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, kayaking, fishing (with license) and camping. In this complete guide you’ll find everything you need to know about Moke Lake in general and the Moke Lake Loop track.
Watch this video from our experience of 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.
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.
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.
How to get around in New Zealand
To experience New Zealand to the fullest and at your own pace, renting a car, campervan or motorhome is the best way to get around. Which one of these options you choose depends on your preference and budget. If you love camping, being outdoors all day and you don’t mind a smaller living space, then renting a camper van is the way to go. It also gives you the freedom to sleep at some of the most beautiful camping spots, but for some of them you’ll have to make a reservation and plan your trip accordingly. The same goes for a motorhome which is bigger than a campervan and fits about 4-6 people. Here’s what you need to know about renting a car, camper van or motorhome in New Zealand.
Car rental New Zealand
Renting a car in New Zealand is the easiest and cheapest rental vehicle available. It will get you to all the best destinations with ease and gives you the freedom to stop for a break wherever you want. However, you should keep in mind that some roads in New Zealand are still gravel or that you have to cross shallow rivers to some destinations in National Parks. Therefore we personally recommend a mini SUV or SUV model to have enough clearance for these kind of roads. We rented for 6 weeks a Mitsubishi ASX model and were super happy with this car!The best place to book your rental car in New Zealand is on Discover Cars where you can compare different car models, prices, companies and terms and conditions. You can also check Rental Cars to compare at which platform you can get the best deal. Make sure to secure the booking of your rental car as soon as possible to have the lowest price possible. Prices go up the closer you get to the pick up date.
Campervan rental in New Zealand
Traveling around in a campervan is one of the most popular ways for a roadtrip in New Zealand. With a bed, small kitchen and seating area you will have all the (basic) needs on four wheels. Make sure to check if your campervan has a shower or not because this might influence where you want to camp. A campervan allows you to camp at plenty of beautiful places, sometimes for free, sometimes for a fee. It will you give you a true feeling of freedom and connects you with nature.We personally recommend to book your campervan with Travellers Autobarn as they have a wide range of Stationwagons, 2-berth campervans & 3-5 berth campervans to hire for all budgets. All Travellers Autobarn campervan hires in New Zealand come with free unlimited kilometers, 10% discount to premium campgrounds, 24/7 road side assistance & long term rental discounts. Check the availability and prices today to secure your campervan for a New Zealand dream roadtrip!
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.
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 up. 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, we headed down and didn’t hike further up the mountain.
How to get to 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.
Be insured during your travels!
A slip can happen during hiking before you realize it, and the consequences can be bigger than you want to think of.
We are very happy with SafetyWing and highly recommend getting an insurance with them!
Moke Lake Kayak Experience
Active nature lovers will enjoy this half-day kayaking experience on Moke Lake. With a small group you’ll paddle at your own pace on the beautiful lake surrounded by mountains. From an expert guide you will learn more about the area during the journey and refreshments are available afterwards. Transport from and to Queenstown is included.
Image from Viator
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Queenstown Hill walk
- Bob’s Cove
- Lake Alta
- Lake Dispute
- Moonlight Track
- Tiki Trail
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.
Scenic Helicopter flight from Queenstown
A must do in New Zealand is taking a helicopter flight. With this helicopter tour from Queenstown you will fly 20 minutes so you can see Lake Wakatipu and the Southern Alps. The flight includes an alpine landing in the Remarkables and informative commentary from the pilot. Make sure to book in advance to secure your seat, there helicopter flights are super popular!
→ Book here your helicopter tour in Queenstown via Viator
→ Book here your helicopter tour in Queenstown via GetYourGuide
Shotover Canyon extreme Jet Boat ride in Queenstown
This activity is soo cool and I personally can recommend this strongly. If you love a bit of thrill and adrenaline then jet boating is definitely a must do in Queenstown. The very skilled driver skims the Jet Boat with 100km per hour through the narrow canyon with 360-degree spins now and then. Guaranteed laughs! Make sure to secure your seat for the jet boat a few days in advance as the boats fill up very fast!
→ Book here your Shotover Jet Boat seat via Viator
Wine tour and tasting with lunch
Go on a journey through the verdant valleys and vine-clad foothills rich in gold mining history and visit some incredible boutique wineries. Enjoy a winery lunch consisting of several tasting dishes each perfectly matched by the Chief Winemaker and Head Chef, using estate wines and fresh local produce.
→ Book here your winery tour including tastings and lunch via Viator
→ Book here your winery tour including tastings and lunch via GetYourGuide
Explore Milford Sound National park from Queenstown
If you want to explore the best of Milford Sound from Queenstown then this tour is for you! There are two options to do this tour.
Option one is by coach from Queenstown to the west coast of Fiordland National Park. During this day tour you will stop at several impressive viewpoints and do the Milford Sound cruise.
→ Book here your Full day Milford Sound experience from Queenstown by coach including cruise
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!
→ Book here your Milford Sound experience from Queenstown by airplane including cruise
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 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
Mid Luxury stay in Queenstown
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!
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!
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.
30 best things to do in Queenstown – The Ultimate Guide
16 best hikes in Queenstown – The Ultimate Guide
10 best wine tours in Queenstown – The Complete Guide
12 best helicopter tours in Queenstown – The Complete Guide
Queenstown Hill walk – The Complete Guide
Ben Lomond hike – The Complete Guide
Bobs Cove nature walk – The Complete Guide
20 best things to do in Glenorchy – The Ultimate Guide
Glenorchy walkway & lagoon track – The Complete Guide
Earnslaw Burn glacier valley and waterfalls – The Complete Guide
Fiordland National Park
Best things to do in Milford Sound – The Complete Guide
Milford Sound Cruise – The Complete Guide
Lake Marian track – The Complete Guide
Mirror Lakes New Zealand – The Complete Guide
Leave A Comment