53 Rankers Reviews
12 Wanaka Township
Author And Researcher
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!
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.
South Island ▷ Wanaka Region ▷ Wanaka Township
Showing 13 reviews of 51.
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 !!
Fantastic views and heaps less busy than the main Wanaka hike.
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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!
Carl von Horstig
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.
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Steep climb at times - fantastic views of Wanaka lake. Eastern path goes along a cliff edge at times. Easier descent on the Western Path.
Lovely walk almost like a proper footpath! Up to the rocky mountain for lovely views. A great walk!
A lot of beautiful views along the track.
Rob and Nicole
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.
View over the mountains is worth the walk but the lake itself is not for swimming and not very nice.
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.
Nice view of the Lake Wanaka - sheep!
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.
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 😍