Moke Lake Loop Track

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Summary of my walk around Moke Lake

Ok, so I’ll confess right now, I biked around Moke Lake instead of walking. I had my e-bike with me and just jumped on and rode it. Moke Lake is nestled in the mountains on Ben Lomond station located about 20 mins drive from Queenstown on the road to Glenorchy, turn off after 10 mins. The walk is a lovely loop right around Moke Lake, which would take you 2 and 1/2 hours if you walked it. Took me 1 hour to bike, but I was stopping for lots of photos. The track is mostly easy, with some steep parts along with rocky bits. There are lovely views of the lake all the way round. Go in the morning as early as you can before the wind gets up, then you’ll get those stunning photos of a mirror lake.

If you go walking just after it’s rained, expect muddy parts with little waterfalls beside the track. Walking in winter is more stunning with snow capped mountains, but much colder than summer.

Quick Facts

        • Location: Queenstown, South Island, New Zealand
        • Time needed: 2 & 1/2 hour walk or 1 hour bike ride
        • Difficulty: Medium
        • Wheelchair Access: No
        • Route: Loop
        • Elevation: 580 m
        • Wet Feet: No
        • Toilets: Yes in the reserve
        • Dogs: No
        • Mobile Coverage: No
        • Last Updated: March, 2020
  • Track Highlights

    Stunning mirror lake views if you go in the morning. Reflecting the mountains and the wonderful landscape, this lake offers million dollar photo moments.

  • Track Quality

    Pretty good, not that wide if you’re on a bike. The uphill parts I had to walk up, they were too steep and stony to ride. Good thing my e-bike has a walk mode otherwise it would have been really hard going.

  • Hazards

    There are sty steps to get over, if you go by yourself you’ll have to carry your bike over the steps, which is really really hard for one girl and a heavy e-bike. I just about had to turn back. Can get really cold in winter so take a warm jacket. The lake may not be clean enough to swim in, check for signs. Sandflies can be a pain in summer.

  • Transport

    You’ll need to make your own way there with a car. Or take a scenic self-guided kayak or SUP tour which includes transfers from Queenstown. Or you could hire a car for the day. The gravel road is a bit bumpy but no need for a 4WD especially for the trip. Large motor-homes will make it there also, just be careful as the road is not that wide.

  • Water

    There is no safe drinking water on the walk so bring your own. Not even at the campground.

  • Driving Instructions

    From Queenstown, drive along Glenorchy-Queenstown Rd for about 10 minutes then take the turnoff to Moke Lake Rd on your right.  The first 5 minutes is steep and windy then it’s better. The road is sealed about half, then it’s unsealed gravel road for the rest of the way. Drive for about 8 kilometres, passing the smaller Lake Kirpatrick, before you arrive at Moke Lake Reserve, where you can start the walk.

  • Shops or Restaurants nearby

    There are no shops or cafes out here.

  • Area & Track History

    Following the discovery of a copper seam in the area, mining engineer T R Hacket prepared a report, which was republished in the Otago Daily Times in 1864.  He thought the little lake would provide adequate resources for the mine, as the area offered plenty of grass for the horses and trees to provide timber for the mine. Moke Lake is named after the first donkey to encounter it (moke is an old name for donkey).

    In 1862, Australian prospector George Moonlight strikes gold near Moke Lake and a gold rush ensues. To cater for the miners, Sefferstown tent village springs up where Moonlight and Moke creeks meet. Education, retail and drinking activities ensue. At the peak of the rush there are more than 2000 people living in the area.

    In 1863, prospectors find copper in the Shotover tributary Moke Creek. Speculation (and a little bit of mining) ensues. In 1869 at Moke Creek “a regular definite deep lead of gold” is struck. Wealth ensues.

    During the 1890s and early 1900s the area is heavily sluiced. An estimated 4 million worth of gold is won before the area is abandoned by miners.

  • Best Things To Do near this walk

  • Map location of Moke Lake Loop Track

Points of interest along the walk

Hope you enjoy my photos and description of the the whole walk below.

Point 1: Drive into Moke Lake from Queenstown

The turnoff to Moke Lake is only a 10 min drive from Queenstown. Once you hit the gravel road the big mountain views start to look awesome. Depending on the time of year you go, (we went in summer) it would be even more spectacular with snow cap mountains.

Point 2: Start of the walk around Moke Lake

The car park is huge at Moke Lake Reserve where the walk begins. There is even more parking on the big flat paddock next to the gravel car park. Plenty of room for a picnic and large motorhome parking. There are two toilets here, both long drop type, no flushing water!

Point 3: First section around Moke Lake

Go early to see the stunning reflection on the mirror lake of the mountains. Unfortunately the day we were out there it was a bit windy, so no stunning reflections for us. We did go too late in the day though.

Point 4: Boardwalk and styles

There are three lots of boardwalks at the southern end of the lake to protect a small wetland. The second two are a bit wider than the first. I’m a bit hopeless riding on skinny boardwalks and had to walk my bike on the first one. The styles are great for walkers but really hard for single person’s with a heavy e-bike.

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