The Diamond Lake and Rocky Mountain tracks merge together to create a fun three hour hike. There is so much to see along the way, including an interesting small lake and grand views of Lake Wānaka and Mount Aspiring National Park. There is heaps of uphill hiking, but if you have the energy this is one of the best walks in Wānaka.
The track starts off in a sedate fashion, and before long you’ll reach the shores of Diamond Lake, a small body of water which catches some great reflections in the right conditions. From there you can either walk around the lake or head onwards and upwards towards the viewpoint above Diamond Lake.
The Diamond Lake viewpoint would be the climax of a lesser hike, but here it’s a nice little diversion on the way to the top. The tiny lake is surrounded by rocky hills and there’s a platform where you can stand and take it all in.
Hiking to the top of Rocky Mountain
From the Diamond Lake viewpoint the track continues steeply uphill towards Rocky Mountain. There’s a short detour to the “Lake Wānaka Viewpoint” — you’ll have to backtrack a little on the way back from the viewpoint but it’s worth seeing. If you’re struggling and don’t fancy slogging your way to the top this is probably a good place to finish.
READ MORE: Check out all these fun things to do in Wānaka, including hikes, beaches, viewpoints and more
The track up Rocky Mountain is steep, narrow and often slippery — good shoes are a must. There are a couple of different tracks you can take to reach the summit (east route and west route). It’s good to walk up one way and down the other (both routes are comparable in terms of difficulty).
The view from the top
Once at the top of Rocky Mountain you’ll see views in every direction. On a clear day you’ll be able to see Mount Aspiring and other Southern Alps peaks. There are big rocks to sit on at the top and it’d be a great place for a picnic.
READ MORE: 10 of the Best Walks in Wānaka
From this vantage point you can really see the unique shape and geography of Lake Wānaka. We didn’t do this hike at sunrise but I’d imagine it’d be a good idea (although the track is a lot narrower and potentially more dangerous than Roys Peak / Isthmus Peak).
The Diamond Lake / Rocky Mountain car park is located 18 km outside of Wānaka (on the Wānaka – Mount Aspiring Road). You’ll pass by Glendhu Bay (one of New Zealand’s best lake beaches) and if you keep driving you’ll get to the start of the Rob Roy Glacier Track. Even if you don’t fancy another hike the drive there alone is a great thing to do.
Visiting Wānaka this summer? Check out our Wānaka travel guide!
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