Life is like a mirror. Smile at it, and it smiles back at you.

Rated #27 on TripAdvisor for Things to Do in Queenstown at the time of writing, I think Moke Lake would appear much higher on this list if you could create perfect weather conditions everyday! What I saw was almost unbelievable and one of the most memorable experiences I’ve ever had during all my years of travelling. Oh New Zealand, you’re just full of pleasant surprises! 🇳🇿

Why visit Moke Lake?

This little-known attraction just outside Queenstown is a nice diversion from the bustling adrenalin capital of New Zealand’s South Island. Moke Lake will literally blow your mind provided the weather is on your side during your visit. As an added bonus there are a few things to do to make the most of your time there.

Not to mention, there’s a beautiful photo opportunity on the way in before you even reach the carpark:

Capturing Reflection Perfection at Beautiful Moke Lake | The Invisible Tourist
What a welcome!

How can I capture reflection perfection?

It’s key to visit Moke Lake on a clear day without wind in order to see Mother Nature’s giant mirror come to life. If you’re fortunate enough to get the much-desired perfect weather, just the view from the carpark will take your breath away!

My travel buddy and I were so lucky to have a cloudless sky and no wind when we visited. I couldn’t believe how clear the water was and how perfect the reflection of the surrounding mountains.

Never had I been anywhere with water so still and air so silent.

🔵🔵 RELATED: What’s it really like living in Wellington?

Things to do at Moke Lake

Aside from the obvious for photo-junkies like myself, there are a few things you can do at Moke Lake:

Walk the tracks: I’ll talk about these in more detail further down the page.

Mountain Biking: Mountain biking around the lake is possible. There’s more info from 100% Pure New Zealand here.

Fishing: Moke Lake is a popular choice for fishing trout. Keep in mind that the waters are so clear, fish can be easily spooked. Fly and spinner fishing is permitted but fishing from a propelled boat is prohibited. More info from NZ Fishing here.

Boating: Canoe or kayak your way around the lake. Make sure you get your photos with the still water beforehand! 

Camping: Moke Lake has a camping ground with covered picnic tables, toilets and access to running water. During my visit in August we had the place to ourselves so it was very tranquil. Although, it probably isn’t the best place to camp during the winter months as the taps were turned off due to water pipes freezing. You’re also forbidden from starting campfires. More info on camping from the Department of Conservation here.

Regardless, it would be a lovely spot to enjoy a relaxing picnic lunch. My travel buddy and I had decided to walk one of the few tracks surrounding the lake instead. I was able to stop at many points along the way to capture these shots. Reflection perfection overload!

I’ll let my photos speak for themselves 😉

How To Capture Reflection Perfection at Beautiful Moke Lake | The Invisible Tourist
Isn’t this view just magical?

🔵🔵 RELATED: Craving more New Zealand Travel Inspiration? Get it here!

Capturing Reflection Perfection at Beautiful Moke Lake | The Invisible Tourist

Walking the tracks around Moke Lake

There are a few tracks in varying lengths to choose from. The easiest loop track took us 1½ hours and was mostly an easy walk. There were some steep hills in parts where we needed to catch our breath but nothing extreme. If you happen to go just after rain you can expect muddy sections and some bonus little waterfalls beside the track coming off the mountains above!

You can find more information on the tracks from the Department of Conservation here.

TIP: Bring plenty of drinking water, especially during winter because the water pipes at the campsite freeze. If you plan your visit during summer months, bring plenty of insect repellant as the sandflies can be nasty.

Capturing Reflection Perfection at Beautiful Moke Lake | The Invisible Tourist

It is possible to use a pram (buggy) along this track if you have small children. As mentioned there can be some mud in parts so you may need to lift your pram to get through.

Capturing Reflection Perfection at Beautiful Moke Lake | The Invisible Tourist

Getting to Moke Lake from Queenstown

Who needs Photoshop when nature looks this good?!

Moke Lake is an easy 20 minute drive from Queenstown. If you’re travelling with a mid-range budget the easiest way is to hire a car for the day. You can look into models and prices with Avis here.

