Cape Collinson (歌連臣角), also known as Hak Kok Tau (黑角頭) is a cape on the easternmost part of Hong Kong Island between Siu Sai Wan (小西灣), Ngan Wan (銀灣) and Big Wave Bay (大浪灣).
For the Cape Collinson hike, the hiking trail weaves through the cape while seeing a lighthouse, ancient rock carvings, and Cape Collinson Battery (哥連臣角砲台遺址) via the Leaping Dragon Walk (龍躍徑). The trail continues forward via Pottinger Peak Country Trail (砵甸乍山郊遊徑) and finishes at Big Wave Bay Beach (大浪灣泳灘).
If you are looking for an easy hiking trail in Hong Kong and want to see historic relics and panoramic views, then read on!
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What you need to know before trekking the Cape Collinson hike
Before you start hiking to Cape Collinson, take a look at my Hong Kong solo travel guide and get an overview of HK first.
Here are a few additional tips for the Cape Collinson hike:
- The best time for the hiking to Cape Collinson is late autumn, winter and early spring. Most of the trail is exposed to the sun so I would not recommend hiking during the height of summer.
- And if you can, hike to the cape during the week as this city trail is busy on weekends and holidays.
- Bring enough water for a few hours of hiking.
- Also, bring sunscreen and other sun protection.
- You may see a roaming wild pig or two. But do not panic; they won’t hurt you. Just don’t approach them and don’t feed them.
- Get an Octopus Card, a rechargeable smartcard for taking public transportation and use it for taking the bus to Siu Sai Wan. It costs $100HKD, but you can use $50 stored value and get your $50HKD refundable deposit when you leave HK.
How to hike to Cape Collinson Hong Kong
From Siu Sai Wan Promenade, hike up to Cape Collinson Lighthouse via the Cape Collinson Path. Then follow the Leaping Dragon Walk and Cape Collinson Road for short descend to the Cape Collinson Battery.
To continue forward, follow the Pottinger Peak Country Trail and hike towards Big Wave Bay.
Click on “more options” on the top left corner of Google Maps and the map will open in your browser or in the app on your smartphone.
- Difficulty: easy to intermediate
- Duration: 4 hours
- Distance: 6.5km
- What to bring: hiking shoes, sun protection (hat, sunglasses, sunscreen), water, snacks, smartphone (for taking photos and navigation)
Cape Collinson: how to get there
From anywhere in Hong Kong, take a bus to Island Resort Public Transport Interchange in Siu Sai Wan on the east end of Hong Kong Island. This is the closest public transportation hub to start hiking Cape Collinson.
- Many buses: to Island Resort Public Transport Interchange
- See bus info in the photo below
Find the start of Leaping Dragon Walk in Siu Sai Wan Promenade
When you arrive at the Island Resort Public Transport Interchange, walk towards the seaside promenade and turn right.
Once you are on the seaside pedestrian walkway in Siu Sai Wan Promenade, keep walking southeast, walk past the soccer field on the right and the start of The Leaping Dragon Walk is on the left, at the base of the staircase.
Walk up the flight of stairs until you reach a junction. The left path is Cape Collinson Path and will take you to the gated lighthouse and rock carvings. The right stairway continues up Leaping Dragon Walk, which will lead you to Cape Collinson Battery.
First, let’s explore the lighthouse and rock carvings, return to this spot, and continue forward to see the battery.
Left path: Cape Collinson Path to Cape Collinson Lighthouse and rock carvings
When you take the path on the left, this is the Cape Collinson Path and Cape Collinson Lighthouse is at the end of the paved walkway. The good news is that this path is super easy to hike but the bad news is the lighthouse is behind a gated fence. So this is as far as you can go.
Steep path to the ancient rock carvings
In front of the gated lighthouse, there is a small steep path on the left that will lead to the Rock Carving at Cape Collinson.
However, there is a warning sign at the entrance. It says “The path leading to the rock carving on the shore is unsafe. For your safety, please do not proceed further”. I can understand why there is a warning sign because the path is pretty steep and you might need to grab onto the trees as you hike down.
If you are an intermediate hiker and feeling adventurous, hike down the steep hill, walk past the colourful Tibetan prayer flags and hike down to the flat rocks near the coast.
I didn’t hike all the way down because I didn’t know what the condition was further down. But after reading a few blogs, I learned that the coast isn’t too far away. However, the rock carvings are actually not accessible by the trail. Nonetheless, the coastal scenery is quite beautiful.
Return to the junction and take path on the right for the Leaping Dragon Walk
Remember the junction between Cape Collinson Path and Leaping Dragon Walk? Walk back to that spot and continue forward by hiking up the Leaping Dragon Walk. You’ll walk past Siu Sai Wan Sitting Area No. 2 and see the blue railings for the stairs.
Continue walking up the stairs, which will eventually merge into a paved road. The road has a bit of an incline but is not difficult at all. And you might even see some wild pigs as I did!
