Paying a visit to the “Glacier Country” ...
... along the Western Coast of the South Island forms a highlight of your New Zealand vacation. The Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier are two of the biggest glaciers here that snake down from the tallest peaks in the country to a mere few hundred meters above sea level. Much of this vertical drop takes place at a visible level with the terminal faces being surrounded by rainforests and enjoying a location that is very close to the coastline bay of islands.
Out of the two small Glacier Country towns, both of which have been named in regards of the corresponding glaciers, Franz Josef has witnessed the considerably greater amount of development, and you will find some hostels and hotels lined up over here. Fox Glacier is a quieter ally, a small one-street town that features a good kiwi vibe and excellent tasty food. Regarding the better of the two New Zealand vacation spots to stay in it is the latter that gets the vote.
Things to do in New Zealand vacation spots – Fox Glacier
Fox Glacier hiking trails
For the best views of the Fox Glacier, you don’t need to shell out big bucks. The area is home to various free and excellent hiking trails such as the Fox Glacier Valley Walk and Chalet Lookout Track running for 2.6km and 3.6km on the return trail respectively. Both of them have lookouts over the surrounding valley and lower glacial section. If you are visiting this New Zealand vacation spot on a clear day, your hike up the Mount Fox will end with a panorama of the South Island that you are unlikely to forget every – Mt. Cook, Mt. Tasman, and the Fox Glacier, all in one frame!
Guided Glacier walks
Not many glaciers of such a magnitude are accessible with such ease in other places of the world. Fox Glacier stands a mere 4kms from the center of town, and there are a number of daily tours that are run on to the ice. The half-day tour makes for the best option and allows up to 2 hours of time on the ice. If you are taking full day tours, then you can go considerably farther up on the glacial platform. Heli-hiking is another option where you will be taken on a scenic flight to unique vantage points situated higher up on the glacier. The Chancellor Dome heli-trek forms the cherry on the top of New Zealand vacation spots offering an overnight stay at the historic Chancellor Hut.
There is many an iconic image where the Southern Alps and Fox Glacier is reflected over a body of pristine water – this water body is Lake Matheson. Situated 5km to the west of town, the lake had its formation approximately 14000 years ago at the time of retreat of the Fox Glacier. This left behind a huge depression that eventually got filled up with fresh water.
There is an easy walking trail of 3.6km that will take you around the lake and provide excellent views of the Glacier Country along with a perspective that is set far apart from the glacier tours that usually look at things from up-close. This New Zealand vacation spots is also home to the popular Matheson Café.
Take a further 20-minute drive down from Lake Matheson, and you will come up to a place called Gillespies Beach, a gold mining settlement of historic significance. This bay of islands offers numerous enjoyable walks with the most popular option being a four-hour return trip to a fur seals colony.
Take a cruise to the bay of islands or go kayaking to the lagoons
Some of the most scenic rivers and lakes of New Zealand can be found in this region thanks to a rugged coastline. Getting a view of the world from the waters is a unique experience, and nothing compares favorably to the same. Lake Mapourika is one place that offers this experience characterized by its virgin beauty and a view of the Glacier Franz Joseph. If you are thinking about cruising or kayaking this is an ideal place to be in. The Okarito Lagoon is another place for you to explore either in a kayak or a cruise. This is the largest unmodified wetland in the country and one of the best New Zealand vacation spots.
The immediate surroundings of Fox Glacier along with this glacier itself is home to some heart-thumping action and offers some interesting ways in which to see the glaciers if you are a fan of adventure and action.
Whether you are interested in getting a good view of the amazing scenery and an elevated heartbeat with a skydive, trek on a horse, get all down and dirty on buggies and quads. Or just give yourself an adrenaline shot with jet boat adventures. This is one of the few New Zealand vacation spots that offer something for everyone similar to the Bay of islands.
If you are concerned about accommodation to come and stay at Te Koha Lodge for a memorable stay. We will also help you with all your travel plans and arrangements, so you get the very best experience of a New Zealand vacation spots. Get in touch with us today to know more and experience the thrill and beauty of Bay of Island to Fox glacier village and explore more of New Zealand vacation spots.
by Wayne Charles Olsen, Manager & Chef @tekohalodge.com