April 09 2015

Hikes Diamond Lake Conservation Area

A rainy hike in Otago.

Diamond Lake Conservation Area is a lovely spot a short drive west from Wanaka, along the Wanaka-Mount Aspiring Road (before it turns to 30 miles of gravel). The landscape is almost stepped, and has a wide variety of scenery in a relatively short, easy hike. And, of course, plenty of sheep.

A relatively short ascent on a fire road leads to Diamond Lake itself, a small lake ringed with cat-tails and trees turning a lovely shade of autumn yellow.

Beyond the lake, the trail goes steeply uphill - first on a series of staircases, then a bit of scrambling over exposed roots and rocks, rendered very slippery by the constant drizzle.

After a brief ascent, the trail comes out into relatively flat grasslands overlooking the lake. The pattern repeats to get to the next "step". There's a final summit that we opted not to climb up to, because we didn't know the way and it was very slippery.

A couple of panoramic views of Lake Wanaka round out the scenery, before returning to the stairs back down to the lake and the return.