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“About as much fun as one can have with his pants on”

Fox Glacier Guiding
Ranked #1 of 16 things to do in Fox Glacier
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: It's our privilege to guide you on the West Coast's largest and less crowded glacier. It is one of New Zealand's truly natural wonders. Whether you are walking, heli-hiking or ice-climbing with us in this incredible environment, we can promise you a memory you'll cherish. We have a long guiding history on the glacier (guided walks first started in 1928). Those years of accumulated knowledge and experience mean weare able to guide you with complete confidence. You can rest assured we take your safety and comfort very seriously. Come and enjoy our friendly West Coast hospitality, experience the mighty Fox Glacier with us and create a lifetime memory. We have glacier trips suitable for most fitness levels and ages including children from 9 yrs. Our informative Glacier Terminal Face walk is suitable for children from 5 yrs or for those who would find the walks onto the glacier too strenuous.
Useful Information: Activities for older children
San Antonio, Texas
Level 5 Contributor
10 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“About as much fun as one can have with his pants on”
Reviewed November 16, 2012

Booked the Nimble Fox all day tour, and it was stunning. We took the ride up to the parking lot, learning some of the history of the glacier and the hotel that first began offering guided trips up the glacier (they were free, but if I remember correctly, you had to spend a week at the hotel!). Upon arrival our bus split into two separate groups (each with two guides), so I randomly picked the line on the left. When I met our guide Brian and he said he was from Red Lodge, Montana (USA), I instantly knew it was going to be an amazing trip. For anyone who has never been, the Beartooth Mountains between Cooke City, MT and Red Lodge, MT are about as spectacular a hiking area as you'll ever find in the USA (plus it's pretty empty since the crowds are all drawn to the nearby Yellowstone). We talked about hiking in Montana and he told me I needed to check Sundance Pass when I told him I planned on returning to the Beartooths to do a few days of backpacking.

Our second guide, Scott (a native Kiwi), was awesome to talk to also. He was a great resource for hiking information for the South Island and had some good beer recommendations too (I love trying beers in new places). Both Scott and Brian were extremely knowledgeable about the area and pointed out to us how the glacier has changed over the years, where some of the earlier tracks were, the first hut, etc.

The trip started off with a really beautiful rainforest hike that could get a little steep in parts, but was still reasonably easy (there was never any kind of rush, as the pace was pretty relaxed and enjoyable). Some nice streams and lots of great ferns all over the place. I mean, how cool is it to walk through a rain forest to get to an enormous glacier?

After a while we exited the forest and just had a jaw-dropping view of the glacier, from the lower sections up to the upper ice falls, with a couple of beautiful peaks in the background and looking out to the steep walls that the glacier reached up less than 100 years ago. I do have to say the trekking poles aren't very useful (don't know why I grabbed one; I hate using them when I hike), so I won't take one next time. The lower section of the glacier was some great walking and it was so amazing to finally be on this great river of ice. It just blew my mind when I would slide some of the surface slush off and then see I was standing on this giant 80 meter thick ice cube. I barely even touched the water in my camelbak, since I could just constantly scoop pure water out of crevasses and from streams all over the ice. Just amazing seeing the blue ice down crevasses and in caves.

We came to a rockfall area and stopped for lunch, since we were a few hours in and since it was a dry place to sit down with a great view of the bottom of the ice falls. After lunch is when the trip really got amazing, as we entered the ice falls. Just spectacular views walking inside crevasses and up and down slopes as Brian did all the hard work cutting our path with a pickaxe. Brian found lots of interesting features such as crevasses, caves, moulins to show us and gave us all a helping hand when we got to places where we needed to make small hops.

Overall Brian did a great job keeping us in interesting yet safe areas; there has got to be a thousand places you could get yourself killed on this glacier if you don't know your way around. There was never a time when I felt worried about slipping into a crevasse, though my sunglasses weren't so fortunate (probably not a good idea to clip them to the neck of one's fleece when climbing down something, haha).

We climbed to a really beautiful high viewpoint in the ice falls at Scott's suggestion; just amazing views of blue/white ice stalagmite-looking formations all over. Then Brian took us to an ice cave, setting a line for us to climb up (there was also an amazing view up the rest of the crevasse we were hiking up here). Both Brian and Scott did a great job ensuring we went up only 1 or 2 at a time so that there was no danger of injury due to crowding.

The trip ended with a great hike down to the lower section of the glacier and then the nice level track between the moraine and the parking area. Overall I have to give the glacier an A+ grade and both guides, Brian and Scott, A+'s also. The Nimble Fox offered by Fox Glacier Guides is easily the best outdoor tour I have ever taken, and there is no way I would do a trip like this solo (just seems like it would be certain suicide doing a solo trip on such a huge and unfamiliar glacier). I will definitely have to return to do the ice climbing tour or perhaps an overnight trip, as I was really impressed by the company and by every employee I talked to (sadly, I missed out on meeting Tex, who EVERYONE told me about when I mentioned I was from Texas, haha).

I think I must have gotten at least 5 1/2 hours of ice time, and every second was great. It looked like everyone else had an amazing time too; no one looked like they were having trouble keeping up nor did anyone seem to think the trip was too slow either. Seems like it would be a difficult balance to strike, but everyone in the group seemed really satisfied.

Visited November 2012
4 Thank spurs f
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Level 6 Contributor
104 reviews
37 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 110 helpful votes
“great view”
Reviewed November 16, 2012

We haven´t got chance to go for a half day tour, but at least managed to get close to glacier on our own. We run out of time so we decide to walk to the nearest point to the glacier (200 m) and got really amazing views. It took us app. 60 min. walking from the parking place to the glacier and back. In comparison with Franz Josef Glacier is easily accessible and even more cheaper to get guided tour. (Franz-Josef is accessible by helicopter -landing on glacier so the price is really high). So if you are running on tight budget, definitely Fox Glacier .

Visited November 2012
3 Thank felllicita
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Burlington, Vermont
Level 5 Contributor
55 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Amazing experience”
Reviewed November 13, 2012

We did the half-day hike and had a great time. The weather was perfect--sunny and no rain. The guide, Sarah, was very informative about the history of the glacier and its cycle of growing and retreating. She made a point of talking to all the people in the tour. We unhesitatingly recommend this tour company!

Visited October 2012
Thank Pamela H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Great guides, awesome experience.”
Reviewed November 12, 2012 via mobile

We did the half day glacier walk with Scott and Loui. The glacier was awesome. Both guides did a really good job making sure everyone was safe, and they also kept it fun.

The only downside was that it was over so quickly! Would probably do the full day hike next time (on that note, the boots they give you are really comfortable).

Thank Luis M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 5 Contributor
58 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“Awesome hike, fantastic crew!”
Reviewed November 12, 2012

Its not very often that you get to hike a rainforest and a glacier on the same day. Our group not only got a great workout, but had an awesome time hiking up the glacier and enjoying the views. Our guide was very knowledgable and fun. We enjoyed the hike despite the rain...certainly made things challenging. Cant always get the perfect weather but you always make the most of it! A very unforgettable hike! Very much recommended!

Visited September 2012
1 Thank Jaime R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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