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Moke Lake New Zealand: Hiking and Camping near Queenstown

Moke Lake New Zealand: Hiking and Camping near Queenstown

Olly Gaspar

By Olly Gaspar, full-time traveler for 6 years. I visit every place I write about & share real tips, photos, & advice from my trips.

An epic camping and mountain lake with hiking trails near Queenstown.

Moke Lake New Zealand is a small mountain lake located near the small suburb of Closeburn, near Queenstown.

Although this lake is only a relative stone-throw away from the bustling adrenaline hub, Moke Lake offers a much quieter and chilled-out vibe as well as opportunities for short day hikes and viewpoints.

If you’re looking for a cheap place to pitch a tent for the night, then this DOC campsite is one of the best options near Queenstown.

Where is Moke Lake New Zealand?

Moke Lake is located approximately 14 km from Queenstown. The lake is tucked between two mountain ranges and is accessed by a well-maintained dirt road leading down the valley alongside Moke Creek.

Note: Winter access is open to 4WD vehicles only.

Map showing the location of moke lake from queenstown
Distance from Queenstown to Moke Lake

How to get to Moke Lake From Queenstown

Here are the simple directions to reach Moke Lake from Queenstown which shouldn't take more than 25 minutes.

  • Head towards Glenorchy on the Queenstown-Glenorchy road
  • Travel 6 km and then turn right onto Moke Lake Road
  • Continue straight until you see signs for Moke Lake
  • Turn left onto the Moke Lake dirt access road
  • Follow the dirt road to Moke Lake until you arrive at the camping area

We took a large 4-berth camper van along this road without any issues. However, meeting another large vehicle could be challenging, so keep this in mind.

Moke Lake Camping Area

The Moke Lake Camp Ground is a Department of Conservation (DOC) campsite. Both self-contained and non-self-contained vehicles are permitted to stay here. There are also plenty of spaces to pitch a tent.

You can't book in advance for the Moke Lake campground, spaces are available at a first-come-first-serve basis. In saying that, the entire site surrounding the lake is huge, and you shouldn't have any problem securing a spot at any time of year.

Tip: On our second visit to Moke Lake the ground was quite boggy so be sure to check before driving on the grass.

Our tent beside moke lake

Campsite Cost

Campsite costs are $15 per person, whether you are pitching a tent or sleeping in a vehicle. There is a small form and box at the entrance to the Moke Lake campground where you can fill in your vehicle details and pay your fees.


Facilities at Moke Lake include:

  • Toilets
  • Fresh water taps (boil or treat first)
  • Shelter for cooking
  • 50 non-powered tent sites
  • Plenty of space for parking up a campervan

The water at Moke Lake Campsite does get turned off for winter as it freezes so it is important to take your own supply.

Camping at moke lake queenstown

Moke Lake Campsite Review

We visited the Moke Lake campsite because we were eager to check out the lake viewpoint and circuit loop. When we arrived, we were surprised with how well-kept the campsites and facilities were.

We pitched our tent right beside the lakefront, which meant we got some spectacular sunrise views for breakfast. For $15 per person, it's probably one of the best places to camp near Queenstown.

We returned in August 2023 whilst road-tripping the South Island of New Zealand with our families as we needed to show them just how incredible it was to stay here under the stars.

Moke lake mountain range

Hiking at Moke Lake New Zealand

Below you'll find some information about the three main hikes and short day walks that begin from Moke Lake.

1. Moke Lake Loop Track

  • Distance: 6 km
  • Time: 2-3 hours (normal walking pace)
  • Difficulty: Easy

The Moke Lake Loop track is the most popular hiking track at the lake. The track is fairly flat, following the circumference of the lake for a total length of approximately 6 km.

There is a boarded walking platform along the lake in the low sections and depending on the lake level you may find the water coming over the top which you will need to walk through.

You will also need to climb over fences however this is not difficult and handrails and small steps are leading over the top. These fences are to keep the cattle and sheep from entering the Moke Lake area.

The start point to the Moke Lake track is directly in front of the camping ground, near the shorefront beach access.

My strava map showing the loop of moke lake
Moke Lake Loop ( I ran the loop)
Moke lake loop
Haylea walking along the moke lake loop boardwalk

2. Hillside Viewpoint

The Moke Lake viewpoint was my personal favourite hike in the area. The track is unmarked, but obvious if you know where to look.

The trail heads up a steep hill for roughly 40 minutes to a flat clearing where you will get some of the best views of Moke Lake.

Aerial views over moke lake with the drone

3. The Moonlight Track

The longest hiking track from Moke Lake New Zealand is the Moonlight Track. This trail leads all the way past the Ben Lomond saddle over to Arthur's Point, near the Edith Cavell Bridge and Shotover Jet.

This track is steep and much longer - a total of 4 hours of walking. In the wintertime, it can also get slippery and icy, so best to be prepared.

The Moonlight Trail from Moke Lake to Arthur's Point begins above Moke Lake near Ben Lomond Station.

Moke lake loop new zealand

I hope that you found this guide to Moke Lake New Zealand useful.

For more ideas for things to do in this incredible part of NZ's South Island, check out the links below.

Moke lake new zealand reflection lake
Thanks for Reading

I'm Olly Gaspar, adventure traveler from Australia. I’ve spent the last six years traveling the world full-time, sharing my first-hand experiences & photography in over 700 travel guides on We Seek Travel. I visit every destination I write about to bring you unique travel itineraries, epic hiking routes, fun tour ideas, travel & photography gear ideas, & interesting places to stay.

I only make genuine, worthwhile recommendations based on my experience, expertise, & research. If you buy through my links, I may get a commission, supporting this website at no extra cost to you. Read my Publishing Ethics Statement.