9 the reason why it is by no means been a greater time to go to Fox Glacier

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Folks all the time ask me what my favourite place on the planet to journey to is, and I all the time give completely different solutions. I play quick and free with the time period “favourite,” if I’m being sincere right here. I’ve a whole lot of favorites. So may you cease asking me to decide on? 

However in relation to New Zealand, the wild West Coast of the South Island will all the time have my coronary heart. Right here you’ve gotten unbelievable coastlines, big mountains, historical forests, bizarre birds, and no folks. It’s all the things I’ve ever wished! I’m positive it’s the place I’ll find yourself residing sooner or later. 

A 3-hour drive north of Wanaka will convey you to Fox Glacier, my-go to West Coast spot. Glacier County is essentially the most dynamic and spectacular stretch of the west coast. Right here you’ve gotten two of essentially the most uncommon glaciers on the planet, Fox and Franz Josef, which stretch down from the again of mighty Aoraki/Mt. Cook dinner to the temperate rainforest beneath. Two stunning rivers of ice, these glaciers are simply unbelievable.

House to the bigger city of Franz Josef and the smaller city of Fox, I all the time keep in Fox as a result of it has a extra relaxed, native really feel, with a whole lot of issues to do close by. I’m additionally good pals with many wonderful locals right here, who’ve all the time sorted me. Even after my breakup, I got here right here for a number of weeks to get well. Fox heals.

visit Fox Glacier

visit Fox Glacier

visit Fox Glacier

From Ōkārito to Fox Glacier might be among the best stretches of coast I’ve ever come throughout. It’s uncommon to see big mountains so near the ocean. 

Additionally, I don’t find out about you guys, however even after ten years in New Zealand, I LOVE it when kiwis say the phrase “glacier.” It sounds so posh to us yanks. Glas-ee-uh. Like “classier” however with a “g” and, nicely, with much more class too.

Certain, I might need gone full native with my flippant use of phrases like “bin” and “garbage.” Now I bandy about phrases like “storage” and “Nissan” like a real South Islander, and I say “wee” means too typically. However even I, with all my bravado, have but to say “glacier” like a neighborhood, regardless that I spend a great period of time on glaciers. I simply don’t suppose I can pull it off.

I’m so proud that you simply’ve adopted this unbelievable stream-of-consciousness caption. Thanks. And if you end up in New Zealand, be sure to go to certainly one of our 3,000 quickly-dwindling “GLAS-EE-UHS,” particularly Fox Glacier, which is each my favourite and most simply accessible over on the west coast. Over and out MAH DAH-LINGS. (I swear I’m carried out being posh now); somebody cease me.

To go to Fox Glacier whereas in your subsequent New Zealand journey is assured to please and shock. Listed below are my must-do’s for an journey right here. 

visit Fox Glacier

visit Fox Glacier

visit Fox Glacier

1. Go for a heli-hike on Fox Glacier

It’s no secret – I’ve been a fan of Fox Glacier just about since I moved to Wanaka. Peaceable but serene, the city of Fox sits between the unbelievable Fox Glacier/Te Moeka o Tuawe and the Tasman Sea. 

Right here you’ve gotten certainly one of New Zealand’s most spectacular glaciers as one of the crucial simply accessed glaciers on the planet, which descends 13 kilometers right down to 300 meters above sea degree. Way back to the 1890’s Fox Glacier has been highlighted as a significant vacationer attraction, with the primary guided glacier journeys starting in 1928. 

These days, we primarily entry the glacier by helicopter (glaciers transfer lots making their entry difficult). Fox Glacier Guides is among the OG tourism companies on the South Island; their iconic heli-hikes on Fox Glacier are certainly one of my must-dos on any journey to New Zealand. No expertise is required, and so they give you all of the gear you want. 