Turn left on Cape Collinson Road
The Leaping Dragon Walk ends when the road intersects with Cape Collinson Road.
On the right, there is a small resting area called Cape Collinson Road Rest Garden. This is a good viewpoint of Siu Sai Wan and the surrounding areas. The Pottinger Peak Lookout as a similar view. More on that later.
Continue hiking by turning left on Cape Collinson Road. You can do that by either following the paved road, or walked up a few steps on the left at the intersection. This very short shortcut can save you about 2 minutes. Ha!
Then walk down Cape Collinson Road. You’ll pass by some benches, a small building on the right, and gorgeous view on the left. Watch out for cars especially minibus #18M, which goes to the Cape Collinson Correctional Institution at the end of the road.
Look for a red ribbon on the railing for the Cape Collinson Battery Hike
About 10 minutes into the hike down Cape Collinson Road, look for a red ribbon on the railing on the lefthand side. This is the start of the Cape Collinson Battery hike.
On Google Maps, it looks like it is a small road down to the coastline. But in real life, you have to jump over the railing and hike down a semi-paved path.
The hardest part of the trail is the top of the hill where it is a quick descend down a muddy path. It’s not slippery but it is pretty steep. Then the rest of the path is easy.
Descend down the Cape Collinson Battery hiking trail
The path will eventually turn into a series of stairs. Walk all the way down and Cape Collinson Battery is at the base of the stairway.
Cape Collinson Battery
Cape Collinson Battery has been around since 1938. It was constructed during Second World War by the British army and was used by the 36th Coast Battery and the 8th Coast Regiment Royal Artillery.
But the battery was destroyed three years later as the regiment relocated to Stanley. However, the ruins of the battery remained and have become a big attraction on the Cape Collinson hike.
Look for the vertical cliff on the inside of the cove
Before you leave the battery, walk towards the cove on the right to the battery. The rock formation around the cove is quite stunning.
And this is an excellent spot for rock climbers. I saw a few rock climbers at the base of the crag and I couldn’t figure out how they got there because there doesn’t seem to be a clear path from the main road to the rocky beach.
Leaving Cape Collinson Battery
On the way back up to the stairs, you can see a path that goes towards the other side of the coastline. When I was there, the stairs going down were no longer there.
But I did read on other blogs that there are supposed to be two batteries at Cape Collinson and the other battery is on the other side of the coast.
Since the path was somewhat broken off, I didn’t explore any further. If you are following my hiking itinerary and come to this point in the hike and can find the other battery, leave a comment below.
It’s got me thinking about going back, and I might just do that.
Walk to the start of Pottinger Peak Country Trail
Most people would visit the Cape Collinson lighthouse and the Cape Collinson Battery and call it a day.
But since I really like point-to-point hiking trails and don’t want to backtrack, I decided to continue forward and hike to Big Wave Bay especially because it’s not too far away.
So to continue forward with the hike, walk back towards the junction where Cape Collinson Road and Leaping Dragon Walk meet. There is a small temple on the left just before the roads intersect.
Next to the temple, there is a flight of stairs going up. This is the Pottinger Peak Country Trail and the start of the trail to both Big Wave Bay and Pottinger Peak.
Three choices: Pottinger Peak View Compass, Big Wave Bay, or Pottinger Peak Lookout
Walk up the flight of stairs for about 15 minutes or so. The path splits into three where now you have different options.
For this hiking itinerary, we will explore the viewing compass on the left, and continue forward to Big Wave Bay by hiking the center trail.
Turn left: see views from Pottinger Peak View Compass
First, turn left and walk for 2 minutes. There is a resting pagoda and a viewing compass at the end of the trail.
And at the very edge of the trail, you can see similar views as you saw before on Cape Collinson Road.
But since you are at a higher elevation, you can also see other places to the south like the houses of Shek O Village and the mountain on D’Aguilar Peninsula.
Turn right: hike up to Pottinger Peak Lookout
Although this isn’t part of the itinerary, I can tell you what is up at the Pottinger Peak Lookout (砵甸乍山眺望處) just in case you are curious.
The path up to Pottinger Peak Lookout takes about 20 minutes or so. The trail is overgrown with bushes and trees but still relatively clear. The view at the lookout point is similar to the views from the Cape Collinson Road Rest Garden as both lookout points are facing north. So you will see Siu Sai Wan, Junk Bay and part of Kowloon like Tseung Kwan O.
From the lookout, I hiked west towards Chai Wan. But the trail is unkept so there’s a bit of bushwhacking as you descend the mountain. Spoiler alert: there’s not much to see on this trail.
And since the view from the Pottinger Peak Lookout is very similar to the ones you’ve seen already, I decided to leave this out of the itinerary. You’re not missing much by not hiking up to this peak.
Go straight: continue on Pottinger Peak Country Trail towards Big Wave Bay Beach
So let’s continue forward! From the Pottinger Peak View Compass, backtrack to the junction where the road splits into three. Then continue trekking in the middle path and hike towards Big Wave Bay.
