Fox Glacier

Posted from Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.

Knowing that I’d be in the glacier area for a few days I decided I  wanted to walk on a glacier. There are two glaciers in the arda, Franz Joseph Glacier where I’ve been staying and Fox Glacier about 30 km south.  I research the two and selected Fox since it has fewer people but great reviews. I studied the weather. No day looked perfect but Saturday at noon seemed the best.  I picked a company and booked a heli-hike. When I woke up on Saturday it was raining. I left about 10:30 headed to Fox. The clouds were low, the mountains obscured, it wasn’t looking good. I found the place in Fox and went to check in. The checkin lady explained there complicated refund policy in case of weather saying it was questionable for the noon tour. I said I’d go. At 12:15 they called my group of 22 into an area and said we suit up and go to the airfield for the final call. They gave us big wool socks, heavy boots, rain pants and a rain jacket. It was all very nice. We boarded a bus for the 5 minute drive to the airfield. They divided us into 4 groups, mine was 5 people.  They group weighed us on what looked like a cattle scale (I was with 4 Asians so I skewed the average up).  Suddenly they said were a go and loaded my group of 5 into a helicopter. I was in the front seat next to the pilot (I was co-pilot I guess).     

Quickly we took off and headed up the valley.   

The glacier look amazing.   

We landed on the glacier and unloaded (it was very slick). Another group loaded and departed. They told us to get down on one knee as the helicopter left.   

We were at a flat area before the glacier got steep heading up.   

After all 4 groups had arrived were issued crampons to put on our boots. They made a huge difference.   

We were divided into two groups and assigned a guide. Our group of 11 had a young Kiwi with dreadlocks. We set off onto the glacier. There didn’t appear to be a specific trek we just went where our guide took us. Below are lots of picture of amazing features that we saw as we walked through and climbed on the glacier. 

A tunnel.     

Our group walking down the glacier.   

Standing by (and then stepping over) a crevice.     

Climbing through another ice tunnel. It was a bit narrow and I had to lay flat and slide along.     

We walked down into another larger crevice.       

The we went to an ice cave. One at a time we went in. It was windy and went about 20 feet before getting too small to continue. 


Then we hiked up the glacier. As we went we could hear and see huge rocks falling down the steep sides of the valley, very spooky.         

We made our way back to the landing spot. The helicopter returned and we boarded.    We’d walk on the glacier for about three hours. It was spectacular. 

4 thoughts on “Fox Glacier

  1. Steven,
    I am, well almost, speechless. That looked fantastic. I have just rescinded my austerity travel budget and will include helicopter tours of glaciers at the next opportunity. Crampons, blue ice caves, landslides; it’s geology in action, wow.
    Good on ya, mate.

  2. I guess you know that I am never going to hear the end of this from John (who has never had a helicopter ride). Oh well, I guess we will just have to go back and make up for this huge oversight on my part!

    • Your attention to detail is amazing. There was store in Hokitika named The Possum People. I couldn’t resist.

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