Simply the helicopter flight as much as the glacier is price it by itself. Then you definitely spend a number of hours exploring the ice with a information, testing caves, views, tunnels, and crevasses. It’s so unbelievable; the place else on the planet are you able to do that? Go to Fox Glacier for an unforgettable journey.

visit Fox Glacier

visit Fox Glacier

visit Fox Glacier

visit Fox Glacier

visit Fox Glacier

visit Fox Glacier

2. Go to Lake Matheson at dawn

Stillness and serenity are two issues I’m all the time looking for in our busy world, but so typically past my attain. Besides, in fact, once I’m on New Zealand’s West Coast, the place yow will discover each in abundance.

I have a look at the photographs from Lake Matheson and am instantly transported again to this stunning place. I can scent the damp earthy air, really feel the nippiness creep by my garments, and listen to the quiet birdsong because the day begins. Completely nonetheless and peaceable, I’ve this wildly well-liked place all to myself.

On a transparent, nonetheless day, you get uninterrupted views of Aoraki / Mt. Cook dinner, New Zealand’s tallest mountain, reflecting within the lake. To go to Fox Glacier and skip this simple stroll can be remiss.

visit Fox Glacier

visit Fox Glacier

visit Fox Glacier

3. Seek for the uncommon kōtuku/white heron in Ōkārito

An iconic seashore and lagoon, Ōkārito is New Zealand’s largest unmodified wetland and residential to some excellent uncommon birds. 45 minutes from Fox Glacier, Ōkārito was as soon as a bustling port city. Now it’s residence to principally birds, together with the uncommon kōtuku/white heron.

In case you love wildlife, it’s essential be certain to enroll in a morning journey to the well-known lagoon with Okarito Eco Boat Tours. It’s one of the simplest ways to expertise the wetlands and their unbelievable nature. Over 3,000 hectares, Ōkārito is among the greatest wetlands you’ll be able to go to in New Zealand. You see a lot on the water, from birds that dwell and feed in recent and saltwater environments to wading birds and among the rarest creatures within the nation.

The kōtuku was virtually hunted to extinction, with solely 4 nests left by 1941. Thought-about considerably secure, there are actually round 100 to 120 birds left. 

visit Fox Glacier

visit Fox Glacier

visit Fox Glacier

4. Keep on the Rainforest Motel and dine at Betsey Jane

The whole lot about Fox Glacier makes you are feeling welcome. Very a lot a small city with a homey vibe, Fox has loads of spots to hold up your boots and sit back with pals. 

My go-to lodging is the Rainforest Motel, owned by a neighborhood household who’s fantastic. Cozy and with all the things you want, you’ll be able to stroll all over the place from right here. Betsey Jane is a brand new restaurant close by the place I all the time find yourself for dinner. 

visit Fox Glacier

visit Fox Glacier

visit Fox Glacier

visit Fox Glacier

5. Watch the sundown on Gillespies Seaside

It’s exhausting to think about that 150 years in the past, throughout the Gold Rush, Gillespies Seaside was residence to eleven shops. These days, it’s an extended, black sand seashore residence to some seals.

Twenty kilometers west down a gravel highway leads you to Gillespies Seaside. The proper place to look at the sundown, it’s certainly one of my fave spots to go for a wander once I’m in Fox. Even in winter, it’s wonderful to go to Fox Glacier

Whilst you can’t see a lot of Fox Glacier itself from the middle of city, the additional you drive out of city in direction of Lake Matheson and Gillespies Seaside, the higher views you get of the Southern Alps. 

visit Fox Glacier

visit Fox Glacier

visit Fox Glacier

6. Maintain a watch out for kea

I’ll by no means not love the kea – New Zealand’s naughtiest chook. 

Our uncommon alpine parrot, the kea normally are solely discovered up within the mountains and at greater elevations. Nevertheless, Fox Glacier is among the solely cities the place kea descend to. Chaos normally ensues. In Fox, locals have realized to lock their garbage bins and retailer issues away from the place kea can destroy them. Hunted close to to extinction a century in the past due to their damaging nature, their inhabitants is barely beginning to develop again. 