The hiking trail to Big Wave Bay isn’t long; about 1.5km or so. The entire path is either a paved walkway or stairs.
And the scenery starts to change as you are hiking south. You can see more of Shek O and D’Aguilar Peninsula.
At some point on the trail, Pottinger Peak Country Trail continues towards the west. But you’ll want to hike south towards Big Wave Bay. Don’t worry, there are signs.
Descend several flights of stairs to Big Wave Bay Beach
Towards the end of the hiking trail, the path descends the mountain. There are several flights of stairs that will eventually lead you to Big Wave Bay Beach.
Find the Rock Carving at Big Wave Bay
Before reaching the beach, you can see the ancient rock carvings at Big Wave Bay. These are one of the few coastal rock carvings along the coastlines of Hong Kong and they have all been declared as monuments under the Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance for protection.
Even though they were only discovered in 1970, it is believed that the carvings were made during the Bronze Age as the geometric patterns have a close resemblance to the ones during that period. That’s 3,000 years ago!
If you enjoy seeing these rock carvings, there are other similar rock carvings in Cheung Chau, Shek Pik, Wong Chuk Hang, Lung Ha Wan, Kau Sai Chau, Tung Lung Chau and Po Toi Island.
Arrive at the final destination: Big Wave Bay Beach
As the name suggests, the waves at Big Wave Bay Beach are big! The waves are so big that Big Wave Bay Beach is the best beach for surfing in Hong Kong.
During the warmer months, many local surfers go to this beach because of its accessibility. Plus, there are good facilities like change rooms, showers, and toilets. This off-the-beaten-path spot in Hong Kong has gained popularity with the surfing community.
And after several hours of hiking, you might want to get a snack or a drink at one of the local cafes. Or simply enjoy the beach before heading back to the city.
FYI, Big Wave Bay Beach is also a final destination for the Dragon’s Back hiking trail if you hike the long route via Hong Kong Trail Section 8. If you hike the Dragon’s Back, you can come back to Big Wave Beach again.
Catch the minibus to Shau Kei Wan MTR Station
When you are ready to go home, walk south and follow the road that will lead you to the Big Wave Bay Car Park.
At the top of the slanted road, there is a stop for the red minibus on the right and a bus stop (for bus #9) on the left.
Both bus and minibus go to Shau Kei Wan MTR Station. Take the minibus. It is faster and more frequent. I have been to Big Wave Bay Beach several times and have never seen bus #9 but have always seen a few minibuses waiting for passengers.
And for whatever reason, there is no number for this minibus. But this is the only minibus that will take you to Shau Kei Wan Station.
- Red Minibus: from Big Wave Bay to Shau Kei Wan MTR Station
- Time: 30 minutes
- Cost: $10HKD on weekdays ($13HKD on weekends and public holidays) cash only
- Check: 16Seats website for more information
Are you ready to trek the Cape Collinson hike?
The Cape Collinson hike is super easy to navigate and accessible. The only difficult parts are the ones going off course when you look for the rock carvings off Cape Collinson Path. But other than that, it’s a piece of cake!
And if you’re hiking solo, you won’t be the only one on the trails. There is always someone so you’ll never feel alone.
Other HK hikes you might be interested:
- Violet Hill and the Twins: hike over two mountains with over 1,000+ steps
- Rhino Rock Hike: see a rocky rhinoceros head in Stanley
- Pineapple Mountain: the Great Canyon of Hong Kong
- Lamma Island: hike from Sok Kwu Wan to Yung Shue Wan
- High Junk Peak: one of three sharpest peaks in HK
- Ma On Shan Hike: hike across the horse-saddle mountain to Sai Kung
- Pat Sin Leng Hike: hike over 8 peaks named after Chinese Mythological immortals
- Plover Cove Reservoir Country Trail: hike around HK’s largest reservoir
- Kowloon Peak and Suicide Cliff: see Hong Kong’s most dramatic cliff
- Po Pin Chau: hike around hexagonal rock columns in Sai Kung
- Tung O Ancient Trail: hike the coastal trail in Lantau North Country Park
- Lo Yan Shan hike: hike Chi Ma Wan Country Trail in southern Lantau Island
- Trio Beach hike: see a secret beach and rocky headland in Sai Kung
- Tsing Yi Nature Trails: meander through the easy trails in Tsing Yi
- Tsing Yi Peak: hike the three peaks on Tsing Yi Island
- Ma Shi Chau Nature Trail: see 280 million year old rocks in Tai Po
- Fan Lau hike: explore the southwest tip of Lantau Island
- Po Toi Island: see Hong Kong’s South Pole
- Tai Tan Country Trail: hike an easy coastal trail in Sai Kung
- Robin’s Nest Hike and Lin Ma Hang Cave: explore northern HK near the Shenzhen border
- Kai Kung Leng: hike the Rooster Ridge in Lam Tsuen Country Park