Moke Lake has got to be among the best places to camp in all of New Zealand. It certainly is my favourite campsite in the Department of Conservation catalogue.
Moke Lake campsite is a medium-sized campground just 6km away from Queenstown. The Queenstown area is very popular and while everyone flocks to Lake Wakatipu, Moke Lake is often overlooked. It’s a gem that sits in the mountains, right next to Lake Wakatipu and you can easily use it as a base for staying in the area due to its vicinity to Queenstown. Access is via 4km of gravel road, just off Glenorchy Road.
DOC says Moke Lake has 18 tent sites, although I wonder how this is measured as the area where you can pitch tents or park your camper is huge. The campsite is in Moke Lake Recreation Reserve and possibly the most beautiful, peaceful and quiet spot in Otago. It doesn’t have much in terms of facilities: all there is are long-drop toilets. No water from the tap, no shelter, no picnic tables. Just amazing nature!
You can swim in Moke Lake, although bringing your wetsuit might be a good idea as the water is really cold even in the summer. You’ll also find it ideal for canoeing, boating, and fishing, and you’ll see a few mountain bikers around, too. There’s a nice little 2-hr walk to Lake Dispute or walk around the whole lake in 2.5 hours.
Things to bring with you
Before you head out there, be aware that there’s no shade anywhere on the campground, so take a parasol if you want to spend lots of time sitting outside as the sun is quite fierce. Don’t forget your insect repellant either; those Moke Lake flies are nasty.
- Type: Standard
- Fee: $7.10 per person per night
- Location: 6 km outside Queenstown, off Glenorchy Rd. On the road from Queenstown to Glenorchy, branch off into Moke Lake Rd and follow 4 km of gravel road until you reach Moke Lake.
- Facilities: long-drop toilets; no picnic tables or shelters; water from the stream.
- Notes: no dogs allowed; medium-sized campground; no ranger on site; the self-registration box at the entrance.
For more information on Department of Conservation campsites in New Zealand, read my introduction to DOC campsites.
Other DOC campsites: