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Three Must-See Fox Glacier Sights

A 3.5-hour drive from Wanaka, Fox Glacier is a natural continuation of your West Coast travels, either north from Haast or south from Franz Josef. Fox Glacier village is nestled against the bush-covered foothills of Westland National Park, 20 kilometres from the coast. The termination point of the epic 13 kilometre-long Fox Glacier itself is only a short driving distance from the village. Along with Lake Matheson and Gillespies Beach, it forms one of the not-to-be-missed scenic draw cards of the area.

See the Reflection of Mt Cook in Lake Matheson

Lake Matheson was formed during the Fox Glacier’s withdrawal from the sea over 14,000 years ago. Well-signposted and just five minutes from Fox Glacier village, Lake Matheson is a stunner in its own right, but also has a trick up its sleeve – on still days the lake’s surface reflects a perfect mirror image of the majestic Mount Cook and Mount Tasman. It’s the stuff of postcards.

Spot the Seals at Gillespies Beach

The wild and rugged beauty of Westland is embodied by Gillespies Beach, a half-hour drive from Fox Glacier village. Keep in mind half of the drive is on a narrow and unsealed road, so maybe don’t take your Rolls Royce. At the north end of the stoney beach is Waikowhai Bluff, where as many as 1500 seals doing their thing in winter. If you visit in summer, expect fewer seals, but no less ‘wow’ factor.

Witness The Almighty Fox Glacier 

The longest and fastest moving of the famous West Coast glaciers, moving on average 10 times faster than typical valley glaciers. Fox Glacier is around a ten-minute drive from the eponymous village. Even the scenic views from the carpark are impressive, but a short walk up the valley with reveal the termination point of this icy giant that has been shaping the valleyscape for some 18,000 years.

Intrepid travellers and serenity-seeking sightseers alike can get their kicks from the Fox Glacier locale. Due to its location, it’s best to plan your trip with at least a one-night stay in mind. The Heartland Hotel Fox Glacier or Heartland Hotel Glacier Country are  a convenient option, located right in the heart of Fox Glacier village.


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