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Rocky Mountain Track, Diamond Lake Conservation Area

Rocky Mountain's summit cairn. Photo: Heather Whelan
Diamond Lake Conservation Area
16km from Wanaka on the Mt Aspiring Road
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From the car park, head past the willow- and raupo-fringed Diamond Lake.

Winters were so severe in the 1950s that the lake was often used for ice skating.

The track to the lake lookout leads steeply uphill on wooden steps and under rocky schist cliffs but there’s opportunity to rest at the lookout.

Onward and upward again the track soon splits. Take the eastern track then wander along a side track to the Lake Wanaka lookout.

There are fantastic views here across the lake and its islands Mou Waho and Mou Tapu to The Peninsula and the peaks beyond.

Rejoin the main track and the track zigzags steeply in places, then rounds numerous bluffs until finally reaching the summit.Head down the western loop, where there are steep cliffs beside the track, which hairpins down then ducks through some bush-filled gullies.

At times the track is a scramble around rocky cliffs and is very dangerous in winter in these sections. The final part of the walk retraces the outgoing part, past the Lake Diamond viewpoint and down to the lake then back to the car park.