Lake Wanaka

Mount Iron and Mount Roy

Mount Iron and Mount Roy are two hiking challenges that will reward you with astounding views of Lake Wanaka and the surrounding mountain ranges.

Mount Iron (because it resembles an iron) is a Lake Wanaka landmark. A remnant of past glaciation, it rises abruptly from the landscape to 240 metres and offers a spectacular vantage point from which to view the surrounding valleys, peaks, rivers and lakes. A circular walking-track leads through tussock and manuka shrubland to the flat-topped summit and drops over the steep southern edge. Horse-treks are also available in the area.

In the geology world, Mount Iron is a 'roche moutonnée' - an elongated knob of bedrock that has been carved and smoothed by an overriding glacier. The mountain is oriented in the direction of the glacier's flow. The upstream or stoss side is gently sloping and smooth; the downstream or lee side is steep and rough. Ice extended over the Wanaka area south-east down the Clutha River, at least as far as the Lindis River Junction. Mount Barker is another roche moutonnée.

Mount Roy represents another walking or biking challenge. It rises to over a thousand metres and you need to allow a day for the return journey - a couple of hours less if you're on a mountain bike. A zigzagging track leads up through thick golden tussock until the airy ridge to the summit is reached. From the top, there are sweeping views across the inlets and islands of Lake Wanaka and up to the shimmering peak of Mount Aspiring. There is little shade on this track, so a sunhat and water are essential in summer. The track is closed from 1 Oct to 10 Nov to allow for lambing.