The Chalet track is a moderately uphill track ending at a view platform overlooking Fox Glacier’s blue-black icy snout. This is an impressive glacial view for a relatively paltry effort…and better yet, no tour buses bring their hordes up here. The Chalet track is fine-weather-only,as drizzle makes it slippery and lots of rain makes a stream-crossing impassable. On a sunny day, this track, more than any other FJ/Fox Glacier track, highlights the unique nature of these NZ glaciers—alpine ice mixed with rainforest. On the way to the historic “chalet” view you’ll think you’re in the tropics as tree ferns hung with moss line the track, epiphytic plants hang from tree limbs, and the summertime red blossoms of the Southern Rata trees are reminiscent of tropical Hibiscus.
Arriving at the track’s-end viewpoint, you’ll find one of the few locations in the world where you can frame both ferns and glacier in the same photo—neat! Looking closely at the upper glacier you’ll undoubtedly see the ant-like icewalkers, and below to the left is the Fox Glacier valley-walk viewpoint. Surrounding the viewpoint the Southern Alps ridgelines tower 1,200 meters above you!
FYI: The better view of the complete top-to-bottom Fox Glacier is from the roadside signed viewpoint, not the steep 15-min track to the disappointingly overgrown “Fox Glacier viewpoint”.