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
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.
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.