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ULTIMATE Guide to the Diamond Lake Walk in Wanaka, NZ

ULTIMATE Guide to the Diamond Lake Walk in Wanaka, NZ

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This is a complete guide to the Diamond Lake Walk in Wanaka including track condition, length, and photos from our trip. This guide also includes info on all the connecting trails such as the Rocky Mountain Trail. 

The Diamond Lake Walk in Wanaka is a lesser-known and easier hike than the famous Roys Peak. This short trail takes you to Diamond Lake before heading up towards the summit of Rocky Mountain.

Along the way, you can enjoy breathtaking views of Lake Wanaka and a much quieter trail than most in the area.

The views from the top are stunning and for those looking for a great way to spend a few hours, the Diamond Lake walk in Wanaka is a great option!

Here’s everything you need to know about the Diamond Lake Walk, Wanaka.

Where is Diamond Lake, Wanaka?

diamond lake wanaka is a hike near wanaka new zealand
The view from the first lookout! The lake in this photo is Diamond Lake!

The Diamond Lake walk is located 20 minutes outside of Wanaka by car. To get there, follow the signs to Mount Aspiring National Park. Keep following Wanaka-Mt Aspiring Road until you see the signs for the parking lot. The start of the trail is around 15 minutes past Roys Peak parking lot and is on the right side of the road.

You can also find Diamond Lake, Wanaka’s exact location on (Google maps took us to the wrong place so just be aware of that.)

Related Read: If your on a South Island road trip read about the best things to do on New Zealand’s West Coast that you can incorporate into your itinerary.

Hikes at Diamond Lake, Wanaka?

Diamond Lake, Wanaka
Lake Wanaka lookout

At Diamond Lake, there are a few different trails you can enjoy. Depending on the weather and your fitness level you can choose between these four trails from the parking lot.

Diamond Lake Circuit – This trail circles the lake and is an easy 2.5 kilometers (1.6 miles) 45-minute walk.

Diamond Lake Lookout – This trail is part of the summit track, but for those not wanting to go the entire way you can stop at this viewpoint instead. It takes 1 hour to walk up and back and is a 2-kilometer (1.2 miles) trip.

Lake Wanaka Lookout – Taking a slight detour on the summit track you can visit this beautiful viewpoint. The trail is a 5-kilometer (3.1 miles) return trip that takes around 2 hours to complete.

Rocky Mountian Summit Track – The longest trail continues on from the other two to the top of Rocky Mountian. This is the most popular track as it visits the two previous lookouts and ends at the summit. The track takes 3 hours to return and is 7 kilometers (4.4 miles) return.

Related Read: An hours’ drive from Diamond Lake you can use our guide and explore Lindis Pass!

How hard is Rocky Mountain Summit Track?

Diamond lake path condition
Hiking through streams that are very slippery!

The Diamond Lake Walk in Wanaka is a rather easy hike. Although it is straight-up almost the entire way there are plenty of places to stop and catch your breath. If you think it might be challenging for you just allow more time. It’s better to do it slowly than not at all!

In some spots, the trail is a little dangerous to the Rocky Mountain Summit. You can find that your path becomes very thin in places with steep drops. Also, some of the trail crosses streams and can be very slippery. If you take your time it’s perfectly safe but I wouldn’t recommend letting young children run ahead because of these steep parts of the trail.

Facilities at Diamond Lake

Lake wanaka lookout of the diamond lake walk new zealand
Lake Wanaka lookout!

At the start of the trail, there is a pit toilet and a parking lot. Other than that, you are on your own. There is no cell phone service at the car park so if you suffer from allergies please bee (pun intended) prepared as you are a 20-minute drive to Wanaka.

The reason I say this is I actually got stung by a bee in the parking lot and I used to be extremely allergic. Luckily my desensitization worked and I only had a mild reaction!

Related Read: Heading to Milford while visiting New Zealand? Here’s how to travel from Queenstown to Milford Sound

What to bring on the Diamond Lake Walk

Daimond lake wanaka track condition in New Zealand
The mud along the path!

Shoes – During or after rain the trail is very muddy and slippery. In parts, it actually crosses a stream on a steep incline. This meant your shoes would get wet and really muddy. So if it is (or has been) wet I wouldn’t wear shoes you plan on wearing out later that night. Also if they’re not waterproof, be prepared for wet feet.

Hiking poles – For a popular trail, it’s pretty poorly maintained. Hiking poles would be a huge help to those with bad knees or who lose their balance easily.

Water – I always recommend carrying water with you no matter how short the hike is. It has many uses other than drinking like washing cuts or clearing eyes of mud etc.

Where to stay in Wanaka near Diamond Lake Walk

There are lots of great options for places to stay in Wanaka. Here are our top recommendations for every budget!

