The Rocky Mountain Summit track is a scenic hiking trail located in the Diamond Lake and Hospital Flat conservation area (Otago). A short, yet rewarding mountain summit overlooking the beautiful lakes surrounding Wanaka.
Is a particular hiking carpark at full capacity and you want to avoid the crowds but still hit the trails? The Rocky Mountain Summit track is a great alternative to the crowded Roy’s Peak track with similarly spectacular views without the crowds.
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About the Rocky Mountain and Diamond Lake Walking Tracks
There are two primary walking tracks Diamond Lake Conservation Area. However, they join at the Diamond Lake Lookout to form a single, longer track.
Below are the return times taken from the DOC website. If you’re fit and a regular hiker, you can expect to almost halve these walking times.
How to Get to the Trailhead
All Rocky Mountain and Diamond Lake walking tracks start from a large car park in the Diamond Lake Conservation Area only 20 minutes from Wanaka.
To get here, take the very scenic Wanaka-Mount Aspiring Road towards the Treble Cone Ski Field. You will pass the Roy’s Peak car park on the way.
Rocky Mountain Summit Track GPX Map
Below is the GPX route that I recorded using my Garmin GPS watch. You can download the file by clicking the link below.
What to Expect on the Rocky Mountain Summit Track
The Rocky Mountain Summit walking track begins with a gentle climb following the edge of Diamond Lake. Soon, the track turns into a steeper section with wooden steps.
These steps lead to the Diamond Lake Lookout.
Diamond Lake Lookout
This lookout viewpoint offers a great view of the lake and opposite mountain range. At this height, you’ll also be able to see the edge of Lake Wanaka in the distance.
From here the track continues to climb gently to the Lake Wanaka Lookout.
Lake Wanaka Lookout
On this track, the higher you climb, the better the views become. The Lake Wanaka lookout is no exception. The views here of Lake Wanaka are spectacular, and make for some great photo opportunities.
However, if you are planning on walking to the Rocky Mountain summit, you don’t need to take the detour to the Lake Wanaka lookout, since it’s essentially the same view, only better.
If you’ve got the time and energy, I’d highly recommend instead to continue on to the Rocky Mountain Summit, which is realistically, only an extra 30 minutes from the signpost to the Lake Wanaka lookout.
Rocky Mountain Summit View
Once you reach a small flat section underneath Rocky Mountain, you’ll have the choice of taking two tracks to the top. These two tracks forms a loop back to the from the summit.
I’d recommend taking the left track for the ascent, as it makes for a more relaxing and scenic climb.
After only an extra 100m of elevation, you will be rewarded with the Rocky Mountain summit lookout view. In my opinion, this is one of the most underrated lookouts near Wanaka, with clear views out to the southern Alps, Mount Aspiring and the Wanaka Lake.
MORE THINGS TO DO AROUND WANAKA AND THE SOUTH ISLAND
I hope that you found this guide to hiking the Rocky Mountain summit and Diamond Lake tracks useful. If you have any questions or updated track information, please help other travelers by leaving a comment below.
For now, why not check out the below list of more epic things to do around Wanaka and New Zealand’s South Island or check out this post for the 31 Best Hikes in the South Island.
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