The magnificent sweeping vista of Victoria Harbour seen from the Peak epitomizes the city in the imaginations of millions – even if they have never visited Hong Kong. But not many know the background to Hong Kong’s most mythologized residential area, from mid-nineteenth century summer hill-station and sanitarium to the exclusive residential suburb it became between the wars.
To local residents, the Peak symbolizes many things. But most of all, this beautiful corner of Hong Kong epitomizes the pivotal role played by wealth and privilege – in all respects – in Hong Kong life down the decades.
The development of early transport on the Peak, and the role played by sedan-chairs and the Peak Tramway in the transformation of the area from the late 1880s from a remote hill-station to a pleasant tropical suburb, will all be discussed. The Peak in history, literature and local folklore will all be discussed in detail.
On our walk we will visit the old red-brick Victoria Hospital for Women and Girls, built in 1897. Next door, Victoria House – which we can glimpse over the garden fence – is the official residence of the Chief Secretary. Along the way, the origins of the Peak’s unusual and distinctive vegetation will be pointed out and explained.
On this walk we will go to the very top of Victoria Peak and see the remains of Mountain Lodge, and the surrounding gardens. Until 1941 this magnificent spot housed the summer residence of the Governors of Hong Kong. Along with the expansive grounds, Mountain Lodge’s small gatehouse still remains. Stunning views in every direction can be enjoyed on a clear day.
Part way around Harlech Road, a disused rifle-range has been converted into a pleasant small park. Further along, an abandoned pre-war machine gun position lies below High West, overlooking the East Lamma Channel. Here we will head downhill to the old Pinewood Battery complex. This extensive ruined fortification – the highest gun battery in the British Empire when it was first constructed in 1903 – was bombed in the early stages of the Japanese invasion of Hong Kong and never fought over. Bomb damage can still be seen on surviving ruined structures.
From Pinewood Battery it is all downhill to the main campus of Hong Kong University – on the way we will glimpse an old 9.2 inch naval gun that stands in the gardens at the Vice-Chancellor’s Lodge. We will then proceed through the main campus, and along the way learn something about the evolution of Hong Kong’s oldest and most prestigious institution of higher learning.
Please note: All walks require appropriate footwear for walking. Please remember to carry water. We also suggest insect repellent, sunscreen, hat and an umbrella.
Please also note:
This walk is not suitable for children under the age of 15 and is also not suitable for dogs and that we only take Hong Kong residents.
HK$550 per person for a scheduled walk.