Bored of the playground? Lucky for us, there’s a near-endless supply of fun outdoor activities right on our doorstep, and with the weather (finally) getting cooler, there’s no better time to explore the city.
The Reel Deal
If you prefer your aquatic activities to end with a grill, then a day of fishing is just the ticket to teach kids about patience, timing – and the food cycle. Beginners can head to one of 18 reservoirs open to the public during the fishing season, which runs from September 1 until March 31 each year. Here, you’ll find a wide range of species including silver carp, tilapia, edible goldfish and the amusingly-titled Big Head, in surprising abundance. You’ll need to obtain a fishing licence from the Water Supplies Department before you go – this costs just $30 and is valid for up to three years.
Find out more at wsd.gov.hk.
There’s nothing quite like spending a night under canvas before waking up with the sun and the birds – as long as someone’s packed the mosquito repellent, that is. If you’re keen to get back to nature, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department runs a total of 41 free-of-charge campsites right across the territory. Situated in Lantau South Country Park, Nam Shan Campsite has flushing toilets, Lantau’s largest barbecue area, and even a small playground, along with sweeping views across both Mui Wo and Pui O. The site is easily accessed by public transport, though do note that non-residents are not permitted to drive on South Lantau Road.
For more information, visit afcd.gov.hk.
Get Up, Stand Up
Head out to Sai Kung for a fun day at sea, with a family stand-up paddleboarding (or SUP) class. Hone your balance, coordination and core muscles with this water sport, which is strenuous enough to count as a workout, but relaxed enough that you can enjoy the view as you paddle. The Hong Kong Stand Up Paddle Board Association is an active community of SUPers, running regular classes and events throughout the year. Suitable for children that can confidently swim 50 metres or more.
Find out more at hksupba.com
Watch The Birdie
Trainee twitchers may be surprised to note that Hong Kong is an excellent place to spot wild birds. Even more surprising is the fact that many of the prime spots are on Hong Kong Island itself, with Hong Kong Park, The Peak, Mount Davis and Lung Fu Shan all prime territory for Hong Kong’s 400+ native species. Further afield, the Mai Po Marshes in the northern New Territories is listed as a wetland site of significant international importance and is now managed as a nature reserve by the World Wildlife Foundation. The WWFs three-hour guided tour of the marshes and education centre is suitable for kids aged four and over.
Adults cost $120, kids $100. Book online at online.wwf.org.hk/booking.
Two Wheels Good
In a territory as mountainous as ours, it’s surprising that there are only ten designated mountain biking trails. Tightly regulated by the government, up until 2014 you were obliged to obtain a permit before hitting the trails. Happily, this requirement has now been abolished, meaning the only barrier to throwing yourself down a slope at speed is how far your nerves will stretch. Details of the trails – predominantly around Sai Kung and Lantau – can be found via the AFCD (afcd.gov.hk).
Alternatively, for something less adrenaline-fueled but still fascinating, join Mountain Biking Asia’s one-day New Territories tour, taking in the historic Shui Tau village, the mainland border and Lau Fau Shan fishing village before returning via the Hong Kong Wetland Park.
For more information on Mountain Biking Asia’s cycle tours see mountainbikingasia.com/hong-kong-cycling.