  • Wanaka Backpackers Bothy – These are dorm-style rooms that are perfect for budget travelers or backpackers, they offer clean and comfortable stays, and beds start at $32 NZD. It’s located right in the center of Wanaka, right across from Wanaka Lake.
  • Wanaka Hotel – The Wanaka Hotel is a luxury mid-range hotel. It is perfect for couples or families who want a nice hotel in a gorgeous location without the heft price tag. Private rooms start at $150 NZD for two people.
  • Bella Vista Motel Lake Wanaka – The Bella Vista is another hotel in a fantastic location. It offers a massive gorgeous pool which is perfect for relaxing on a hot summer day. This is a really well-reviewed hotel in Wanaka in a central location.

You can browse all of the accommodations available in Wanaka and book online in advance!

General Info for Visiting Wanaka

The Wanaka Tree on a sunny day in wanaka
The Wanaka Tree is one of the most famous attractions in Wanaka!

If you’re exploring Wanaka beyond the Wanaka Lavender Farm here’s some important info to help you have the best time possible!

Other Things to do in Wanaka

There is a huge range of things to do in Wanaka including:

Skydiving – Wanaka is one of the most beautiful places in the world to go skydiving. On your descent down you can see 6 different lakes, the Southern Alps, and Mount Cook.

Go Hiking – Some of the most popular around Wanaka besides Diamond Lake include Roys Peak and Isthmus Peak.

Get out on the lake –  You can walk along the foreshore, have a drink at a pub with a view or on a happy hour cruise, go paddleboarding or kayaking, enjoy a scenic boat cruise, or even go jet boating!

Explore Mou Waho Island – This Water Taxi and Island Tour include a round trip ferry across Lake Wanaka over to Mou Waho Island where you can then free walk and explore the island and its unique views and spot rare birds that are extinct on the mainland of New Zealand. If you prefer a bit more structure this option includes a guided walk once on the island.

Other adventure activities –  Climb a waterfall (via Ferrata) an experience that is sure to get your heart racing with excitement! You’ll cross over suspension bridges, see wonderful panoramas, and discover hidden pools en route to the base of the waterfall where the climb will begin! You don’t need any previous experience to do this activity.

Go canyoning, if you aren’t familiar with canyoning, essentially, you will be repelling down waterfalls! Soak up the views as a helicopter will take you to the top of Twin Falls Canyon where you will begin the day and by the end of it you’ll have gone through 10 different waterfalls.

Tackle kayaking in river rapids! If you aren’t quite keen on hiking or rappelling down a waterfall a river rapids kayak is a great happy medium! The rapids are only grade 1 or 2 so they are gentle enough for inexperienced kayakers!

Renting a Car or Campervan in New Zealand

Bailey takes a selfie with a JUCY campervan
Ready to hit the road!
Bailey stands infront of a JUCY campervan in New Zealand
JUCY is another favorite!

The first step to planning your New Zealand road trip is choosing your set of wheels! Most people rent a campervan or motorhome to get around, but you can also just rent a normal car and stay in hotels (as opposed to camping.)

You can search for rental cars online here in advance to compare car models and prices.

You can also do this with motorhomes and campervans on a website called Motorhome Republic. It shows all of the available campervans and motorhomes for your specific New Zealand road trip dates. You can compare prices and company reviews here too!

JUCY is our personal favorite campervan rental company in NZ. We love JUCY because they have such a range of both cars and campervans available, so you’re pretty much guaranteed to find something to suit your budget and travel style.

We’ve actually secured an exclusive discount code for our readers with JUCY. Just click here to browse their availability and use the code DTRAVEL24 at checkout to get 5% off! What a good deal!

You can check prices, availability and book with JUCY online here.

Star RV is another company we personally recommend but specifically for motorhomes! They offer larger motorhomes (as opposed to budget campervans) at really reasonable rates.

Star RV has actually given us a discount code for our readers too! Use the code DTRAVEL24 at checkout to get 5% off your motorhome rental! Note, this code is only valid for bookings made before June 21, 2024 with travel dates before Dec 21, 2024. Click here to browse availability, prices, and book with our discount code!

Thanks for reading!

Two people jump in the air on Roy's Peak, Wanaka
Jumping for joy on Roy’s Peak in Wanaka!

The Diamond Lake Walk in Wanaka is a pretty straightforward trail but I hope this guide has cleared any questions you might have had. If not, shoot us a message and we will reply!

If you found this blog helpful then jump over to our official New Zealand page and check out all our NZ guides – we have over 100! I’ll also leave some related articles below!

The truth about the Wanaka Tree

Wanaka Lavender Farm

Must-do day hikes in Queenstown

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Diamond lake hiking guide