No where else in the world but here can you find glaciers that are so close to the sea. The Fox and Franz Josef glaciers are only small pieces of a massive ice field atop the Southern Alps. As is the case with just about any glacier, they are massive and awe-inspiring. It’s not until you start walking down into the glacial valley that you really feel how tiny you are and how massive the glaciers are.
Both glaciers are located along the west coast of the South Island. The adjoining towns are less than 4km from the actual glaciers so it’s possible to walk all the way there. It’s also possible to cycle, drive, be driven, or hitchhike to the glacier. In both cases, there’s an easy walk up the valley to the face of the glacier. You can get within 90m of Fox and within 150m of Franz Josef. I did a 5 hour return hike up to a viewpoint above Franz Josef to get the photo below.