The Westland lakes are lovely, and it is hard not to take heaps of photos. Lakes Ianthe, Wahapo and Mapaurika are all alongside the highway between Pukekura and Franz Josef and it is only a matter of stopping the car anywhere along the shore for a great photo.
Five minute's drive south of Lake Mapaurika the little township of Franz Josef nestles under the hill, and is a popular stop-off for the many people who visit the nearby glacier.
A further 5 kilometre drive from Franz Josef takes you to the carpark in the glacier valley, from where one can walk the c2,000 metres to near the foot of the glacier itself. On a hot day, the cold air falling off the glacier provides welcome and efficient air conditioning.
Franz Josef Glacier
A bus driver, driving across the glacial moraine on the flats south of Lake Wakatipu, was asked by one of his passengers, "Say, Driver! Where did all them boulders come from?"
"Oh, the glaciers brought them down from the hills millions of years ago," he replied.
The tourist pondered this morsel of ground-shaking information, then asked, "Say, Driver! Where have all the glaciers gone now?"
"They've gone 'way back up for another load of boulders," said the poker-faced driver.