Category Archives: Activities for the weekend

A walk from Wan Chai to Aberdeen

You already know that it’s possible to hike across Hong Kong island. There are many trails running over the mountains and numerous hikers blazing through them every weekend. 

Most parents with babies and strollers restrict themselves to walking around the Peak or Hong Kong Park. Nothing wrong with that except that if you get off that beaten path, the route becomes quiet and you can hear running water and the chirping of birds in the bush. 

  
If you have about two hours and would like to do a relatively simple walk for exercise and fresh air, try this country walk to the first area of settlement in Hong Kong, Aberdeen.

  
We were relaxing (otherwise known as pfaffing or moping) at home while husband was out having a meeting with the boss. He came home at around 5pm to a very excited toddler who was dying to go to a playground. He remarked what a nice day it was and suggested we go on a W-A-L-K. To fulfill both expectations of playground and walk, we decided on the Aberdeen country park walk. This nicely paved, all-downhill walk (as long as you start where we did) is a very easy, quiet and shaded walk. 

Naturally small person didn’t want to leave Coombe road playground. The swing! The slide! The swing! The slide! She had to be forcibly removed with the promise of food. I fed her two herb boiled eggs and she was satiated and singing. To get the the start of the walk, exit Coombe Road playground, get on to Mount Cameron road on your right and then turn right again into Aberdeen Reservoir road. You’ll then see the sign for Aberdeen Country Park.

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We started off at around 5.30pm, it was already starting to get dark. The moon rose and the raptors were circling waiting for the night hunt to commence.

It soon got too dark to take any photos, so take it from me that it is a very green trail and perfectly suited to a stroller. There are no stairs or bumps in the road. 

  
There are bins along the way if you need to toss the diaper or food wrapper. Toilets are only at the beginning and end of the walk. 

Look out for a junction where you see a big deep drain on your right, turn right and walk along it, it will lead you straight down into Aberdeen. The park will end near a barbecue/ picnic area and you will suddenly find yourself walking on a concrete pavement going downhill all the way towards bright city lights with fifty or more people who are leaving the barbecue area. Not to worry, this crowd thins out very quickly. 

Stay on the left pavement going down and you will see traffic light at the bottom of the hill. Cross and walk straight along that road, crossing another one into Aberdeen Square. It looks very messy and people are everywhere, get into the main square area where there are shops and people generally hanging out by the decorative fountain in the Center. You’ll know when you’re there by the mock chinese gates that you’ll have to walk through.

  
Best bet for a reliable dinner was the Tai Hing. There was a queue but it moved quickly and that’s where we ended up for a hearty meal.

A short taxi ride or the green minibus 4B or 4C takes you straight through the tunnel back to Wan Chai.

Hiking Wilson’s Trail Section 2 (with a toddler)

It’s been cloudy in Hong Kong. Every day it threatens to rain but often it doesn’t. Sometimes we get a little sprinkle but not enough to cool down so that we can put on a rain jacket without perspiring into an internal puddle.

On a day like this, what better way to spend the day then escaping the city’s concrete caverns into the nearby mountains. Easily a degree or two cooler up there but that’s only down to 27 degrees Celsius. Still hot. It’s the wind that makes the difference, those cool gusts coming in from the ocean make it feel like 22 degrees Celsius. So refreshing.

So off we went on a hike. Small person insisted on wearing her pretty Natty dress, which I was quite sure wasn’t the best attire for the purpose but made nice photos. A cab up Wong Nai Chung Gap Road, dropping off at Tai Tam Country Park just outside Parkview Estate.

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Map of Section 2 hike
The stair master began, gently at first while the forest still provided shelter but more intense on the shrub exposed Mount Butler approach.

 

Tribute to Major Osborn
The trail eased off towards to quarry and made for some amazing views to both right and left.

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After we hiked up the side of the quarry, Parkview disappeared from view and we did a climb again to the top of another peak (sighted a battle-scarred lightning rod).

Descent to Quarry Bay / Kornhill
After that it was downward via a stairway that led more or less straight toward Quarry Bay/ Tai Koo Shing. Along here we saw the tall black antennas poking out towards the sky. The Mount Butler radio frequency receiving station covered an impressive site, many steel rods in vertical alignment supported by cables in all directions. Approximately (1) on map below


The descent soon brought us to the Quarry bay tree walk where we suddenly came upon a bamboo thicket lined with porcelain statues and a shrine to the Goddess of Mercy. Probably a place of prayer for those who perished in the area.

Kuan Yin in the jungle
Shortly thereafter, we saw old military installations such as food stores and cooking stoves. (2) on map below

Military Food Stores in JungleWartime stoves
I was surprised that the stoves were in such good condition, clearly built to withstand any kind of fire.
The wartime stovesFlowers in the stoves
Beautiful flowers had taken the place where furnaces would have burned hot. These flowers radiated such energy in their colour, contrasting from the uniform lush green surroundings.

The rest of the descent was very green and peaceful. Sounds of running water from brooks and waterfalls… and gradually more signs of human activity (BBQ sites, picnic areas).

Nature on Wilson trail section 2
Small person did quite well on the long uphill stair climbs, needing a hand hold all the way. I didn’t mind as some parts of the trail were unpaved or made of slippery stone, while other parts near the quarry were ravines and cliffs not to be trifled with. A slip in the wrong direction would have been certain disaster. Fortunately we managed to get her to cooperate and sit in the back carrier when she needed a rest. A fifteen minute nap, some snacks and she was awake again singing songs to her finger puppet.


Great scenes of nature, lots to see and talk about. But not for a toddler who wants to either take off without you or one that’s too heavy for you to carry for more than two hours. Unless you or your partner recently joined a weightlifting gym like my husband did.