Monday, April 19, 2010

Up to (near) the top of Victoria Peak (Photo-essay)

There's a common misconception that if you take the Peak Tram up from Central, you'll get to Victoria Peak (AKA The Peak). But the truth of the matter is that rather than reaching the summit of Hong Kong Island's highest hill (or mountain), the fact is that the area which is crowned by buildings such as the anvil shaped Peak Tower actually is only Victoria Gap - and is more than 150 meters below the summit of Victoria Peak proper.

Something else that many people don't realize is that Victoria Gap is the hub for a number of hikes -- including a scenic 3.5 kilometer loop and longer ones down to Aberdeen, Admiralty, the Mid-Levels, and Pok Fu Lam. Thus it was that when my hiking companion and I went hiking in the area one nice October day, we found ourselves able to enjoy a surprising amount of piece and quiet as well as beautiful scenery just a few minutes after we headed away and up hill from our hike start at Victoria Gap...

Not quite what one expects to see at the beginning
of an official trail -- especially one known as
The Governor's Walk -- but we pressed on nonetheless!

Shortly after, my hiking companion and I were rewarded with
this view of Victoria Peak that most people haven't seen
A few minutes after that, we came across this
natural rock formation that I reckon rivals Tai Lam
Country's Park "The Monkey" for monkey-ness... ;b

Part of the surprisingly uncrowded --
and, to be honest, also surprisingly crumbly -- trail
that we went along for part of our hike that day

A cave we came across up on Victoria Peak
that gave my hiking companion and I the creeps
as it got us imagining that an illegal immigrant
or wild man was going to burst out from there!

Not long afterwards, however, we came across
this frog-shaped garbage bin... and realized
that we were back in civilization! ;b

Victoria Peak Garden (in the foreground of the photo)
-- not quite the summit yet but still some 150 meters
higher than Victoria Gap and 554 meters above sea level

Yes, it takes a bit of effort to get up there --
but I do feel that the views really are worth it! :)


Maya said...

I think the cave would have made me nervous as well.

Anonymous said...

This was the hike that I was always planning for my first time.

It looks like fun and one that can be safely done alone.

Anonymous said...

Great post. I suspect the cave is a wartime Japanese Tunnel. The guys on Gwulo have quite afew of them pegged:

YTSL said...

Hi Maya --

Good to know that my hike companion and I weren't/aren't the only ones who feel this way then! :n

Hi duriandave --

Like I wrote, Governor's Walk is on the deserted side. Also, if you approach it directly from Victoria Gap, you have to walk up Mount Austin Road on which vehicles can go and there's not much sidewalk/pavement. So it wouldn't be my choice to hike alone.

Much better, I'd think, is The Peak down to Pok Fu Lam via Pok Fu Lam Reservoir Road or -- if that's too easy for you -- The Peak down to the Mid-Levels. And if you do the latter, you can check out Pinewood Battery along the way! :)

Hi Phil (orientalsweetlips) --

Thanks -- for the compliment and also the wartime Japanese tunnels information. Very interesting! :)

sarah bailey knight said...

hi ytsl,

There's something very appealing about this walk. I think part of it's that it's not too far from everything... which can be clearly seen in the photos.

YTSL said...

Hi sbk --

Something I should add about the walk for film fans: Early on in the walk up from Victoria Gap, you'll come across a place which will be familiar to those who have viewed such as "Crossing Hennessy"... ;b