Cover The basaltic rock formations which are part of the Hong Kong Unesco Global Geopark (Photo: Getty Images)

Explore the great outdoors with a visit to one of these country parks and nature reserves in Hong Kong

Did you know that three-quarters of Hong Kong’s 1,108 square kilometres of land is actually rural? The city may be known to be a concrete jungle full of skyscrapers, but it is also home to expansive stunning green spaces.
With a total of 24 country parks and 22 special areas created for the purpose of nature conservation, there are plenty of outdoor places to explore. Make the most of the summer months and escape the busy city streets with a visit to these country parks and nature reserves, which promise scenic trails, unique species and much more.

See also: The Most Beautiful Beaches To Visit In Hong Kong

1. Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park

Translated as ‘Bay Beneath the Sea’, the Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park is a protected area that contains 60 types of hard coral and 120 species of coral fish.
Located north of the Sai Kung West Country Park, the marine park covers about 260 hectares. As the Park is in a sheltered bay, it boasts pristine water quality, resulting in the area being a hotspot for a great variety of marine organisms, attracting many keen divers and snorkelers. 
The 6km walk from Hoi Ha village leading to Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park passes by an old temple and a lime kiln, before the path gives way to stunning views of the glistening water.

2. Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark

Located in the East and Northeast New Territories, the Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark includes the Sai Kung Volcanic Rock Region and the Northeast New Territories Sedimentary Rock Region, showcasing Hong Kong’s timeless and eerily beautiful landforms.
Famed features of the Geopark are Sharp Island, including its natural bridge – called a tombolo – that connects in to the nearby Kiu Tau Island; and Tung Pin Chau, which is known for its picturesque rock formations.

3. Sai Kung East Country Park

Sai Kung East Country Park occupies a vast area of east Sai Kung Peninsula and High Island, stretching over a vast 4,494 hectares of uplands and coasts.
The area is well-known for its stunning beaches and numerous hiking trails. Home to the largest number of bays and coves out of all country parks in Hong Kong, don’t miss a visit to the famed beaches of Tai Long Wan – Sai Wan, Ham Tin Wan, Tai Wan, Tung Wan – along with a hike up the precipitous Sharp Peak.

See also: Hong Kong Hikes: The Best Trails On The Outlying Islands

4. Aberdeen Country Park

Found on the south side of Hong Kong island, Aberdeen Country Park is one of the oldest country parks in Hong Kong.
The 4.23 square kilometre (423-hectare) park is a popular hiking and walking spot for families and older residents, as the park is one of the best-equipped in Hong Kong for lesser-abled access. The park features a nature trail, tree walk, kids walk, fitness trail, Tai Chi terrace, hiking trail, picnic area and barbecue area.

See also: Urban Oases: 8 Beautiful Green Spaces In Hong Kong

5. Hong Kong Wetland Park

The Hong Kong Wetland Park can be found at the northern part of Tin Shui Wai, in Yuen Long, and is a great place for learning about some of Hong Kong’s unique flora and fauna. 
The ecotourism park is also home to impressive cast of wildlife, including birds, butterflies, dragonflies, amphibians, reptiles and fish. Comprising of a 10,000 square metre visitor centre and a 60-hectare Wetland Reserve, the park not only features themed exhibition galleries, a theatre and indoor play area, along with recreated wetland habitats specially designed for waterfowl and other wildlife, along with a stream walk, mangrove boardwalk and butterfly garden.

6. Tai Mo Shan Country Park

This scenic preserve is located around Hong Kong’s highest peak, offering trails, waterfalls and sweeping vistas.
Standing at 957 metres above sea level, Tai Mo Shan is Hong Kong's highest peak, with the expansive 1,440 hectare park offering visitors breathtaking landscapes of the New Territories. Hiking trails range from the beginner-friendly Family Walk, to the much steeper climbs up to the Hong Kong Observatory’s weather radar station.
As the coldest area in Hong Kong, expect temperatures to be roughly 5 to 6 degrees Celsius cooler than the city.

See also: 6 Hong Kong Heritage Hiking Trails To Explore

7. Kam Shan Country Park

Also known as Monkey Hill, Kam Shan Country Park is best-known for its population of macaque monkeys.
The park is one of Hong Kong’s oldest and covers 339 hectares of land, with a great diversity of native species – along with the macaques – being key attractions. The park takes its name from Golden Hill or Kam Shan (金山), which is the highest feature in the area, but it also features jogging trails, and barbecue and picnic areas, which are easily accessible.

8. Lion Rock Country Park

Located next to Kam Shan Country Park, Lion Rock covers 557 hectares of land, with its most famous sites including its namesake peak Lion Rock and Amah Rock.
Along with the two prominent peaks, the park boasts some of Hong Kong's best-loved trails, including major hiking trails like the MacLehose Trail and Wilson Trail that pass through the uplands, along with the Eagle's Nest Nature Trail and Hung Mui Kuk Nature Trail.

See also: Hong Kong’s Best Dog-Friendly Parks And Beaches

9. Tai Tam Country Park

Consisting of one fifth of Hong Kong Island's land mass, Tai Tam Country Park is the largest park on the Island, covering a total area if 1,315 hectares. Located in eastern corner of Hong Kong Island, the park sprawls across the rolling slopes of The Twins to end at the southern border on Stanley Gap Road.

The park is known for its four reservoirs, along with the notable World War II relics which can be found here. For views of the Victoria Harbour, hike either the Hong Kong Trail or the Wilson Trail, which pass by Jardine's Lookout in Tai Tam Country Park. Altermatively, the 5km Tai Tam Waterworks Heritage Trail is family-friendly, and winds through the bridges, aqueducts, arches and dams of the resevoirs.

10. Lantau South Country Park

One of two country parks on Lantau Island, Lantau South Country Park occupies 56.4 square kilometres, bordering with Lantau North Country Park.
Notable attractions include the hills of Lantau Peak – the highest summit in the island – and Sunset Peak, which both follow the popular Lantau Trail, and promise stunning natural vistas. The park is also a popular spot for beach goers, as well as activities including camping, fishing, swimming and biking.

See also: The Tatler Guide To Hong Kong's Outlying Islands

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