Fox Glacier / Te Ara o Tuawe Valley Walk

Image: Miles Holden | ©


Get spectacular views of Fox Glacier/Te Moeke o Tuawe on one of our best short walks. It's suitable for children - and they can earn a Kiwi Guardians medal too!


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Fitness required: Most fitnesses
Gradient: Gradual incline

Track overview

2.6 km return via same track

Walking and tramping

1 hr return Easiest: Short walk

Dog access

No dogs

About this track


After walking for a few minutes, the first view of the glacier will appear. Follow the track down past the landslip zone – do not stop in this area. The track continues towards the glacier and crosses several small creeks. The final section of track to the safety barriers includes a short climb up to the viewing area. The walk leads you to within about 500 m of the glacier terminal face.

Viewing the glaciers is an exciting experience, but it can also be dangerous. The glacier is constantly moving. Ice and rock fall from the terminal face without warning. Observe all signs and stay behind barriers to have a safe and enjoyable visit.

Getting there

To reach the glacier car park, drive south for 2 km from Fox Glacier township on SH6. Turn left immediately before the Fox River bridge and continue to the end of the road, where the track starts.

History and culture

The glacier holds added significance for local Māori as it is the moeka (final resting place) of their ancestor Tuawe.

Know before you go

What to expect
  • Glacier access: The access road and tracks can be closed due to rock falls or flooded rivers. Glacier viewpoints may be hundreds of metres from the face of the glacier. View daily glacier access update on Glacier Country website.
  • Track surface: Walking to the glacier is over rough and uneven ground and can involve crossing streams.
  • Change in elevation: +/- 32 m
  • Rapidly changing weather: This walk is in an alpine region.
  • Icefall: Rocks and ice fall from the terminal face continuously with some pieces twice the size of a campervan! Never go over the barrier and stand close to the glacier face.
  • River surges: Glacial rivers can be dammed by ice falls and the dam could burst creating a huge surge of water and ice which floods the valley.
  • Rock fall: Heavy rain can destabilise steep valley walls, causing rock fall – do not stop in marked rock fall areas.
  • Flooding: Downpours can create flooding within minutes – follow the marked track, obey all signs and never cross barriers
  • Toilets beside the car park.
Be prepared

Ensure you take:

  • layered warm and waterproof clothing
  • sturdy footwear.

In the area

For information on transport, accommodation, activities, and attractions in the West Coast region, refer to


Westland Tai Poutini National Park Visitor Centre
Phone:   +64 3 752 0360
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Address:   69 Cron Street
Franz Josef Glacier 7856
Postal Address:   PO Box 14
Franz Josef Glacier 7856
Hokitika Office
Phone:   +64 3 756 9100
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Address:   10 Sewell Street
Hokitika 7810
Postal Address:   Private Bag 701
Hokitika 7842
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