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Fox Glacier’s Best Short Walks


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While the West Coast is renowned for its awe-inspiring Fox Glacier, the area is also home to some of New Zealand’s best short walks. Alpine views, stunning lake vistas, seal-spotting, birdlife, rugged beaches and native forest trails are just some of the many wonderful things to do in Fox Glacier.  Here’s our guide to four of the best short hikes Fox Glacier has, to showcase its natural wonders. 

The Fox Glacier Valley Walk (2 hours return)
Where else in the world but New Zealand, can you discover a breath-taking glacier less than an hour’s walk from your car? And what’s more, this awesome Fox Glacier attraction is free!

A popular scenic track, The Fox Glacier Valley Walk starts just a short 2-kilometre drive south of the Bella Vista motel. The path meanders along the south bank of the Fox River through ancient podocarp rainforest before ascending gently up the valley. After 40-minutes, you’ll reach the Fox Glacier Viewpoint and if the clouds part, be rewarded with wide views up the valley towards the glacier and a picture-perfect spot.

Also check out the Moraine Walk which loops off the Fox Glacier Valley Walk track, so you can tick off two walks in one day! This easy 40-minute walk reveals how plants regenerate after a glacier has retreated and it’s not hard to imagine how dinosaurs would’ve once roamed this now-forested valley.

                                        
 

The Minnehaha Track (20 min loop)
Who doesn’t love glow worms especially when their natural habitat is 200 meters from the motel’s doorstep? A short stroll on The Minnehaha Track (20m minute loop) is one of the most family-friendly things to do in Fox Glacier. This peaceful loop path follows a burbling stream through rainforest.  The kids will love heading out after dark but remember to tread quietly and switch off torches to behold the full glow worm glory show. No torch? Ask to borrow one from reception or take a couple of well-charged phones to light up the path. 

                                                                
 

Lake Matheson (1h 30 min return)
Probably the most photographed lake in New Zealand, nearby Lake Matheson is renowned for its perfect chocolate-box reflections of New Zealand's highest mountains – Aoraki Mt Cook and Mt Tasman. Visitors the world-over are entranced by the Lake’s serene mirror views of the Southern Alps which are caused by organic matter leached from the surrounding forest floor. And what’s more, Fox Glacier’s most instagrammable spot is only 5-minutes’ drive from the motel!

If you’re feeling peckish, drop into the stylish Matheson’s Café at the track entrance. Visitors rate their big brekkie, and the coffee is considered amongst the best brews on the West Coast. Especially when sipped on the café’s sunny patio with the Southern Alps as your outlook.

Ask the Bella Vista Motel team about the best walks in Fox Glacier. We’ll happily suggest options to suit your level of fitness or timeframe and point you in the right direction.