A walk up the Diamond Lake track
6th March 2020
In February and March of this year we spent 38 days adventuring through the South Island. Twenty-four of those days we spent wholly or partially in the conservation estate. Our adventure was anchored by participation in two club multi-day trips and included a variety of day trips and shorter walks. This was one of the shorter walks.
The track through the Diamond Lake Conservation Area was upgraded in late 2019 after a significant rockfall. The refurbishments included new sections of stairs. There are several directional options in this area. We chose a route that gave us a variety of vistas that took advantage of the morning sun.
The off-road parking area had some vehicles when we began the walk. The first section of the track is very sedate, along a DOC access road to Lake Diamond, a small reed-fringed water body. The lake sits below bluffs that provide an overview later from the track. In some winters, with extended periods of sub-zero temperatures, ice skating can occur. In the 1950s the Otago ice skating championships were held on the lake.
Once past the lake the track divides and we chose to go anti-clockwise. We zig zagged up through the bluffs and came to gentler terrain with grass and matagouri. We passed a guided group of international people – the second instance of commercial tourism we had experienced in the DOC domain. Traps were regularly evident; a Timms trap immediately beside the track had a fresh possum kill - evidence of successful support for Predator Free New Zealand.
The top of the track is about 500 metres above Lake Wanaka. On that morning we had expansive views down over the delta of the Matukituki River; up the Mototapu River valley; over to Roys Peak; and up the Matukituki River valley. We were entertained by a hang glider prepping for launch – his first attempt was unsuccessful and we had a replay of his procedures before he successfully soared away in the gentle morning breeze.
Our descent completed a loop and we were regularly passing people on their way up. By the time we got back to the car the parking lot was full and there were cars parked along the access road and on the verge of the main road – indication of the popularity of the track. The DOC web site for the conservation area is informative. There is a You Tube video that provides interesting background about the formation of the Diamond Lake Track.
- Party members
- Tricia French & Bill Allcock (scribe)