Fox River Caves and Ballroom Overhang walk

Punakaiki

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  • Reviews  94%
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South IslandWest CoastPunakaiki

Time: 1hr to the caves, Distance: 7km return. Add another 2 hrs return to Ballroom overhang

The Fox River Caves have been an attraction since 1908 when a local entrepreneur/ farmer put in a toll gate and charge a small amount of cash - it's now free for all to enjoy! Make sure you wear solid footwear as it takes about and hour to get to the cave entrance, and hopefully you have also remembered you torch. The last bit of the walk is over super slippery rocks so watch your step.

There are two caves - the upper one is the tourist cave and is decorated with stalactites and stalagmites and takes about 30 minutes to explore, please don't touch the formations and just stick to the obviously marked areas as caves are incredibly unique and fragile. The lower cave is for experienced cavers only, so don't bother unless you are one! You can add an extra two hours to your trip and visit the breathtaking Ballroom Overhang, an overhanging cliff face, and a shelter for hikers tramping the Inland Pack Track. Primo!

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Maps

26 reviews with the most recent first, showing page 1 of 2.

Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍

Jared Cordner's avatar

Jared Cordner

Ireland

Ranking: 9/10

Incredible walk, lots of fun with river crossings and a stunning setting.

Reviewed 12 months ago and experienced in March 2017

Sue Milne's avatar

Sue Milne

United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

Lovely walk, good underfoot, i.e pathway and steps where necessary. Timings were spot on for holiday makers, ambling with a camera.

Reviewed over 1 year ago and experienced in February 2017

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Diego Casanova's avatar

Diego Casanova

Chile

Ranking: 9/10

Easy and a little muddy track. Two hours return including the cave. Nice walking through the forest and river to finish with an amazing and big cave entrance. Easy and beautiful cave to explore. 100% recommend.

Reviewed over 1 year ago and experienced in October 2016

Dylan Dorman's avatar

Dylan Dorman

Ireland

Ranking: 10/10

I have been in New Zealand for eleven months and love my DOC walks. This was my favourite, the cave at the end was amazing and the walk itself was challenging, rewarding and diverse.

Reviewed over 1 year ago and experienced in October 2016

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Austin Jurgensmeyer's avatar

Austin Jurgensmeyer

United States

Ranking: 10/10

FREE! For an amazing cave I cannot believe this is free. It is a steep one hour hike to the coolest cave we have seen in the South Island.

Reviewed over 1 year ago and experienced in October 2016

Stephen Timko's avatar

Stephen Timko

United States

Ranking: 10/10

One of our favourite walks in New Zealand. Lots of river crossings (thigh-deep), well marked and the overhang is stunning!

Reviewed about 2 years ago and experienced in March 2016

Annika Pauly's avatar

Annika Pauly

Germany

Ranking: 9/10

Highly recommended. Reminded me of 'japanese waterfalls'. A 10 minute walk to these falls.

Reviewed about 2 years ago and experienced in March 2016

Avoid Camping Fines!

The only camping map where each location is approved by every regional council in NZ. So if it shows on the map, you’re allowed to stay.

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Sarah Boettcher's avatar

Sarah Boettcher

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

Nice and easy walk through the bush next to a river, walk duration is about 1 to 1.5 hours (one way). Take a torch with you and wear good footwear and be prepared to get wet feet. At the end of the track you can walk as deep as you want into one of the two stalactite caves (the left one). Really amazing!!

Reviewed over 2 years ago and experienced in March 2016

Jan Penicka's avatar

Jan Penicka

Czech Republic

Ranking: 10/10

Cave was a little bit flooded at the end but it was an amazing place to go.

Reviewed over 2 years ago and experienced in February 2016

Konstantin Bücheler's avatar

Konstantin Bücheler

Ranking: 10/10

Hard to get there, but the cave is amazing and there were no other people.

Reviewed over 2 years ago and experienced in December 2015

Camping NZ App Icon

Camping NZ App

Every camping site on your iPhone™, iPad™ or Android™ phone or tablet. Avoid camping penalties using this council approved app. Featuring offline maps.

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Helena's avatar

Helena

Netherlands

Ranking: 8/10

Rewarding at the end. A big cave out of nowhere in which you can go into for a few metres. However, look out for the slippery rocks.

Reviewed over 2 years ago

Markus Delinsky's avatar

Markus Delinsky

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

The most beautiful walk so far, a lot of river crossings that make the walk exciting. You will get wet!! Free! There is even a toilet in the middle of nowhere!!

