A few kilometres easy walking along the Te Araroa Trail in Hakatere Conservation Park gives access to Lake Emily and neighbouring Emily Hill (963m). For views of the wide open spaces and lumpy topography of the Ashburton Lakes area, as well as the distant Arrowsmith Range, climb a couple of hundred vertical metres off track to the summit of the hill.
This is a fairly easy walk of about 4 hours, but exposed to the sun the whole way. I think the scenery would be nicer with snow about, so consider this one for winter. Track notes at the end.
Emily Hill & Lake Emily: The Scenery
You can drive down the Te Araroa Trail off the main road and park near a gate. Continue along the Te Araroa Trail until you get to the southern end of Emily Hill. Climb the hill, keeping to the west for a while for views of Lake Emily. Going a little past the summit to a rocky outcrop gets you the money views, including of Manuka Lake.
You can return the way you came, but we followed the dotted line for variety. This required picking our way through sometimes thick sections of matagouri. It can be done but a couple of wrong turns left my wife with legs like pin cushions.