This area of the west coast is famous for its magnificent glaciers nestled in the snow-capped mountains. Fox Glacier, the most accessible glacier in the region, offers guided tours that allow you to explore the active glacier on full or half day explorations.

Ready to hike Fox Glacier!

Fitted with snow gear and cramp-ons, we headed up the mountain towards the large receding glacier for our full day hike. With a beautiful blue sky, sunny day, we couldn’t have asked for more perfect weather. Our guide Andy, an Irishman and experienced mountaineer, guided us along the glacier, cracking jokes and telling stories as he ice picked a path for us across the glacier.

Our guide Andy cutting us some ice steps 

Since the glacier is constantly changing, different aspects of the glacier are created that offer a unique tour each day. We were able to explore a number of crevasses which are cracks that develop along the fracture zone, creating an open top tunnel to walk through.

Enjoying the beautiful day exploring the glacier 

As we explored a couple small ice caves, the sun shone through creating a beautiful blue hue to the ice. It was absolutely beautiful. Despite walking on a giant sheet of ice, it was surprising how easy it was to walk with the cramp-ons and how effective they are at digging into the ice.

Exploring the ice caves on the glacier 

After a quick lunch on the rocks a top the glacier, we made our way towards the ice wall. Huge cracks and crevices are formed along the wall creating a beautiful view of the giant glacier. Andy created a walkway up inside one of the large crevasses – it was spectacular!

Inside the glacier wall caves 

After about 5 hours exploring the glacier, we made our way back to dry ground, stopping along the way to see the many beautiful waterfalls cascading into the glacier.

Beautiful mountain waterfall in the distance 

Jordan even got to catch a glacier ice way along the way!

Riding the glacier wave 

After a long day in the sun, we made our way down to the Gillespies Beach, a DOC campsite situated right on the Tasman sea. On our way, wild sheep (or what looked to be) lined the sides of the roads, with a few babies tagging behind!

I can’t get enough of the baby lambs

As we walked up the beach, the waves crashed on the shore as the wind blew in. We carefully touched our toes in the Tasman sea trying not to get sucked in.

Tasman Sea 

Just before sunset, the low hanging clouds parted, offering a spectacular view of Mount Cook – the tallest mountain in New Zealand. A perfect backdrop to our cozy beach side campsite.

Mount Cook in the distance 

NOTE: Fox Glacier now only offers heli hiking experiences on Fox Glacer

Check out Episode 14 – Fox Glacier