moke-lake-queenstown

Hidden away between the mountains west of Queenstown lies Moke Lake. This picturesque lake is surrounded by the tussock covered peaks of Ben Lomond, Ben More and Mt Hanley with freshwater wetland and farmland in the valley. In early spring, late autumn and winter you can see snow on some of the peaks which makes it even more magical. On calm days, the surface of Moke Lake turns into a mirror reflecting all surrounding peaks. It truly is a photographer’s dream with the crystal clear water and breathtaking surroundings. Besides taking in the beauty of the lake, you can also do the 6.5 kilometers (4 miles) long Moke lake loop track that follows the lake’s edge. Other activities at Moke Lake include mountain biking, fishing (with license), camping and kayaking if you bring one yourself. In this complete guide you’ll find everything you need to know about Moke Lake in general and the Moke Lake Loop track. 

Moke lake loop track key facts

Before we share more about Moke Lake and the things you can do here, let’s have a quick look at the key facts of Moke Lake Loop track.

Hike distance and duration: The Moke Lake Loop track is an easy hike of 6.9 kilometers (4 miles) long that follows the lake’s edge. Along the trail you’ll have stunning views on the surrounding mountains and you can see the lake from every corner. The trail is well maintained and considered easy taking around 1,5 to 2 hours to complete at a slow pace.

Difficulty and incline: With only 182 meter incline which means it’s basically a flat walk, the Moke Lake Loop track is easy and a great family friendly activity.  

moke-lake-track

How to get to Moke lake reserve

Moke Lake is just a 20 minute drive west from Queenstown on the highway towards Glenorchy and is located in the suburb Closeburn. You will see the sign of Moke Lake along the highway where you have to turn right onto Moke Lake road. Here you will get onto an unsealed gravel road for 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) before reaching Moke Lake car park. When we drove this road in October 2022 it was well maintained without any potholes.

moke-lake-road

Along the way you’ll pass Lake Kirkpatrick on the left side. If it’s a calm day without wind you will see stunning reflections. Definitely worth a quick stop before you head further to Moke Lake car park. You can’t miss the car park as the road ends here. There are toilets available on the Moke Lake campsite so before you start exploring you can use them if necessary. 

lake-kirkpatrick-reflection

Best time to visit Moke lake

The general rule to see lake reflections in New Zealand is to come early morning or around sunset. So if you want to have a higher chance of seeing the mirror lake with stunning reflections, then make sure to plan your visit accordingly. Either sunrise and sunset are also great options if you love photography. Especially if you hike up to the viewpoint with stunning views over the lake!

If you plan to do the Moke Lake Loop track, then any time of the day is an option. However, in the summer months it can get hot during the day and there is not much coverage of trees for natural shade along the walk. So be prepared for this and bring a hat, sunscreen and sunglasses on a bright sunny day. 

Things to do at Moke lake 

Besides enjoying Moke Lake from the shore and relax, you can also do a few fun things in the area. 

Hike up to secret Moke Lake viewpoint

Although this is an unofficial hike up the mountain opposite of Moke Lake, it is a must do. You will get the best views on Moke Lake from here. The hike up the mountain is steep though and definitely not suitable for unexperienced hikers. But if you get higher you will be rewarded with breathtaking views! And if you’re lucky you will be the only one around, surrounded by majestic mountains with eventually some snow on the peaks left. 

moke-lake-viewpoint

To get to the Moke Lake Viewpoint is a little bit of path finding. As you won’t find any signs to the viewpoint because it’s an unofficial trail, you will have to do it with our description and photos to point you in the right direction. You will see a worn path though because many people have gone up to the viewpoint before you. 

You start the hike to Moke Lake viewpoint at the trailhead of Moke Lake Loop track which you will find at the end of the car park. Just follow the path for a few hundred meters along the lake’s shore until you’re at the end of the farmers fence. Here you have to turn right after you cross the cattle grid. The Moke Lake loop track goes to the left here, so it’s easy to see. 

Then you have to follow the farmers fence for about 300 meters until you see an obvious gate in the fence. Here you have to keep your eyes peeled because the path up the mountain is on your left side. It is a worn path and from here on easy to follow. However, the hike up this mountain isn’t super easy as you go straight up without flat parts.

The views along the way are beautiful though, and slowly you can see more and more of the mountains around you. The total time to get up to Moke Lake Viewpoint from the car park is anywhere between 45 and 60 minutes depending on your pace.

