Moke Lake Loop … Second Ride of the Day
I started toward Moke Lake on the Goldigger Trail, just across the highway from where I had parked the car for my ride at Seven Mile Park earlier that morning.
After eating a couple of nut bars and a home grown New Zealand apple I felt rejuvenated. The chance to explore some new territory was pulling me.
The Goldigger Trail was an easy climb up along a creek bed through a jungle. Easy, because of how well the trail was laid out.
Much like the B.O.B Trail (which led me to Seven Mile Park) this trail climbed steadily, but never too steeply to require a lot of grunting or walking. Early on I came upon a severely curved tree. I had learned on a previous ride in Oregon these bent trees were the result of a hillside slumping. As hillsides slump, trees keep trying to grow vertical, causing a curved trunk.
One part of the trail was created by people to span a boggy part near the creek.
I was supposed to notice some remnants of a mining operation but only came across one structure … part of a stone building.
After 1.43 miles Goldigger dropped me onto Moke Lake Road. After riding 12+ miles of singletrack earlier in the day I looked forward to a little bit of asphalt.
Moke Lake Road passes over a saddle perched between two rounded mountains covered in a golden blanket of grass. The guide on our boat tour had told us all the mountains in the Queenstown area were bald until man came and planted trees (the mountain directly above Queenstown is completely covered in a thick forest).
INTERACTIVE MAP FOR MOKE LAKE LOOP
- Click the big blue car for driving directions to the trailhead.
- Click Tracks or Icons for More Specific Information.
By the time I reached the saddle I was soaked with sweat. My Garmin 800 edge told me I was biking in 90 degrees weather and I had climbed close to 900 feet.
Another phenomenon of the saddle was the disappearance of the asphalt.
While stopped in the saddle allowed me some new views of the stunning peaks in the area.
Continuing to head north I quickly passed a sign reading, “Cattle Stop,” then passed over the familiar metal grate we Americans call a “Cattle Guard.”.
But what I saw were not cattle, but hundreds of sheep. Many lay right on the shoulder of the gravel road, not even taking any notice of me.
However, as I began to gather speed through the middle of the flock the sheep jumped up and began to run north (the direction I was heading) but away from the road. Even the ones I had already passed continued heading north. I guess no one ever said sheep were supposed to be smart!
Down the hill maybe a half mile I spotted the first of the three lakes I would pass by … Lake Kirkpatrick. The reflection of the sun off the surface gave the appearance of a sparkling jewel.
Just after I passed the first lake the southern edge of Moke Lake came into view. I had loved the contrast of the dark blue water and the amber surroundings. But when I came along the eastern shore the lake seemed to change to a green, the reflection of the steep golden-green mountains rising abruptly from the opposite shore to the west.
After passing by the lake I rode through a campground on the west end and headed for the Moke Lake Trail.
Just as I was going to cross the bridge I came across two young ladies who looked to be pumping up a tire. As I drew nearer I could see they were inflating paddle boards … the type you stand on and paddle!
They had their backs turned as I approached and both almost jumped off the ground when I asked them about the boards.
Like typical New Zealanders, the were real friendly as they told me the boards work great and each could fit into a 3 foot bag (to which they pointed) along with a pump.
Rounding Moke Lake
After leaving the girls I rode the bridge which crossed a stream and immediately began to climb that mountain to the south.
The trail was smooth and quite steep. Luckily the track ascended only about 180 feet before turning left (east) and running level … cut into side of the mountain. With the gained elevation I was rewarded with a nice southern view of Moke Lake.
I was happy to be back to riding a good singletrack … but that soon changed. As soon as I had passed the southern end of the lake the trail gradually dropped until I came to a locked gate in the middle of a grassy cow pasture.
Upon closer inspection I could see I was not supposed to pass the gate but make a right turn and ride on the thick grass alongside the barbed wire fence.
Riding on this soft turf was a lot tougher than I had expected. Dodging the scattered cow patties made for more of a challenge.
After roughly a mile and a half I passed through a gate and found myself on a rough gravel two track. I could see the third lake once I’d started down a fast dropping grade.
After about a 300 foot drop I rode to the edge of Lake Dispute. At that point I was very hot and dusty so I thought about a swim. Unfortunately I could not find a place to enter without having to bushwack my way or trek through a mucky mess.
Finishing the Ride
After a short climb to escape the basin I gained my first views of Lake Wakatipu far below (my car was left at the Seven Mile Parking lot overlooking Lake Wakatipu). A series of tight singleback switchbacks brought me around the mountain to overlook a beautiful Wilson Bay below.
After crossing the Queenstown-Glenorchy Road I rode along the edge of Wilson Bay, passed through Seven Mile Bike Park, and took the B.O.B Trail back to the car.
Although much of the riding was on pavement and gravel doubletrack I loved the chance to explore new territory. The lakes were beautiful and smooth surrounding hills with the tall jagged peaks behind were stunning. If you like to check out new territory I recommend this ride for you.
During most visits I take many more photos than I can place on a page. To view every image I captured on the Moke Lake Loop … 36 photos in all, please visit my Photo Gallery Site.
The following link can give you all the stats for my Moke Lake Loop … just click on the box below.