Drive west on the Glenorchy-Queenstown Road for 6 kms. This road is sealed until it becomes gravel at the Moke Lake Road turnoff. Follow the gravel road for about 7 km to the lake. The lake is accessible in a regular hire car albeit a little bumpy. Don’t let this put you off though, because the views on a clear day are incredible!

Even if Mother Nature decides not to allow you to witness the mirror that is Moke Lake the walking tracks surrounding her are worth the trip, anyway. Who needs Photoshop when nature looks this good?!

How To Capture Reflection Perfection at Beautiful Moke Lake | The Invisible Tourist
I couldn’t believe my eyes!

Fun Fact

The BBC’s hit TV drama Top of the Lake (2013) was filmed right here at Moke Lake. This mini-series has won a Golden Globe Award and been nominated for 48 more awards!

Have you been to Moke Lake? Did you know about this little gem just outside Queenstown? Let me know in the comments below! If you enjoyed this article, please share it to Facebook, follow me on Instagram or don’t forget to save it to Pinterest 📌

Until next time,

The Invisible Tourist

 

 

 

 


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How To Capture Reflection Perfection at Beautiful Moke Lake | The Invisible Tourist

How To Capture Reflection Perfection at Beautiful Moke Lake | The Invisible Tourist

How To Capture Reflection Perfection at Beautiful Moke Lake | The Invisible Tourist


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Alyse
Author

Alyse has spent 9 years travelling “The Invisible Tourist Way” and hopes to encourage fellow travellers to do so, too. A professional language hoarder, she can usually be found burying herself in travel books and Wikipedia articles sipping a good hot chocolate. Her dreams? Always about the next destination and how to make the most of the experience.

32 Comments

  1. What a gorgeous part of the world and one I hadn’t heard of before. It definitely reminds me of the lakes in the Canadian Rockies. So beautiful. That walk or mountain bike ride around the lake sounds like the perfect way to spend a morning out of Queenstown. Great photos too.

    • The Invisible Tourist
      The Invisible Tourist Reply

      I agree, Skye! It is so gorgeous. I’d love to visit the Canadian Rockies someday as well, they look incredible. As lovely as Queenstown is it’s nice to wander a little beyond it sometimes. Thanks for your comment!

  2. Those are fabulous photos – The lake is soooo blue it’s unbelievable. Is the weather always so good or were you just lucky?

    • The Invisible Tourist
      The Invisible Tourist Reply

      Thank you, Fiona! The weather in Queenstown can change very rapidly but February, July & August are said to have the lowest rainfall. I visited in August and the weather was quite clear the week I was there. I think your chances of witnessing this giant mirror would be higher in these months but I’m sure you could get lucky at any time of the year 🙂

    • The Invisible Tourist
      The Invisible Tourist Reply

      Thank you Bilyana, the reflections are amazing aren’t they!

  3. It looks like there wasn’t anyone else there. That’s so surprising for an attraction so close to Queenstown. Especially since New Zealand is becoming a pretty trendy tourist destination. I think I’d like to kayak on the lake. Are there rentals available there?

    • The Invisible Tourist
      The Invisible Tourist Reply

      I agree, Jennifer. I think maybe because I went in August so it was too cold for most campers. It was great to have Moke Lake all to ourselves! I didn’t see any places to rent kayaks there during my visit but I believe you can hire in Queenstown with tour companies who do half-day trips, such as Queenstown Sea Kayaks 🙂

  4. Holy cow these shots are INCREDIBLE! Did you do have to do a slow exposure to get rid of some of the water ripples, or was it this really this still? Either way it’s amazingly beautiful!

    • The Invisible Tourist
      The Invisible Tourist Reply

      Thanks for your lovely compliment, Amelie! No special cameras or exposures, just a quick happy snap – the water was really THAT still. Because the lake is almost entirely surrounded by mountains it can be quite sheltered from the wind I guess. I couldn’t believe it either!

  5. Those photos really speak for themselves! I love how you enumerated the activities that one can do! I’ve heard that New Zealand offers a lot of activities that one can never think of. How true is it?

