Moke Lake Viewpoint & Williamson Spur, Queenstown NZ

It’s a short but steep climb to the informal Moke Lake Viewpoint, then an adventurous scramble up Williamson Spur for ever expanding views.

Moke Lake Viewpoint & Williamson Spur to 1100m

The informal Moke Lake Viewpoint is an increasingly popular spot to visit for views of this scenic lake and surrounding area. The lookout is on the Williamson Spur, and adventurous trampers can head further up the spur for increasingly good views that exceeded my expectations. There’s quite rugged scenery to the north, and the spur itself is pretty gnarly, plus expanding views of Moke Lake as you climb higher. Certainly the misty weather helped add some character to the views, but I’m sure clear weather would reveal some nice scenes we missed out on.

The walk above Moke Lake Viewpoint is only for experienced trampers as it requires quite a bit of scrambling, especially the first section. There’s a map and track notes at the end.

We had intended to climb Mt Hanley but the wet and misty weather caused us to turn back quite early on, and in the afternoon we walked around the lake which was nice.

Moke Lake Viewpoint & Williamson Spur: The Scenery

To Moke Lake Viewpoint

Moke Lake Viewpoint & Williamson Spur to 1100m
Moke Creek runs through Ben Lomond Station.

Moke Lake Viewpoint & Williamson Spur to 1100m

Moke Lake Viewpoint & Williamson Spur to 1100m
Misty views at the start of the walk.
Moke Lake Viewpoint & Williamson Spur to 1100m
We weren’t sure about how the weather would go, but even though it never fully cleared, it ended up creating some very interesting visual scenes, especially on the way back down.
Moke Lake Viewpoint & Williamson Spur to 1100m
A New Zealand Falcon / karearea.

Moke Lake Viewpoint & Williamson Spur to 1100m

Photos from here were on the way back…

Moke Lake Viewpoint & Williamson Spur to 1100m
A wide angled view of the lake from the Moke Lake viewpoint. I liked the tussock glowing in the foreground of this shot.
Moke Lake Viewpoint & Williamson Spur to 1100m
Sophia admiring the view over Moke Lake.

Moke Lake Viewpoint & Williamson Spur to 1100m

Williamson Spur to 1100m

Moke Lake Viewpoint & Williamson Spur to 1100m
For me this section above the Lake Moke viewpoint was the hardest of the day. You can see Sophia making her way up to it. There was a track for maybe a third, but then it was a long scramble on grass and rock with steep drop offs. It would have been scary enough in the dry, but the wet conditions added to my fear. Sophia was a lot less bothered than I thought, as she doesn’t usually take well to heights.

Moke Lake Viewpoint & Williamson Spur to 1100m

Moke Lake Viewpoint & Williamson Spur to 1100m
On we went up the spur. The slippery conditions and poor visibility meant we turned back at about 1100m. Not sure if that is in this picture or further up.
Moke Lake Viewpoint & Williamson Spur to 1100m
Here we are returning down to a spot where we could sit and have lunch.
Moke Lake Viewpoint & Williamson Spur to 1100m
On Williamson Spur.

Moke Lake Viewpoint & Williamson Spur to 1100m

Moke Lake Viewpoint & Williamson Spur to 1100m
Up on the ridge.
Moke Lake Viewpoint & Williamson Spur to 1100m
Sophia just visible in the mist.
Moke Lake Viewpoint & Williamson Spur to 1100m
Moke Lake
Moke Lake Viewpoint & Williamson Spur to 1100m
I liked this shot of Moke Lake with the layer of cloud and blue sky.

Moke Lake Viewpoint & Williamson Spur to 1100m

Moke Lake Viewpoint & Williamson Spur to 1100m
Wrinkly hills to the east.
Moke Lake Viewpoint & Williamson Spur to 1100m
A panorama across Moke Creek West Branch.

Moke Lake Viewpoint & Williamson Spur to 1100m Moke Lake Viewpoint & Williamson Spur to 1100m Moke Lake Viewpoint & Williamson Spur to 1100m

Moke Lake Viewpoint & Williamson Spur to 1100m
Looking back up Williamson Spur and Moke Creek West Branch.
Big Hill & Arrow Gorge Circuit, Arrowtown
A panorama taking in Williamson Spur, Moke Creek West Branch and Moke Creek Right Branch.

Moke Lake Viewpoint & Williamson Spur to 1100m

Moke Lake Viewpoint & Williamson Spur to 1100m
I think this photo was the last I took before we returned to the viewpoint. 

Track Notes

Moke Lake Loop and Viewpoint Route Map
The walk around Moke Lake is easy and tracked.
Climbing to the Moke Lake Viewpoint is off track, although there are some impact tracks to get you onto the spur and then up to the viewpoint (marked by a blue dot). From there it’s an adventurous scramble, especially the first bit which requires care and a head for heights.

You follow the Moke Lake Loop Track west from the car park and campsite, then go north until you see some impact tracks heading steeply up the slopes onto the spur. From there just head up until the first main flat spot where you get unobstructed views of the lake (a blue spot on my map). Going this far is a steep but short and straightforward climb, perhaps slippery after rain.

This might be enough for many, but for more adventure you can scramble your way up Williamson Spur all the way to Mt Crichton if you want, although that would be a very long day. We had intended to go as far as Mt Hanley but in the weather conditions decided to leave that for another occasion. This trip up the spur is only for quite experience trampers. 

Author: Edward Hathway

I'm a clinical psychologist and keen hiker.

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