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Moke Lake, Queenstown Overview

Located at just a 20 minute drive from the city of Queenstown, the Moke Lake is the perfect place to spend a day at. Though slightly off the beaten track, the lake offers the most beautiful views of the mountains. When the water is still, it functions as nature’s mirror, reflecting the snow-capped mountains onto its surface. You can spend a day here, indulging in a variety of recreational activities, or just having a lakeside picnic.

The lake also hosts a Department of Conservation campsite, which has tents and cooking spaces – ideal for camping away from the city! You could also go kayaking or boating on the lake, or try your luck with fishing! There also runs a dirt track around the lake, which is suitable for walking, running or cycling, and offers views which aren’t accessible by vehicles. For those interested in birdwatching, you can spot multiple local species of birds flying around the lake, even chirping at dawn and dusk.

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Things to Do

You can do a lot of recreational activities at Moke Lake. They are:
  • Camping – Moke Lake hosts a Dept. of Conservation here, which has facilities like camps, water and toilets. The prices are $15 per night for adults, and $7.5 per night for children. Fires are not permitted, neither are dogs.

  • Kayaking – You can hire a kayak from Queenstown and bring it down to Moke Lake for a quiet and serene kayaking experience. Make sure you get the pictures of the still water first though!

  • Boating – You can also enjoy a boating trip on the lake; the speed limit for boats is 5kmph.

  • Cycling/Walking – There is a dirt track that goes around the lake, and the view from there is like none other!

  • Fishing – This is a popular activity among locals, as the rainbow and brown trout fish thrive in this lake.

Location

This breathtaking lake is located a little outside of the busy city of Queenstown, in New Zealand. It is around a 20 minute drive from the city and is located slightly off the main roads, requiring one to drive on a dirt track.

It is a popular camping destination, as it is nestled among beautiful snow-capped mountains. Also a great spot for a relaxing walk, Moke Lake is the place for a nature retreat!

History

The lake got its name from the old word for ‘donkey’, which was ‘moke’. It is said that the first person to ever visit the lake was led there by their donkey, and hence named the lake after it.

Moke Lake was discovered by George Moonlight in 1862, when he found gold near the lake, and a gold rush ensued. In the following years, other explorers found copper deposits in the tributaries of the lake.

To cater for the miners, a few villages were established around the area, and at the peak of the rush, around 2000 people lived here. An approximate of NZD 4 million worth of gold was excavated from the area before it was abandoned by miners.

These days it is a popular spot for camping, fishing, boating, cycling and horse trekking.

Flora and Fauna

Moke Lake is known for a variety of recreational activities, one of them being fishing. The lake has a healthy population of rainbow trout and brown trout. Kea birds can also be spotted around the lake, along with plenty of other native species.

How To Reach Moke Lake

You can use the following means to get to Moke Lake:

  • Car – The lake is located 14 kilometres away from central Queenstown, and is a 20 minute drive. There is enough parking space near the lake. To reach, you have to turn off the Glenorchy Rd 6 km west of Queenstown into Moke Lake Road and follow the gravel road for about 7 km to the lake.

  • Taxi – Rental services such as Uber are easily available and popular in Queenstown. An Uber to Moke Lake will cost around NZD 35 to NZD 40.

  • Cycle – You could also choose to cycle down to Lake Moke, via the Glenorchy-Queenstown road. It will take around 1 hour 15 minutes each way, and you can cycle around the lake for the great views too!

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