The “Secret” Moke Lake Viewpoint
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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. However, in this post, we show you how to get there and other important information to know before you go!
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 Moke Lake 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!
Where is Moke Lake, New Zealand?
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.
Facilities at Moke Lake
At Moke Lake, you will find a campground, toilet facilities, and picnic tables. The walking trails are all signposted.
The Moke Lake Campground is home to 50 nonpowered sites that are on a first come first serve basis. The campsite costs $15 per night for adults, under 18’s are $7.50 and under 5’s are free. This is paid at the campground.
There isn’t anywhere to buy food or drinks so if you plan on going hiking, make sure to bring plenty of water with you! You also can not bring dogs to Moke Lake.
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 keen to take on the steep terrain and would not recommend it for children. The loose rocks and steepness make this a challenging hike and in some parts a little dangerous.
With that said lots of readers have reported back to me having completed the hike. Only attempt the hike in good weather conditions and if it has been raining do not attempt it.
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.
Since writing this past its become clear that many people find the trail very steep and some don’t make it to the top. However, I am not sure if everyone is hiking in the correct spot.
So, instead of just finding the first trail you see, look around and walk further up the farmer’s fence. It becomes less steep the further you walk.
You can see this in the above photo which I’ve included twice in the post. This photo is a good reference as it shows the second half of the hike that isn’t as steep.
Dangers of the Secret Moke Lake 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.
This trail is not suited to children or those who do not consider themselves fit hikers. It requires using your hands in some parts and should not be attempted by those not confident in their ability to climb the trail.
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.
Other Things to do at Moke Lake
If the Secret Moke Lake Trail isn’t your cup of tea then don’t stress there is lots of other cool things to do at Moke Lake.
1. Hike the Moke Lake Loop
The Moke Lake Loop Track is an easy 3 to 4 hours walking trail that loops around the edge of Moke Lake back to the carpark. This trail is very well maintained, flat and easy.
This trail doesn’t give you the best views but its a trail that’s never overcrowded and is very peaceful.
2. The Moonlight Track
The second hike is a little more challenging as it goes up quite steep to a viewpoint. It is called The Moonlight Track. This hike is best done in the summer as ice and snow in the winter can make it slippery and dangerous. The Moonlight Track goes from Moke Lake to Arthurs Point and takes about 4 hours one-way.
To find the trail, at Moke Lake campsite walk along the Ben Lomond Station farm road above Moke Creek. Here you will pass an old mining settlement, Sefferstown.
The farm road forks here so take the track on the right. Pass the sign to Ben Lomond Saddle and the just after that, turn right onto the Moonlight Track to Arthurs Point.
3. Go Stargazing
Moke Lake is a really good place to see the stars in Queenstown. The mountains around the lake block out a lot of the light pollution from town and on a clear night, you can see thousands of stars.
If you’re sleeping in a campervan or motorhome I highly suggest spending a night in the campground to enjoy the stars!
Before you go…
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.
Regardless of whether you visit the trail and decide it’s not for you, Moke Lake is well worth a visit and is one of the best things to do in New Zealand.
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!
Also if you have hiked the trail successfully or not please come back to this post and leave a comment on your experience. We would really appreciate it if you could share your story and tips with our readers!
A few related articles you might like are:
Queenstown Travellers Guide – After living in Queenstown for 7 months we put together this guide to help others 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!
The truth about renting a campervan in New Zealand – Everything you could possibly want to know about renting a campervan in NZ including a few discount codes for our readers!
January 24, 2020