatea and kiromiko trees surrounding the old glacial remnant providing tantalizing views of the Alps above. A photographers dream.
Whatever the time of day, the 90 minute walk around the lakeside is something special. From the carpark (6 kms from Fox Glacier village), the track is well formed and easy to follow.
This is a remote West Coast beach steeped in goldrush ghosts and history. Drive to the roads end (24 kilometres) on Cook Flat road and walk through the sand dunes to the black ironsands of Gillespies Beach, where the goldrush began. It is a 40 minute walk from the carpark to the lagoon on Gillespie's Point while an old gold miners track takes you around the point to a seal colony.
This track is a short 20 minute circular walk taking you through native bush, criss-crossing over a small gurgling stream (watch for small brown trout) and under some beautiful old rimu, kahikatea and rata trees. The track begins just past the Fox Glacier petrol station on your left, if going South.
This is a fascinating 30 minute return walk along the trail the glacier has followed. Spot the massive rock left in the path of the Glacier and imagine the track free of growth to get a real sense of the awesome power of ice. Access this track up the South Side Rd.
Chalet Lookout Walk
Highly recommended. Fantastically different perspective of the Glacier. This track once provided local guides with direct access to the Glacier, which illustrates the dramatic movement of the blue ice over the years. River crossings mean best not to attempt shortly after rain. Check with D.O.C. for safety first. Duration 2 hours return. Access from the South Side Rd.
Check with Dept of Conservation for a variety of other walks such as the challenging Mt Fox walk which takes you up to approx. 4000 feet high giving you spectacular views of the Glacier and Coastline.