Get a description and see photos of the Diamond Lake walk up to a lookout that offers good scenic views over Lake Wanaka and the surrounding mountains.
The Diamond Lake Conservation Area has several walks you can do, each varying in difficulty and the time it takes to do the walk.
This article, in particular, covers the Lake Wanaka Viewpoint walk, which takes you past Diamond Lake up to a viewpoint (at 540 m / 1,772 ft) that overlooks Lake Wanaka.
How to get to the Diamond Lake track in Wanaka
From Wanaka township, drive in western direction on the Wanaka – Mount Aspiring Road toward Glendhu Bay.
It is hard to miss Glendhu Bay because you should see a campground on the right side of the road when you reach Glendhu Bay.
Continue driving past Glendhu Bay. After a couple of minutes, you should reach an T-junction with West Wanaka Road on your right.
Pass the junction and continue driving until you see another turnoff on your right. Take this turnoff because it leads to the parking lot for the Diamond Lake Conservation Area.
Do not drive too fast after you pass West Wanaka Road, otherwise you will miss the junction for the parking lot.
The junction is about 18 km (11 mi) from Wanaka town center on Wanaka – Mount Aspiring Road.
The start of the walk is clearly signposted at the parking lot [Photo: Diamond Lake Conservation Area Department of Conservation (DOC) sign in Wanaka (58 KB)].
There are also a couple of information panels where you can read about the history of the region and its flora and fauna.
The Lake Wanaka ViewPoint walk
To get to the Lake Wanaka Viewpoint, you must first walk to Diamond Lake and then up to the viewpoint.
The Diamond Lake track starts out with a gentle climb, but you’ll still need to be fit enough to walk up the trail to Diamond Lake.
The start of the trail is an old dirt road so a well-formed track [Photo: Looking back at the carpark of the Diamond Lake track in Wanaka (50 KB)].
After walking for about 15 to 20 minutes, you should reach a junction where you can go left or right around Diamond Lake. Follow the walking trail to the left.
Diamond Lake is surrounded by trees, but you should be able to find an opening and peek through to see the lake [Photos: Autumn trees at Diamond Lake in Wakana (67 KB); Diamond Lake in Wanaka (49 KB)].
Continue walking along the trail and then go left up the trail that climbs to a lookout over Diamond Lake [Photo: Diamond Lake in Wanaka as seen from above (41 KB)]. This part of the trail is very steep in some parts, rocky, slippery at times and also has steps you must walk up.
Once you’re at the top, you can continue on to the Diamond Lake Lookout. The climb to the lookout should take you approximately 10 minutes or less.
Once you’re done enjoying the view of Diamond Lake from above, get back on the trail and continue walking. From this point onward, you should start getting views of Lake Wanaka, Glendhu Bay, and the surrounding mountains [Photo: Glendhu Bay and mountains as seen from the Diamond Lake trail in Wanaka (50 KB)].
You should soon reach a junction that goes either to the left, following the Rocky Mountain trail, or to the right, following the Lake Wanaka Viewpoint trail [Photos: Junction of the Rocky Mountain and Lake Wanaka Viewpoint trails (67 KB), Looking back on the Diamond Lake trail in Wanaka (42 KB)].
Continue on the Diamond Lake Viewpoint trail until you reach a stile and a sign for the Lake Wanaka Viewpoint about 5 minutes after passing the junction.
Climb over the fence and continue on the trail for another 5 minutes or so to reach the Lake Wanaka Viewpoint.
Sit down on the bench and enjoy the view of Lake Wanaka and the mountains [Photo: Lake Wanaka as seen from the Diamond Lake Track in Wanaka (38 KB)].
Basic information for the Diamond Lake walk in Wanaka
|Trail length:||1 km (0.6 mi) to the Diamond Lake Lookout; 2.5 km (1.6 mi) to the Lake Wanaka viewpoint.|
|Elevation gain:||220 meters (722 ft)|
|Walking time:||1.5 – 2 hours return to the Lake Wanaka Lookout (varies depending on your fitness level)|
|Difficulty:||Medium to hard|
|Trail type:||The track is a well-trodden path that is very easy to follow. Once you reach Diamond Lake, you will climb steeply to a viewing platform above Diamond Lake. The track in this section is rocky and there also steps to climb. Then the trail becomes a mixture of sand and gravel until you reach the Lake Wanaka Viewpoint where it softens up a bit.|
|Fitness level:||Medium to high|
|Best time to walk:||Anytime between mid-morning and mid-afternoon. Note that once you are past Diamond Lake, which is surrounded by trees, there is not much shelter on the track. So carry protection against the sun, which tends to be strong, especially in summer.|
|What you’ll see:||Lake Wanaka, Glendhu Bay, and surrounding mountains.|
The trail you’ll have to follow approximately to reach the Lake Wanaka Lookout is indicated with a red dashed line on this topographic map of the Diamond Lake track (142 KB) [This work is based on/includes LINZ’s data which is licensed by Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) for re-use under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license].
This article falls under Day Walks.
Note: Walking tracks and trails can be changed or get closed. The information presented here was accurate when it was gathered.