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Fox Glacier (and a look back to 1995)

Summer 12/13 roadie, day 3, part 1

The day dawned wet and grey. Damn. But the rain wasn’t by any means beating down on the roof so Operation Fox was still on.

Glacier Country is a compulsory stop on any trip down the West Coast. Many people ‘do’ both glaciers but we just did a drive by of Franz yesterday with the intention of making a bit more of an effort with Fox today.

Not much would be happening without coffee though so upon checking out we went to see what was open in town. It was only around 7.30am but when we walked into the cafe adjoining the main glacier tour booking office the place was pumping. The many different kinds of tour were in hot demand and the evening before we overheard that everything was fully booked for that day including $400/seat heli tours. Maybe the weather had scuttled those though.

Anyhow, no problem for us as we were doing the budget version: walk as far as we could without a guide. I did this once before, almost 18 years ago, and I was really interested to see how much had changed since then. My memory from then was not crystal clear and I didn’t locate my photos before the trip but they did materialise in time for this post.

One flat white and one soy mocha acquired, we drove the few k’s to the carpark.

We checked the Dept of Conservation information boards

We checked the Dept of Conservation information boards

Fox Glacier

Off we go…

Fox Glacier valley

A long time ago the glacier flowed through here. To appreciate the size of those cliffs, look at the little human ants on the river bed

Rocks, Fox Glacier

Moss, Fox Glacier

Fox Glacier


Fox Glacier

Flower, Fox Glacier

Flowers, Fox Glacier

Glacial ice in the Fox River

This was as far as we could go on our own - you need a guide to further

This was as far as we could go on our own – you need a guide to further


And now for the flashback…

Fox Glacier 1995

Me in front of Fox Glacier in 1995. Compare the vegetation line here with the previous photos to get a feel for how the glacier has receded over the last 18 years

Fox Glacier 1995

You could get pretty close back in 1995. A few incidents and a couple of deaths put paid to that

Drizzing rain returned for the 20ish minute walk back, where we found this guy darting about the carpark.

Kea, Fox Glacier

A kea, the world’s only alpine parrot and renowned for their intelligence and curiosity

Happy with that expedition, we rejoined the highway and continued south.

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