Fox River Cave Walk

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This walk has been closed due to the caves being unsafe following earthquakes.

Fox River Cave walk is an easy 5k walk that will take you around 3 hours. You’ll cross the Fox River three times so wear good sandals instead of hiking boots. Fox River Caves are very interesting and a great walk up the river to get there.

Quick Facts

        • Location: West Coast South Island
        • Distance: 5 kms
        • Time needed: 3 Hours
        • Difficulty: Easy
        • Wheelchair Access: No
        • Route: Double back
        • Elevation: 157m
        • Wet Feet: Yes
        • Toilets: No
        • Dogs: Yes
        • Mobile Coverage: No
        • Last Updated: November, 2019
  • Track Highlights

    Walking up Fox River was fantastic, let along walking into the Fox River Caves

  • Track Quality

    This is a river walk so forget this walk if it has been raining or going to rain, other wise we had on problem with the crossings. The water was just over my ankles and the river stones were small and easy to walk on. A pair of sandals would be the better choice of foot wear for this walk. Then the track to the cave is very rocky and slippery. You cross the Fox River three times to reach the turn off to the Fox River Cave.

  • Hazards

    Crossing the river if it is in flood. Just before the caves the rocks were covered in green moss which made them extremely slippery.

  • Transport


  • Water

    The Fox River water was ok.

  • Driving Instructions

    Drive 12 Km north from Punakaiki Blowhole, drive over the Fox River Bridge and turn hard right into the car park.

  • Shops or Restaurants nearby

    12 Km to Punakaiki

  • Area & Track History

    The Fox River Cave was discovered by a farmer while he was looking for his straying cattle, Mr O’Brien. The Price brothers built the track into the cave and ran guided tours through the Fox River Cave from 1906 for a cost of 2 shillings and 6 pence. So far it is free to enter the Fox River Cave, look after the cave please or we will be locked out forever.

  • Best Things To Do near this walk

  • Map location of Fox River Cave Walk

    Map of walk

Points of interest along the walk

In the map above, if you zoom in on the walk, you’ll see all the following track points and their location. Each point has photos along with a description about each one.

Point 1: Fox River Car Park

From Westport drive 50 km south to Fox River, don’t drive over the Fox River bridge. Then turn left into the car park. If you walk across the new Fox River bridge you can walk through the tunnel that leads off from the old Fox River bridge.

Point 2: Turn off

The track was easy to find, just walk to the end of the car park you will not miss it. The first few minutes looks really good till you walk right in to the Fox River. So much for dry feet, don’t even try to sneak across this one. You have to cross the Fox River two more times before arriving at the cave turn off. On all the river crossings the stones are small and easy to walk on plus the water is no higher then the top of your boots. We ended up crossing over onto a small river island then back onto the river banks a couple of times before reaching the Fox River Cave turn off.

Point 3: Fox River Cave

The track to the cave is a little more challenging. The track was made up of rocks from the cliff faces so they were rather large and in places covered in green moss and extremely slippery so take it easy. Half way along this track we had a feeling we were being followed. When I turned around there was a tame little grey Weka walking behind us picking up his free lunch. We were looking for him on the way back, he must have got a better offer. The Fox River Cave is just wide enough for one person and you have to keep your head down. You can walk in about 20m before you have to squeeze through small gaps and in doing so you will get very dirty. It was disappointing to see people leaving muddy hand prints on the walls etc, but most of all the bloody mongrels breaking off pieces of stalagmite and stalactites to take home. So don’t be surprised if the cave is locked up one day. One more thing to mention, watch out for the stinging nettle just before the cave entrance, it’s an old plant and packs a painful punch.

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2 Reviews


  • Shaun

    This walk has been closed due to the caves being unsafe following earthquakes

    October 6, 2020

    • FreewalksNZ

      Thanks so much for letting us know, I’ve updated the walk with this info now.

      October 18, 2020

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