Rocky Mountain and Diamond Lake

Rocky Mountain and Diamond Lake

Rocky Mountain and Diamond Lake


53 Rankers Reviews

45 Face-to-Face

19 Wanaka Township

Your Nature Guide

Marios Gavalas's avatar

Marios Gavalas

Author And Researcher

Nau mai, haere mai

Nau mai, haere mai

I'm Marios, delivering the best of Aotearoa's nature walks to your device.

I've personally walked hundreds of New Zealand's tracks and spent months in libraries uncovering interesting information on New Zealand/Aotearoa. And you'll find a slice of that research on this page - enjoy!


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Misty views over Lake Wanaka
Diamond Lake form the air


7 km return | 3 hours return to Rocky Mountain Summit

Classic NZ!

A grunt up Rocky Mountain (775m) is greeted with superlative views over Lake Wanaka and to the highest peaks of Mount Aspiring National Park, including Mount Aspiring/Tititea.


Careful in winter. Best only attempt Rocky Mountain when it hasn't been frosty. Otherwise just do the lake circuit or up to Diamond Lake Lookout.


From Wanaka, follow Wanaka Mount Aspiring Road 18.5 km to the signposted parking bay.


There’s a network of tracks here including Diamond Lake Circuit (2.5km 45 minutes return), Diamond Lake Lookout (2 km 1 hour return) and Lake Wanaka Lookout (5km 2 hours return). This track incorporates all the others and includes the best lookout of all at Rocky Mountain.
There is a map of the track network at the stile entering the reserve.

Skirt the edge of Diamond Lake and start the climb over the copious structures to the platform above Diamond Lake. You can see why the lake was named as such. Continue climbing past rock bluffs, scramble over some slippery sections in groves of scrub and then exit onto the grassy tops between schist outcrops.

Rocky Mountain Summit is reward and one of the finest view points around, especially considering its relatively low altitude. The descent continues past the short detour to Lake Wanaka Lookout and arrives back at Diamond Lake. Continue around the lake back to the parking area (with toilets).


The entire area around Mount Aspiring National Park and Lake Wanaka underwent glaciation over several periods during the last 2 million years. Each successive penetration by the glacial advances obliterated what had gone before.

During the last Pleistocene, with it’s maximum around 17,000 year ago, glaciers descended the Matukituki Valley and met with others at Lake Wanaka, excavating deep valleys. Advances carved the inclined beds of the schist rock.

One notable feature is known as a roche moutonee - or rock sheep. An outcrop of resistant rock has the effect of slowing a glacier in its tracks, arresting its flow and diminishing its erosive powers. An attenuated slope results. Conversely on the downstream side, an acceleration increases its erosive power, giving a steeper slope. Observed from a side view, the shape resembles a sheep - at least it did to French geologists who first described these features.

Rocky Mountain is one of these roche moutonees. Mount Iron in Wanaka is another.


Feature Value Info


DOC Otago

Central government organisation


South IslandWanaka RegionWanaka Township


  • Walking
  • Free


Showing 13 reviews of 51.

Violette Z's avatar

Violette Z

Ranking: 10/10

For me it was the best walk around Wanaka (including Roys Peak Track which is so famous) altough this walk was short. View 360° on the top is phenomenal !!

Reviewed over 2 years ago

Chris's avatar


Ranking: 10/10

Fantastic views and heaps less busy than the main Wanaka hike.

Reviewed over 2 years ago

Huan Quintero's avatar

Huan Quintero

Ranking: 9/10

Very nice moderate track. Amazing view at the top over the diamond lake and mountains, worth it.
We did it because there was no space at the car parking at Roys Peak Track. Very good alternative!

Reviewed over 3 years ago

Carl von Horstig's avatar

Carl von Horstig

Ranking: 8/10

Three hour walk return along the Diamond Lake up to the forestry hills of the Rocky Mountain. Amazing 360 degree view from the Summit. Make sure to take the western route up so not to spoil the view in advance.

Reviewed over 4 years ago

Thank You - to the thousands of travellers that have contributed to our Top Voted NZ Activities Map - it's free from Rankers.

Harold Booy's avatar

Harold Booy


Ranking: 10/10

Steep climb at times - fantastic views of Wanaka lake. Eastern path goes along a cliff edge at times. Easier descent on the Western Path.

Reviewed almost 5 years ago and experienced in January 2017

Gena Bond's avatar

Gena Bond

Ranking: 8/10

Lovely walk almost like a proper footpath! Up to the rocky mountain for lovely views. A great walk!

Reviewed almost 5 years ago and experienced in January 2017

Leif Marienlund's avatar

Leif Marienlund


Ranking: 9/10

A lot of beautiful views along the track.

Reviewed almost 5 years ago and experienced in January 2017

Rob and Nicole's avatar

Rob and Nicole


Ranking: 8/10

Really nice 3.5 hours walk to the top of the mountain. Track gets fairly steep towards the end. The track along the east side is nicely manicured, whereas the one along the west is more rugged. The top is pretty exposed and can get windy.

Reviewed almost 5 years ago and experienced in February 2017

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Dana's avatar



Ranking: 8/10

Good view.

Reviewed almost 5 years ago and experienced in February 2017

Jakob Lovdahl's avatar

Jakob Lovdahl


Ranking: 6/10

View over the mountains is worth the walk but the lake itself is not for swimming and not very nice.

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in November 2016

Danny's avatar



Ranking: 9/10

Spectacular view of Lake Wanaka! If you are around it is a must do (in non rainy weather conditions). Some parts quite steep and a little muddy, so do not go in flip flops.

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in November 2016

Manu T's avatar

Manu T


Ranking: 10/10

Nice view of the Lake Wanaka - sheep!

Reviewed over 5 years ago and experienced in April 2016

Anouk Goemans's avatar

Anouk Goemans


Ranking: 9/10

Great walk up to the Summit where you have a 360 degree view around. Quite diverse track/hike. Really worth it! Bring plenty of water and sunscreen on a sunny day. Can be a bit slippery on rainy days, western track is easier.

Reviewed over 5 years ago and experienced in November 2016

DOC Managed

Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍

Cymen Crick's avatar

Cymen Crick