If you don’t want to hike up all the way to the top of the mountain, then there are plenty of other great vantage points along the way. The 360-degree panorama view of the unique shape of Moke Lake and surrounding mountains is definitely worth the climb! If you’re a more advanced hiker then you can continue hiking up this mountain until Williamson Spur at 1100m. The pictures we took were at 800m, and because we had also planned to do the Moke lake loop track, it was time to head down and not hike further up the mountain.

moke-lake-viewpoint-

Moke Lake Loop track 

The Moke Lake Loop track is a popular short walking trail nearby Queenstown. The 6.5 kilometers (4 miles) long Moke lake loop track takes you along the lake’s edge with scenic views on the tussock covered peaks, freshwater wetland and farmland in the valley. The track starts at the end of the car park and is very easy to follow. 

moke-lake-track-trailhead
moke-lake-mountains

It’s an undulating walk without much incline, unless you decide to combine Moke Lake viewpoint with the loop track. The track is well maintained but can be a bit muddy at some parts. Overall it’s a great family friendly activity and a perfect way to escape the crowds in Queenstown.

We were fortunate to visit Moke Lake on a fine calm day in October, so the reflections in the lake were spectacular.

moke-lake-reflection

Lake Kirkpatrick

The smaller lake Kirpatrick is the first reflection lake you will pass along the road on your way to Moke Lake. It’s definitely worth a stop, especially when the lake is like a mirror. 

lake-kirkpatrick-reflection

More Queenstown hikes

There are many more amazing hikes in Queenstown which we strongly recommend to add to your list. Our favourite Queenstown hike was the Ben Lomond Track with incredible views at the summit. However, this is a fairly steep and demanding hike, but if you’re fit enough to complete this one it is totally worth it!

Read here our complete guide to hike the Ben Lomond Track

Other great hikes in and near Queenstown are the following.

ben-lomond-track-summit

Must do tours in Queenstown

Queenstown is the heart of adventure activities, wine tours and is a great base to explore some other places in the South Island. Here are some tours I strongly recommend doing while you’re based in Queenstown.

Option two is a scenic flight from Queenstown to Milford Sound, including the Milford Sound cruise and a different flight path back to Queenstown. This is the ultimate Milford Sound experience!

Where to stay in Queenstown

As with everything in Queenstown, tours, restaurants and accommodations fill up fast. So to find a great place to stay in Queenstown it is highly recommended to book your preferred accommodation (far) in advance to secure your room. You can always cancel your reservation until a certain date, so don’t wait too long with booking your accommodation in Queenstown.

There is a wide variety of options in Queenstown for every budget. From dorm rooms to super luxury hotels and self contained apartments. Here are our top recommendations.

Luxury stay in Queenstown

The Carlin

The Carlin Boutique Hotel is a 5 star accommodation with very luxury suites overlooking Lake Wakatipu. Some of the rooms even have a private hot tub! With a restaurant, free bikes, a fitness centre and bar you can fully immerse yourself in luxury and the incredible views of Queenstown, the lake and surrounding mountains.

Book your stay at The Carlin Boutique Hotel in Queenstown here

Carlin-boutique-hotel

Mid Luxury stay in Queenstown

Kamana Lakehouse

Just a little bit out of the city centre you will find this stunning lakeview hotel. Each room features contemporary decor, premium beds and an outdoor seating area. Only a selection of rooms include unobstructed lake and mountain views. Their restaurant The Nest offers unique creations and delicious foraged herbs, seeds and wild ingredients. Even if you’re not staying at Kamana Lakehouse it is worth it to try their restaurant!

Book here your stay at Kamana Lakehouse Queenstown

Kamana-lakehouse-Queenstown

Budget stay in Queenstown

Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park

The Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park has studios with private bathrooms and self contained cabins with kitchenette. It is a family friendly property with kids playground and is close to everything you need in town!

Book here your stay at Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park

Holiday-park-queenstown

More New Zealand travel guides

I hope you enjoyed this complete guide about Moke Lake near Queenstown. Make sure to put this beautiful reflection lake on your list when you’re staying in Queenstown!

New Zealand’s South Island is full of many more amazing hikes and things to do. So if you’re looking for more inspiration and ideas of best places to visit, then head over to our other New Zealand travel guides.

Queenstown

Queenstown Hill walk – The Complete Guide

Ben Lomond hike – The Complete Guide

Bobs Cove nature walk – The Complete Guide

Glenorchy

Glenorchy walkway & Lagoon boardwalk