The “Secret” Moke Lake Viewpoint

moke lake in Queenstown New Zealand

We found the most beautiful spot to view Moke Lake from, but unfortunately, this trail is a bit “off the beaten path” and hard to find. No worries, in this post we include how to get there and other important information to know before you go!

The “Secret” Moke Lake Viewpoint

One of the best things about moving somewhere is that as you settle into your surroundings you become all so familiar with them. This then allows you to find those local treasures that for a tourist passing by are almost impossible to find. For me, one of these spots is the secret track to the best viewpoint of Moke Lake.

I first stumbled upon this place on Instagram and after reading through the comments on the post I was still not entirely sure where it was. This prompted me to go out and try to find not only the lookout but the very faint, unsigned trail leading there for myself! With a little attention to detail I was able to find where the lookout was and the start of the trail that leads there.

For you though, I am going to take the guesswork out of it, and in this post, explain exactly where the trail is and why it’s so breathtakingly beautiful!

moke lake is a beautiful place near queenstown
Moke Lake is simply gorgeous!

Where is Moke Lake

Moke Lake is situated around 20 minutes from Queenstown town center. To get there drive out of Queenstown on the Queenstown-Glenorchy road for around 10 minutes. Along this road, you will need to turn right at Moke Lake Road. There is a small sign directing you to Moke Lake however it could be easily missed.

From here follow the road until you reach the gravel road. Here there is a sign warning that in winter a 4wd is required. From this sign, Moke Lake is another 10 minutes drive.

Although the sign suggests you need a 4wd in winter I found this not to be the case. The road has been well looked after and during my visit, in winter my van made the journey just fine.

You can find Moke Lake on Google Maps and Maps.me.

For more details on road conditions and location, check our Moke Lake Guide.

the bridge at moke lake
This bridge is at Moke Lake right next to the car park.

What is the Moke Lake lookout and why is it so special?

The Moke Lake lookout is a local spot. It’s an unmarked, unsigned trail that leads you up to one of (probably the best) the best viewpoints of Moke Lake. The lookout gives you a full 360-degree panorama of the lake’s unique shape and the surrounding mountains.

It is, in my opinion, the most spectacular way to view Moke Lake and is a much better view than the classic Moke Lake Loop.

This lookout is special for many reasons, but to put it simply, it is the breathtaking views that had me wanting to return. It’s just such a cool place so close to Queenstown that is perfectly situated to watch a spectacular sunset!

Another thing that makes this lookout so special is the fact almost no one knows about it so it is likely you will have the mountain all to yourself!


Check out some awesome Queenstown tours…


How long and Difficult is the Trail?

The trail to the lookout takes around 45 – 60 minutes to complete. The trail heads straight up one of the nearby peaks to a small flat clearing.

This hike is in no way easy and the steep terrain does not end till you reach the top. I would only recommend this trail to those not keen to take on the steep terrain and would not recommend it for children. The loose rocks and steepness make this a challenging hike.

hiking up to the moke lake lookout
The hike is short, but it is all uphill!

How to Find the Moke Lake viewpoint Trail

Finding the trail is likely the hardest part of getting to the lookout. However, below I’m going to lay it all out and use photos to help make finding the trail easy!

To find the trail you will first need to park in the Moke Lake car parking lot. From the car park, you must head along the Moke Lake Loop Track which heads to the right along the edge of the lake and crosses a small bridge.

Once over the bridge, continue to follow the marked trail until you hit the end of the farmer’s fence/where the trail turns left. AT THIS POINT YOU MUST TURN RIGHT. This will have you following the farmer’s fenceline walking away from the edge of the lake.

You now must follow this fence line for around two to three hundred meters. Now, this is where you have to keep your eyes sharp. Once you have walked for around 300 meters you will notice a gate in the farmer’s fence. This gate lets you know you are very close. From the gate, the very faint trail is only around 30 to 40 meters away on your left (opposite the fence line).

As you scan the hillside you can see a very faint track that leads up the cliff to the top. Once on the trail, it’s easy to follow, just keep hiking until you reach the top!

Since writing this post many people have found the trail. The best way to do it is to walk to the location near the farmer’s gate and look up at the hillside. From here it’s easier to make out the track as you can spot a faint clearing.

map to the moke lake lookout trail
Follow the red line from the car park and you will find the trail! Photo credit: Screenshot from the app MAPE.ME

Dangers of the Trail

As this trail is neither marked, signposted or an official trail I must warn you that it does not come without risk. The trail is very steep in parts and care must be taken on both the way up and down.

Also hiking up for a sunset (as we did) is a great idea however you must take a flashlight and leave before it gets too dark to spot the trail without your light. This is important as with only a flashlight the trail is even harder to spot.

view of moke lake from above
Bailey enjoying the sunset over Moke Lake!

The secret Moke Lake viewpoint is a favorite among a few locals and us. It’s one of the shortest but super rewarding hikes in and around Queenstown. Heading up there for the epic sunset we had is something we both won’t forget and we will definitely return!

I hope this guide helps you find your way, but if not, feel free to reach out to us in the comments so we can help clarify anything!

-Daniel

Keep Reading

Queenstown Travellers Guide – After living in Queenstown for 7 months we put together this guide help other visiting Queenstown. It includes info on how to save money on food, tours, and drinks as well as the best things to do!

10 New Zealand Road Trip Itineraries – A layout of 10 New Zealand road trip itineraries to help plan your route. This post includes recommended times so you’re not run off your feet!

Queenstown Hill Walk – Queenstown Hill walk is arguable Queenstown’s best short walk. Its both easy and accessible and offers stunning views! Here’s everything you need to know before you go!


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