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In the last ice age the glacier extended in a huge ice-sheet to beyond the present coastline.  Although the glacier has long since retreated, it has left reminders of its frozen past such as the glacial formed Lake Matheson in the present landscape.  The terminal face of the glacier is less than 300 metres above sea level and is just one of two in Westland Tai Poutini National Park to be this close to the coastline.

Fox Glacier Valley

Less than 6 kms from Fox Glacier township, the Fox Glacier Valley has a number of walks each affording different spectacular views of the glacier.  At 13 km long, the Fox Glacier (Te Moeka o Tuawe) is one of the longest (13 km) of the many glaciers within Westland Tai Poutini National Park

Lake Matheson

Further out towards the coast, 6 km from Fox Glacier, you can take an easy walk around the glacial formed Lake Matheson which provides beautiful reflections of Aoraki/Mt Cook and Mt Tasman and the forested shore in the still waters of the lake on calm, clear days.

Peak Viewpoint

A drive to Peak Viewpoint 9 kms from Fox Glacier heading towards the coast can provide panoramic views of Fox Glacier Te Moeka o Tuawe neve and the Southern Alps Kā Tiritiri o te Moana. This is outstanding at sunset on a cloudless day.

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Follow the Outdoor Safety Code:
1. Plan your trip
2. Tell someone
3. Be aware of the weather
4. Know your limits
5. Take sufficient supplies

Alerts for West Coast places


Westland Tai Poutini National Park Visitor Centre
Phone:      +64 3 752 0796
Address:   13 State Highway 6
Franz Josef Glacier 7856
Full office details
Franz Josef Glacier Base
Phone:      +64 3 752 0796
Full office details