Normally, company on the heli-hikes will see kea flying across the glaciers, sometimes even touchdown on the ice. Lovely but cheeky, be certain your backpacks are zipped, and your issues are hidden away when kea are about. I’ve seen them throw tramping boots off a cliff. Don’t feed them.

visit Fox Glacier

visit Fox Glacier

visit Fox Glacier

visit Fox Glacier

7. Discover the traditional rainforest round Fox Glacier

Fox Glacier sits inside the Westland Tai Poutini Nationwide Park. Protecting 1,320 sq. kilometers, it’s certainly one of my favourite nationwide parks in New Zealand. Extra than simply huge mountains and exquisite glaciers, the park encompasses a few of New Zealand’s final preserved native temperate rainforest. 

One walks into the bush in Fox will make you are feeling such as you stepped proper into Jurassic Park. 

The valley round Fox Glacier is wonderful, residence to historical podocarp rainforest. You’ll be able to stroll up the south side of the valley to get a glimpse of the glacier in addition to New Zealand’s largest lively landslide, Alpine Gardens, which has destroyed the outdated north aspect highway, and stroll to the glacier face. It’s a great reminder of how lively nature will be and the way little we are able to management it.

You can even go up on a guided e-bike and hike trip with Fox Glacier Guides to get the complete scoop on the realm, testing secret spots.

visit Fox Glacier

visit Fox Glacier

visit Fox Glacier

visit Fox Glacier

8. Go to the kiwi sanctuary in Franz Josef

The rowi and the Haast tokoeka are the 2 most endangered kiwi on the planet; with lower than 600 of every chook remaining, you’ll be able to solely discover them on this one nook of the West Coast. Rowi are solely discovered round Ōkārito, whereas the tokoeka kiwi are discovered solely round Haast.

The West Coast Wildlife Center runs in collaboration with DOC, and you’ll go to and see a few of these kiwi up shut and private on the middle or on certainly one of their backstage excursions. The most important kiwi hatching facility on the South Island, they work on conservation round these uncommon kiwi. 

Within the wild, due to predation, these kiwi are extremely weak, with 9 out of 10 chicks not surviving. Conservation staff take away the kiwi eggs from the wild and produce them again to the middle. Right here they hatch safely and are then raised earlier than being launched again to the place they have been discovered as soon as they’re huge and robust sufficient to defend themselves. 

visit Fox Glacier

visit Fox Glacier

visit Fox Glacier

9. Carve your personal pounamu 

Everybody I’ve met on the coast over time has been wonderful, and Jan is not any exception. I’ve identified her for a very long time, from her days in Franz Josef. Now she runs her personal studio, Te Koha, simply out of city, the place you’ll be able to carve your personal pounamu/greenstone. I’ve made many pounamu necklaces right here with Jan over time, most of which I’ve gifted to family members. Whereas most individuals select to carve the enduring inexperienced pounamu, I have a tendency to decide on the gorgeous aotea stone, which is usually a phenomenal shade of blue. ‘

Present in colours starting from cloudy mild inexperienced to deep emerald with completely different markings, pounamu was thought of so important by Māori that the South Island was named after it, Te-Wai-Pounamu that means “the waters of greenstone.” It’s treasured by Māori as a result of it’s robust and exquisite. It’s additionally an indication of energy or standing, in addition to being thought of sacred.

Of all of the actions within the space, carving pounamu with Jan is usually everybody’s favourite expertise. It’s a phenomenal solution to convey again a bit of New Zealand residence with you. 

It’s by no means been a greater time to go to Fox Glacier. Have you ever been right here earlier than? Is that this the sort of place you’d go to? Share! 

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visit Fox Glacier

visit Fox Glacier

Many because of West Coast Growth for internet hosting me in Fox Glacier. Like all the time, I’m conserving it actual. All opinions are my very own, like you possibly can count on much less from me!