Walking on Fox Glacier, we were enchanted by the wide open space. It’s an odd feeling, endless yet comforting. Both Franz Josef and Fox glaciers are amongst the many spectacular and unique things to see on the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island.
We took a Fox Glacier helicopter tour. Our options included a flight or the addition of landing and walking on Fox Glacier. The flight itself is amazing. The expanse of the surrounding peaks, the blue ice of the glacier, and its massive size all captivating on their own. But the best choice we made was opting to land, and then walking on Fox Glacier.
Fox Glacier Helicopter Tour and Other Options
We were lucky that our schedule was flexible when we arrived without pre-booking a flight. While there were no flights on the day, we were able to find a place to spend the night (using booking.com) and fly in the morning. If your schedule is fixed, or you want to be sure not to miss out, we recommend booking your Fox or Franz Josef helicopter tour in advance.
|Heli Hike Fox Glacier||Fly-in, fly-out Fox Glacier Heli hike
All gear and clothing included
|Mount Cook Ultimate Alpine Skiplane and Heli Experience||Views from above in a ski plane and helicopter
Land on the Tasman Glacier
Views of the Tasman Terminal Lake, Grand Plateau, and Plateau Hut
|Twin Glacier Helicopter Flight departing Fox Glacier||Expert alpine pilot /guide
Flight over the twin glaciers of Franz Josef and Fox Glacier
Snow landing at the head of either one
|Fox Glacier and Mount Cook Helicopter Flight||Flight to Fox Glacier
Land in the snow at the summit
An aerial tour of the Southern Alps with views of Mt Cook (Aoraki)
Walking on Fox Glacier
The photos don’t do it justice as it is difficult to capture the vastness, incredible beauty and complete quiet.
Views from our Fox Glacier Helicopter Tour
Back up in the air, we saw more of the glaciers as we flew back to base.
Franz Josef and Fox Glacier Facts:
- Click here to see the Fox Glacier webcam.
- A glacier is a river of ice that is slowly moving downhill. It is formed by the accumulation and compaction of snow on mountains or near the poles. The ice-flow in parts of Fox Glacier moves at up to 3 meters per day.
- Fox Glacier is located in the Westland Tai Poutini National Park. It is just outside of the Te Wahipounamu park, a nearby UNESCO World Heritage site.
- Fox Glacier is fed by four alpine glaciers, overflows into the Fox River and travels into lush rainforest. It ends only 300 meters from the sea.
- Amongst the 3000+ glaciers in New Zealand, Franz Josef is one of the few that is still growing.
- Franz Josef Glacier is 12 km long and descends from the Southern Alps to 19 km from the Tasman Sea.
- Franz Josef Glacier got its name from Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria. Fox Glacier is named for former NZ Prime Minister Sir William Fox who visited in 1872.
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More on New Zealand’s South Island
We visited here as part of our driving adventure along the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island. While in the air we also saw Mount Cook, New Zealand’s tallest mountain. These two glaciers lie north of the swamp forest at Ship Creek and Monro Beach (where we saw the Fiordland Crested Penguins), and south of the Hokitika gorge.