Skip to Content
Hiking the Rocky Mountain Summit Track From Wanaka

Hiking the Rocky Mountain Summit Track From Wanaka

Olly Gaspar

By Olly Gaspar, full-time traveler for 6 years. I visit every place I write about & share real tips, photos, & advice from my trips.

Here’s how to hike the Rocky Mountain Summit track, a scenic hiking trail located in the Diamond Lake and Hospital Flat conservation area (Otago).

While most travelers visiting Wanaka will have Roy’s Peak high on their list, the truth is that there are so many more great trails nearby!

If you want amazing lake and mountain views without the crowds, the Rocky Mountain Summit track is a great alternative to similarly spectacular views. This is a short, yet rewarding mountain summit overlooking the beautiful lakes surrounding Wanaka.

Overview & Things to Know

There are two primary walking tracks in the 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.

  • Diamond Lake Circuit Track: 45 minutes, 2.5 km
  • Diamond Lake Lookout: 1 hour, 2 km
  • Lake Wānaka Lookout: 2 hours, 5 km
  • Rocky Mountain Summit Track: 3 hours, 7 km

Full Route: My Strava | Download GPX (.gpx 731 KB)

Rocky mountain summit track wanaka
View from the summit

How to Get to the Rocky Mountain 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 hike in new zealand
Peter's lookout drive we seek travel

Tip: How to Get Around in New Zealand

Rent a car! New Zealand is very safe for motorists & driving is the best way to explore the country.

I always DiscoverCars to get the best deals. Or, if you want a camper, I've had good experiences in NZ with Spaceships & Travellers Autobarn.

What to Expect on the Rocky Mountain Summit Hike

  • Hike Distance: 7 km
  • Hike Duration: 2-3 hours
  • Elevation: 410 m gain, Summit height: 775 m AMSL
  • Difficulty: Easy - Moderate

The Rocky Mountain Summit walking track begins with a gentle climb following the edge of Diamond Lake. This begins almost immediately as you depart from the car park. We saw a toilet here which is useful before you start.

Soon, the track turns into a steeper section with wooden steps. The trail is very easy to follow and very wide. We saw plenty of children on the trail and some older couples as well.

The wooden steps continue up the hill and lead to the Diamond Lake Lookout.

Rocky mountain summit hike
Diamond lake conservation area on the lookout track

Diamond Lake Lookout

This lookout viewpoint offers a great view of the lake and the opposite mountain range. At this height, we were able to see the edge of Lake Wanaka in the distance.

From here the track continues to climb gently to the Lake Wanaka Lookout. This is no steeper than the previous sections and is easily manageable. Don't let the big backpacks in the photo fool you– we only carry the gear for photos!

Diamond lake lookout track

Lake Wanaka Lookout

On this track, the higher we climbed, the better the views became. The Lake Wanaka lookout was 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.

Tip: 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.

Lake wanaka lookout rocky mountain diamond lakes

Rocky Mountain Summit View

Once we reached a small flat section underneath Rocky Mountain, we had the choice of taking two tracks to the top. These two tracks form a loop back to the summit.

I'd recommend taking the left track for the ascent as we did. This made for a more relaxing and scenic climb.

After only an extra 100m of elevation, we were rewarded with the epic 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.

Rocky mountain summit track wanaka
Lake wanaka lookout rocky mountain diamond lakes
Rocky mountain summit track wanaka

Where to Stay Near Wanaka

As you can see, there are many great hiking trails in Wanaka, not just Roy's Peak! I recommend staying at least a few days to make the most of the region. Below are my favourite accommodations for each budget.

Room layout at the edgewater hotel in wanaka

1. Edgewater Hotel Hotel

Overlooking Wanaka Lake this hotel offers its guests a relaxing atmosphere and is located just a short 2 km from the town centre.

Hostel dorm room at yha wanaka, new zealand

2. YHA Wanaka Hostel

A great choice for those wanting a budget-style accommodation choice. It offers private and dorm rooms and is located in the middle of Wanaka town.

Outdoor view of wanaka luxury apartments, new zealand

3. Wanaka Luxury Apartments Apartment

If you're traveling in a group this might suit your needs. An apartment-style accommodation choice that has its own pool and can sleep up to six guests.

I hope that you found this guide to hiking guide 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 below?

Rocky mountain hike in wanaka
Thanks for Reading

I'm Olly Gaspar, adventure traveler from Australia. I’ve spent the last six years traveling the world full-time, sharing my first-hand experiences & photography in over 700 travel guides on We Seek Travel. I visit every destination I write about to bring you unique travel itineraries, epic hiking routes, fun tour ideas, travel & photography gear ideas, & interesting places to stay.

I only make genuine, worthwhile recommendations based on my experience, expertise, & research. If you buy through my links, I may get a commission, supporting this website at no extra cost to you. Read my Publishing Ethics Statement.