    • The Invisible Tourist
      The Invisible Tourist Reply

      Yes it’s true, there are LOADS of amazing activities to do in New Zealand! To name just a few, have you heard about the world’s biggest swing, the Nevis Swing? It has a 300m arc and it’s 160m above the river! There’s a dedicated ziplining Adrenaline Forest just outside Wellington. In Queenstown you can experience Flyboarding on Lake Wakatipu – It’s a water jetpack that propells you into the air that allows you to fly like a superhero and there’s a shark-submarine called Hydro Attack. Go check them out 🙂

  6. There’s so much to love about New Zealand and this location looks pretty special. I would love to mountain bike around here I think, as something just a little different to the usual hiking. The reflections here are mesmorising.

    • The Invisible Tourist
      The Invisible Tourist Reply

      I agree, Kerri! I think I’d have to give mountain biking a go next time around too. It’s such a lovely setting. Thanks for your comment!

  7. Vicki Louise Reply

    I’d never heard of Moke Lake until your post – but wow, the reflections are incredible! And to say it is so close to Queenstown too, it’s a wonder it doesn’t sit higher up TA’s things to do list. But as you say, poor weather may have had an negative effect on that ranking!

    • The Invisible Tourist
      The Invisible Tourist Reply

      Thanks Vicki, yes from what I can gather it isn’t very well known. Maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned anything and kept this little gem to myself 😉 Just kidding, when nature is this beautiful it’s hard to keep it a secret. Thanks for your comment!

  8. Moke Lake in Queenstown looks very beautiful! It reminds me of the Yosemite in California. I wish NZ was not so far away from Europe, I would love to come and visit it one day, but it is so far from us.

    • The Invisible Tourist
      The Invisible Tourist Reply

      I’d love to visit Yosemite, Barb! And I COMPLETELY agree with you about NZ being so far away. If were any further away, it would start getting closer again 😉 Hopefully one day you could make the journey and have a few destinations to stop off along the way to break up the trip. Thanks for your comment 🙂

  9. I love seeing perfectly calm lakes, it makes photographing the reflections so easy. I’m moving to NZ this September (it’s been eight years since I was there). I can’t wait to get out and explore this beautiful country once more.

    • The Invisible Tourist
      The Invisible Tourist Reply

      How exciting for you, Mike! I’m a little jealous actually, NZ is beautiful no matter where you look 🙂

  10. I’d never heard of Moke Lake until your post. Moke lake is stunning spot surrounded on all sides by mountains and is great when the wind is low for those reflection shots ! If you’re capturing reflections, a polariser will also help to change the strength of the reflection and really makes a difference to your photography, right ?

    • The Invisible Tourist
      The Invisible Tourist Reply

      I would imagine so! I’m an amateur photographer who isn’t too technical – I didn’t have to do anything special to get these shots, nature was very kind to me on this day 🙂

  11. Wow! The views are unbelievable! I could easily spend days exploring here. So awesome that they let visitors camp. I can’t even imagine the gorgeous reflections you could see for sunrise/sunset.

    • The Invisible Tourist
      The Invisible Tourist Reply

      Oh yes the sunsets would be amazing! I’ve seen photos of the lake when the Southern Lights are dancing above it, with green and pink hues – incredible!

  12. I like so much natural and peaceful place like this! I’d love to visit it and to take a lot of pictures like you did 🙂 really great and useful article!

  13. Wow, this is beautiful and what a good idea for a post! Thanks for sharing, the photos look great! I am sure this would work on a lot of the lakes we have in Switzerland as well.

    • The Invisible Tourist
      The Invisible Tourist Reply

      Thank you, Anna. Switzerland is definitely up there with NZ in terms of stunning lakes!

  14. Woahhhh, this is incredible! I can’t believe I’ve never heard of it. I stopped at a little lake on the way to Mount Sunday (which was my favourite place in New Zealand and also totally underrated, but would probably go into battle with this place easily!) that was similarly enchanting, but nothing on this scale! Thanks for the tip!

    • The Invisible Tourist
      The Invisible Tourist Reply

      Oh wow, really! I must check out out Mount Sunday when I’m next in NZ by the sounds of it! Thanks for your comment, Clazz 🙂

    • The Invisible Tourist
      The Invisible Tourist Reply

      That’s excellent, Dany! Glad you liked it 🙂

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