Here’s a quick guide on getting to Fox Glacier from the main visitor centres in New Zealand.
Domestic Flights to Fox Glacier: There’s no domestic airport in Fox Glacier, just a small airfield which the scenic flight operators use. The closest regional airport is in Hokitika, which is 160km (100 miles away), on the windy West Coast Roads allow 2.5 hours plus stops. You can only fly to Hokitika from Christchurch, the flight takes 45 minutes, but it’s easy to get to Christchurch from Auckland, Wellington or anywhere else there is an airport.
From Queenstown to Fox Glacier: Bus or drive, the distance is 330 km (205 miles), all the travel guides say it takes a little over 4 hours but we’ve done this trip lots of times and know it takes a lot more. You want to enjoy yourself, that’s why we always travel from Wanaka, not Queenstown, to Glacier Country.
From Wanaka to Fox Glacier: See above. We reckon to enjoy all the stops along the way this 260km (160 mile) journey needs 5 hours, including stops. If you compare this to travel times on the motorways back home we know it sounds like way too much time, but these are not motorways and when you pull up at somewhere like Ship Creek and see dolphins just off the beach, who wants to miss this because you’ve got a long drive ahead? Take it slow, that’s what we do.
From Christchurch to Fox Glacier: The total distance is just over 400 km (250 miles), we reckon you shouldn’t try to do this in one day. Break it up with a night in Punakaiki (you won’t want to leave) or think about taking the TranzAlpine train between Christchurch and Greymouth, leave the driving to someone else for that section and you can concentrate on the views.
From Abel Tasman National Park / Nelson to Fox Glacier: After reading what we’ve written above we know you won’t even think about making this trip non stop, good on you! The more direct route is the inland route on State Highway 7 but we reckon you’ll like the Buller Gorge and spending a night (or two) in Punakaiki better! If you really want to know it’s 500 km (300 miles) by road from Abel Tasman to Fox Glacier.