Moonlight Ultra

The Moonlight Ultra is a new 56km Mountain run for 2021, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the famous Shotover Moonlight Mountain Marathon.

Inspired by the Gold Rush of 1863, and celebrating generations of High Country musters this Ultra Marathon has a tangible link with the gold mining history of Queenstown and High Country farming history.  

An Ultra Marathon like no other, we retrace the gold mining pack tracks used to access the gold fields of the Moonlight and Shotover Valleys and follow abandoned water races that traverse the rugged mountains.  The course will link our traditional high country mustering routes with spectacular ridgeline running that will truly take your breath away.

Exceptionally challenging - this Ultra run will feature over 3500m of vert across 56km of stunning high country landscapes - possibly the best you’ll ever see in a mountain run.

The Moonlight Ultra features 16km of spectacular ridgelines, 10km of historic water races, expansive tussock country, beech forests, abandoned gold mining relics, waterfalls.  A scree run, ladder climb up a waterfall and tunnel will cap off a totally unique course.

You’ll be supported by awesome aid stations, a full medical team, tail end charlies with awesome volunteers spread right across the course to keep you motivated, and on track. Then enjoy a stunning finish area beside beautiful Moke Lake stocked with food, drink, coffee, ice cream and massage.

This is a once a year opportunity to explore the spectacular trails of Ben Lomond Station, a family run High Country Station - enter now!

Event Date

Saturday 20th February 2021

Entries Open July 1 2020

Entry Fees

Earlybird Entry (first 100 entrants) - $240

Regular Entry - $290


Race bib, timing, Medical support, aid stations, finishers medal, finish line beer from Altitude Brewing.

Optional extras

Bus from Queenstown to Moke Lake for race start. 5.30am pickup - $20

Bus from Moke Lake to Queenstown on completion of event - $20

Event Merchandise - $40-$100 


The Moonlight Ultra course starts at Moke Lake, about 14km from Queenstown.  The first 10km takes you north, deep into the Moke Valley along the Ben Lomond Station farm road.  Enjoy sunrise from Sefferstown Hill while dropping down to the Ben Lomond Stock Bridge at the confluence of the Moke and Moonlight creeks.  The biggest climb of the day awaits, taking you from the Moonlight Creek up onto the South end of what we call the Point Block, the start of a spectacular 14km ridgeline.  You’ll traverse this ridge all morning, passing the first cut-off point 19km into the course - runners arriving after 10am at this point will take on a shorter course approximately 40km long.

The ridgeline continues, picking up the historic Mt Selwyn Pack track that will take you deep into Skippers Canyon, as it did with thousands of packhorses carting supplies in for the gold fields, and hundreds of millions of dollars of gold out.  Look out for Mt Aurum to the North - allegedly the source of all gold in the area - Aurum being the latin word for Gold.

The ridgeline finally drops down to meet the Stoney Creek Water race at about 25km where you will join the famous Shotover Moonlight Mountain Marathon and 30km courses, following the Stoney Creek Water race to its source high in Murphys Creek.  

From Murphys Creek, you’ll part ways with the Marathon runners and head straight to Death Ridge for a dramatic descent that takes you south into Jones Creek, home of 300 miners in the 1863 gold rush. You’ll pick up abandoned water races in and out of the beech forest as you traverse this valley before an awesome scree run down to Moonlight River, after a short jaunt downriver, you'll climb a ladder up a waterfall and run up Jones Creek itself.   

Not too far on at the 40km mark Ben Lomond Stations ‘Moonlight Lodge’  will you a chance to top up with food, drink and motivation with our awesome aid station marshalls before 16km of farm track, river crossings and even an abandoned gold mining tunnel, provide non-technical running for the final stretch home.

Estimated Times

Elite - 6.5 hours

Competitive - 8-9 Hours

Casual - 10-12 hours

Cut-off points

There are two mid course cut-off points for the Shotover Moonlight Ultra.

  1. High Point in Road - 19km.  10.00am - Athletes arriving after 10.00am (this allows 3.5 Hours) will drop down farm road and re-join ultra course at Death Ridge. This will result in an overall distance of about 40km.  To meet this cut-off you’ll need to average 11min/km across some challenging terrain including some significant climbs.
  2. Murphys Saddle - 32km.  2.00pm - Athletes arriving after 2.00pm (this allows 7.5 hours for 32km) will miss Death Ridge and continue down Jones Creek.  This will result in an overall distance of about 50km
  3. Overall cut-off (course closed). All athletes still on the course at 8.00pm will be picked up by a 4WD and transported to the finish area.  This is to ensure the course is cleared before nightfall. (this allows 13.5 hours for course completion)


Qualifying Criteria

The Moonlight Ultra is an extremely challenging mountain run. To enter you must demonstrate that you have adequate fitness, mountain running or hiking experience to complete the course in the available time.  This can be completion of previous mountain running or experience in tramping, adventure racing etc.  Acceptance of your entry is purely at the discretion of the Race Directors.

Indicative Map & Profile.

Shotover Moonlight Events


Accommodation Packages

Are you entering the Shotover Moonlight Mountain Marathon, 30km, half marathon or the Moke Lake Run? 

Would you like to helicopter to the start?

You could stay at either Ben Lomond Lodge or Moonlight Lodge the night before the race.

Leave your car at the finish line at Moke Lake and we'll take you into our lodges for a fantastic meal and great company. 

2021 Race Accommodation Packages.
Packages include 2 nights accommodation, transport to either Ben Lomond or Moonlight Lodge, 2 x dinner, 2x breakfast and a stunning helicopter flight to the start of the race.

To be added to a waitlist please contact

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