Hiking the Diamond Lake / Rocky Mountain Track, Wanaka

The Diamond Lake and Rocky Mountain tracks merge together to create a stunning three hour hike. There is so much to see along the way, including a surreal little lake and grand views of Lake Wanaka and Mount Aspiring National Park. There is heaps of uphill hiking, but if you have the energy this is one of the best hikes in Wanaka.

Hiking to Diamond Lake

The track starts off in a pretty sedate fashion. Before long you’ll reach the shores of Diamond Lake, a small body of water which catches some great reflections. From there you can either walk around the lake or head onwards and upwards towards the viewpoint above Diamond Lake.

Diamond Lake, Wanaka, New Zealand

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 little platform where you can stand and take it all in.

Diamond Lake from above, Wanaka, New ZealandHiking the Diamond Lake Track, Wanaka, New Zealand

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 Wanaka 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 Wanaka, including hikes, beaches, viewpoints and more

Hiking the Rocky Mountain Track, Wanaka, New Zealand

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).

Hiking the Rocky Mountain Track, Wanaka, New Zealand

The view from the top

Once at the top of Rocky Mountain you’ll see nice 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. From this vantage point you can really see the unique shape and geography of Lake Wanaka. 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 view from the top of Rocky Mountain, Wanaka, New ZealandLake Wanaka view from Rocky Mountain, New ZealandHiking the Diamond Lake / Rocky Mountain Track, Wanaka, New Zealand

Getting to the Diamond Lake / Rocky Mountain Track

The Diamond Lake / Rocky Mountain car park is located 18 km outside of Wanaka (on the Wanaka – 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 Wanaka on a road trip around the South Island? Check out our two-week South Island itinerary!

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Jon Algie

A travel blogger from New Zealand who has just returned home after 6 years abroad. Join me as I see as much of the South Island as I can.

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