We set off from Franz Josef toward Queenstown through Haast Pass, the lowest pass through the Southern Alps. The pass is named for Julius von Haast, a Prussian explorer who lived most of his life in New Zealand. It was Haast who named the Franz Josef Glacier and town for the Habsburg emperor of the same name.
Our journey through the pass took us to Thunder Creek Falls, a 315-foot high waterfall into the Haast River.
The drive all day was beautiful, but the stretch between Thunder Creek Falls and Wanaka was my favorite with crystal blue lakes (Hawea and Wanaka) on one side and foothills on the other.
Next we stopped at Wanaka for lunch and had a great view out across the lake of the same name. It’s a popular destination for Kiwis and tourists alike.
Title quote: Lauris Dorothy Edmond, New Zealand poet