Welcome to Fox Glacier

Fox Glacier is a wonderful place to live, work and play, whether you’re here for a short time or a lifetime.

Our friendly community consists of approximately 300 people year round, with many seasonal workers joining us in the summer season. During this time our population can swell to about 500.


The original settlers of Fox Glacier made their way into the valley from Gillespie’s Beach when the black sands there could no longer yield profitable gold leads. Before grazing could be established, the river flats had to be cleared of dense rainforest. Now the valley’s vibrant green pastures support some of New Zealand’s best beef stock.

Tourism began in the late 1920’s when Fox Glacier Hostel was built by the Sullivan family to accommodate people who wanted to experience the incredible Fox Glacier and enjoy the awe inspiring scenery this area has to offer, including the beautiful Lake Matheson, the breathtaking views of Mt Cook, Mt Tasman of the Southern Alps and the isolated wilderness of Gillespie’s Beach. By the mid 1980’s, tourism had grown to be the town’s biggest employer. There are now over 200 jobs in the tourism industry, approximately 20 accommodation providers, 9 eating establishments and 4 public bars. There are 6 activity based businesses, 2 gift shops, a general store and a garage, a DOC centre and a primary school.

Fox Glacier Time Lapse

Fox Glacier’s spectacular retreat
from Brian Anderson / Creative Commons License:

In a series of ice collapses, Fox Glacier retreated by around 300 m between January 2014 and January 2015. As the glacier has thinned over the last few years it has destabilised the side of the valley and you can watch the hillside collapse day by day. Before the first collapse you can see guided groups walking on tracks on the ice, and the whole time people watch from a safe view point (bottom right). This timelapse video is made from (mostly) daily images of the glacier.

These images were taken by Victoria University of Wellington with the support of Fox Glacier Guides, Department of Conservation, Snowgrass Solutions, University of Canterbury and the Marsden Fund.

Driving Times & Road Conditions

From Fox Glacier to: Approximate Driving time: Distance (Km)
Gillespie’s Beach 25 Minutes 21
Franz Josef 30 Minutes 23.3
Hokitika 2 Hours, 14 Minutes 157
Greymouth 2 Hours, 51 Minutes 198
Christchurch 6 Hours 410
Bruce Bay 40 Minutes 46.7
Haast 2 Hours 121
Wanaka 4 Hours, 24 Minutes 262
Queenstown 5 Hours 32 Minutes 327

Please note driving times are approximate and allow for rest stops, driving conditions, etc.

For more driving times, visit the AA Traveller Website.

For Current road conditions visit the NZTA Website.

Town Map

View or download the Fox Glacier and Franz Josef town map.


View conditions in the Fox Glacier valley today.