There is an important announcement before the upcoming summer season. Unfortunately, the Fox Glacier Valley access road remains closed for the foreseeable future due to major storm damage to roading infrastructure in March this year when massive flooding destroyed the State Highway 6 Waiho Bridge.
DOC took the decision to close the road very seriously and has been guided by expert GNS Science/Te Pū Ao (GNS) and engineering advice. The estimated cost of reinstating vehicle and foot access to the glacier is approximately $16 million, with no guarantees the work would survive one of the heavy rain events the area experiences on a regular basis.
However, there is a bit of good news. Eugenie Sage, Minister for Conservation, announced that $3.9 million investment from the International Visitor Tourism and Conservation Levy will provide more walking, cycling and visitor opportunities in the Fox Glacier/Weheka area.
This investment includes:
1. Redesigning the Fox Glacier/Te Moeka o Tuawe valley walks with cycle/walkway access to the south side of the valley and glacier views.
2. Upgrading the track to Lake Gault, perched on the moraine above Lake Matheson. Like Matheson it has beautiful reflection views.
3. Developing and promoting the easy access Peak Viewpoint with its views of the Southern Alps/Ka Tiritiri o te Moana.
4. Re-opening the coastal walkway from Gillespie’s Beach to Galway Beach with its mix of alpine views, coastal forests, wetlands and wildlife.
5. Extending the cycle/walking trail on Cook Flat Rd from Fox Glacier township to Lake Matheson.
In spite of that, in the upcoming summer season tourists will be able to see Fox glacier only from a helicopter. Glacier Heli Hike tours are still available.