Big city buzz got your teens in a tizzy? Hong Kong’s endless queues, mall-trawling and overwhelming lack of personal space can be a recipe for temper tantrums, not least when you’ve got a couple of uber-active mini-adults to entertain.
But fret not. Just beyond HK’s heaving metropolis you’ll find stunning natural wonders – from verdant trails to glimmering coastlines – which are perfect for families looking for a little more wriggle room, and a new view of this dynamic city. Here are our top picks for getting out n’ about.
Not quite Bondi, just-out-of-town beach Big Wave Bay is one of Hong Kong’s best for budding Layne Beachleys. Grab a cab to this quiet cove, located 45 mins from Central, for gentle surf and a laid-back atmos, complete with nifty board hire and an on-shore snack shack serving up pizzas, burgers, fresh Thai coconuts and the like.
Dragon’s Back, with its Insta-worthy outlook, is Hong Kong Island’s best-known hike, but beware the hordes. For an alternative to the main tourist trail, try the cross-island Wilson Trail, which begins in Taikoo Place and crosses the island via Mount Butler to Parkview, and offers equally rewarding 360-degree vantages of both city and harbour, plus outlooks over Tai Tam reservoirs and the simmering south-lying beaches. Allow around 3-4 hours for the journey, and like all hikes in HK, come prepared with plenty of water and snacks as options are limited en route.
If the kids are up for something a little more intrepid, trek an hour north of the city (by MTR and minibus) to Sai Kung National Park. The Maclehose Trail offers endless mountain views, waterfalls and freshwater ponds to cool off in (for a more detailed run-down, read this). You can also explore the region by water, courtesy of Kayak & Hike who offer fam-friendly trips to some of Sai Kung’s lesser-known, inaccessible locations via... you guessed it!
Want to show your (not so) little firecrackers an altogether different side of Hong Kong? Catch the ferry to Lantau Island (direct to Mui Wo) and choose from a range of action-packed outdoor activities. Groups can explore the island on wheels, courtesy of Mui Wo’s plentiful cycling shops and various tracks ranging from flat trails to exhilarating mountain-biking routes. Or, go above and beyond, and experience the rugged region by foot with one of Lantau’s epic hikes. Our pick is the muscle-melting, 5-hour Sunset Peak (Lantau Trail Stage 2), where you’ll be rewarded with jaw-dropping vistas from the 869m summit. Once you’ve made it over the line, catch the minibus to vibey Cheung Sha Beach to recharge over sips and fresh seafood share plates at buzzy water-fronting Bathers.
Bathers / 32 Lower Cheung Sha Village / South Lantau / +852 2504 4788 / lunch & dinner Tue-Sun, weekend b’fast / hours may vary seasonally / bathers.com.hk