This short and sweet circuit around Moke Lake, backdropped by tussocky peaks, can also be turned into a super-scenic all-day mountain biking adventure.
Hidden away in the mountains just west of Queenstown, Moke Lake is a serene body of water surrounded by three golden, tussock-covered peaks – Ben Lomond, Ben More and Mt Hanley. It’s a wonderful spot for swimming, fishing and boating, and staying overnight at the Department of Conservation (DOC) campground where spectacular stargazing can be had.
It’s also a hot destination for mountain biking in Queenstown. Riders can circumnavigate the lake on a undulating, easy to intermediate trail through grassland, spliced with short sections of boardwalk. On calm days, the mirror-like lake surface and surrounding peaks turn the picturesque scene into a photographer’s fantasyland.
A more serious Lake Moke adventure can be had by starting at the Seven Mile Point car park on the shores Lake Wakatipu, 5km from Queenstown. From here, the aptly named 3km Gold Digger trail winds its way through old gold workings before joining the gravel Moke Lake Road, and continuing for around another 6km to the DOC campground, passing little Lake Kirkpatrick along the way.
At the southwestern end of the lake, a trail bears off through rough ‘n’ ready farmland to Lake Dispute before linking up with the Phoenix trail, a purpose-built single track with lovely views of Lake Wakatipu. From the end, the quickest way back to the Seven Mile Point car park is via the Glenorchy Road, but those with an aversion to tarmac can veer off-road into the Seven Mile mountain bike park and dial in a few more trails before calling it a day.
From Moke Lake, riders can also connect with the Moonlight Trail, a challenging wilderness adventure that follows Moke Creek and the Shotover River back to toward Queenstown via Arthurs Point. It’s an epic involving a decent amount of technical riding and bike carrying. Only fit, self-sufficient riders need apply!