Nearest town: Wanaka, Otago
Type of track: there and back with a loop to the top from about halfway
Official distance: 7 km
Official time: 3 hours
Jenny’s time: about 4 hours including chillout time at the top
Toilets: about 500 metres up the track
Tips: You can do all of it or just part. I recommend at least going to the Lake Wanaka lookout.
Just down the road from where I was working in Wanaka is the Diamond Lake and Rocky Mountain track, which, despite its spectacular views over Lake Wanaka and stunning mountain surroundings, is remarkably un-trampled!
You can choose the length of your walk here. If you just want a quick jaunt, you can just do the Diamond Lake circuit in about 30 minutes, with only a short steep bit at the start.
If you want to go further, you can climb some steep steps up to the Diamond Lake lookout, perched on a rocky outcrop high above the lake.
But if you’re going to go that far, you really, really should walk another 15 minutes to the Lake Wanaka lookout to sit on the bench and admire the impressive vista over the lake. This whole hike, start to finish, should take you less than two hours.
And the real prize? The Rocky Mountain summit. It’s another 45 minutes or so up a loop track and the views are absolutely stunning.
I have to say that while not super difficult, it did seem to just keep going up and up and was a bit harder than I expected, but entirely worth the effort! And because it’s a loop track you can go back down a different way. I think the Western track was the less steep one, if that helps.
The Diamond Lake track was a beautiful spot for me to go for a quick summer evening hike, or for a longer one if I had an afternoon off. It doesn’t take all that long and the payoff for the amount of effort you put in is very high!