Reviewed almost 3 years ago and experienced in February 2015

Philip Schumann's avatar

Philip Schumann

Germany

Ranking: 9/10

Nice cave, some beautiful formations, very steep and slippery approach, bring headlights, gets wet further in.

Reviewed about 4 years ago and experienced in March 2014

26 reviews with the most recent first, showing page 1 of 2.

Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍

Jared Cordner's avatar

Jared Cordner

Ireland

Ranking: 9/10

Incredible walk, lots of fun with river crossings and a stunning setting.

Reviewed 12 months ago and experienced in March 2017

Sue Milne's avatar

Sue Milne

United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

Lovely walk, good underfoot, i.e pathway and steps where necessary. Timings were spot on for holiday makers, ambling with a camera.

Reviewed over 1 year ago and experienced in February 2017

Conservation Campsite Pass

Save up to 70% on campsite fees! Support conservation and experience the natural beauty of NZ. 93 Department of Conservation campsites, one convenient pass.

Get the Pass

Diego Casanova's avatar

Diego Casanova

Chile

Ranking: 9/10

Easy and a little muddy track. Two hours return including the cave. Nice walking through the forest and river to finish with an amazing and big cave entrance. Easy and beautiful cave to explore. 100% recommend.

Reviewed over 1 year ago and experienced in October 2016

Dylan Dorman's avatar

Dylan Dorman

Ireland

Ranking: 10/10

I have been in New Zealand for eleven months and love my DOC walks. This was my favourite, the cave at the end was amazing and the walk itself was challenging, rewarding and diverse.

Reviewed over 1 year ago and experienced in October 2016

Top Ranked NZ Deals Pass

Access savings worth hundreds of $$ on Top Ranked NZ Accommodation and Activities for just $1 per day.

Get deals pass

Austin Jurgensmeyer's avatar

Austin Jurgensmeyer

United States

Ranking: 10/10

FREE! For an amazing cave I cannot believe this is free. It is a steep one hour hike to the coolest cave we have seen in the South Island.

Reviewed over 1 year ago and experienced in October 2016

Stephen Timko's avatar

Stephen Timko

United States

Ranking: 10/10

One of our favourite walks in New Zealand. Lots of river crossings (thigh-deep), well marked and the overhang is stunning!

Reviewed about 2 years ago and experienced in March 2016

Annika Pauly's avatar

Annika Pauly

Germany

Ranking: 9/10

Highly recommended. Reminded me of 'japanese waterfalls'. A 10 minute walk to these falls.

Reviewed about 2 years ago and experienced in March 2016

Avoid Camping Fines!

The only camping map where each location is approved by every regional council in NZ. So if it shows on the map, you’re allowed to stay.

The Rankers Camping NZ app, is also in association with…

Sarah Boettcher's avatar

Sarah Boettcher

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

Nice and easy walk through the bush next to a river, walk duration is about 1 to 1.5 hours (one way). Take a torch with you and wear good footwear and be prepared to get wet feet. At the end of the track you can walk as deep as you want into one of the two stalactite caves (the left one). Really amazing!!

Reviewed over 2 years ago and experienced in March 2016

Jan Penicka's avatar

Jan Penicka

Czech Republic

Ranking: 10/10

Cave was a little bit flooded at the end but it was an amazing place to go.

Reviewed over 2 years ago and experienced in February 2016

Konstantin Bücheler's avatar

Konstantin Bücheler

Ranking: 10/10

Hard to get there, but the cave is amazing and there were no other people.

Reviewed over 2 years ago and experienced in December 2015

Camping NZ App Icon

Camping NZ App

Every camping site on your iPhone™, iPad™ or Android™ phone or tablet. Avoid camping penalties using this council approved app. Featuring offline maps.

Download from the App Store Download Android app on Google Play

Helena's avatar

Helena

Netherlands

Ranking: 8/10

Rewarding at the end. A big cave out of nowhere in which you can go into for a few metres. However, look out for the slippery rocks.

Reviewed over 2 years ago

Markus Delinsky's avatar

Markus Delinsky

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

The most beautiful walk so far, a lot of river crossings that make the walk exciting. You will get wet!! Free! There is even a toilet in the middle of nowhere!!

Reviewed almost 3 years ago and experienced in February 2015

Philip Schumann's avatar

Philip Schumann

Germany

Ranking: 9/10

Nice cave, some beautiful formations, very steep and slippery approach, bring headlights, gets wet further in.

Reviewed about 4 years ago and experienced in March 2014