Hong Kong Observatory had predicted Wednesday to be a rainy day so I decided to hike by myself and planned to explore the Wong Nai Chung Gap trail.
Difficulty: 2/10 it’s more of a walk if you start from Hong Kong Parkview, Station 1.
Duration: 1 hour 45 minutes at a very relaxed pace
How to get there: Take NWFB numbers 6,6X, 66 from Exchange Square at Central or 76 from Causeway Bay, Queen’s road East to Wong Nai Chung Gap Reservoir park on Wong Nai Chung Gap road and keep walking towards Hong Kong Parkview, the majestic pink complex. The trail starts before the complex; near a parking lot, just before the Hong Kong Trail/Wilson Trail sign board.
Station 1 was at the small carpark opposite Park View and underneath the anti-aircraft position. The board gave an introduction to the invasion of Hong Kong and described how the Japanese crossed the border, and made their way south to the main defensive line north of Kowloon, before crossing the harbour on the night of December 18th 1941 to attack Hong Kong island itself.
For station 2, I climbed up the flight of steps to the site that witnessed a major skirmish on the morning on December 19th, 1941, as the Japanese fought to capture the two Vickers 3.7 inch mobile anti aircraft guns there. This battle left some 25 of the defenders dead, with many others (HKSRA, Winnipeg Grenadiers, and HKVDC) also losing their lives on site.
I continued on the trail. I passed an old bunker and a pillbox as I followed the sign pointing towards station 3.
For station 3, I walked through the catchwater and enjoyed the views in the distance, Brick Hill, Mount Nicholson and Ocean park.
I finally reached Station 3. The board described the valleys defensive force, and also gave a pictorial representation of key landmarks such as the site of the Wong Nai Chung Gap Police Station, Lawson’s West Brigade Headquarters, and others.
From station 3, I continued towards 4.
First I explored Station 4. Station four was alongside Jardin Look Out catchwater 2 the lower of the two defensive pillboxes manned by No. 3 (Machine Gun) Company, HKVDC (normally know as ‘Eurasian’). The pillbox was just behind it.
From station 4, I climbed up a few steps to station 5.
This pillbox housed the platoon commander during the fighting, and battle damage is still visible. Several times Japanese troops managed to swarm this position (attempting to drop grenades down the periscope shaft), until they were driven off by counter attacks from the lower pillbox.
I came across a wall with some Chinese writing and an old shed near station 5 too.
After that I retraced my steps and I walked towards station 6.
It was a walk to the Jardine’s Lookout Freshwater Service reservoir which was an open space.
Station 6 looked west into Wong Nai Chung Valley and the board described the attempted relief of Lawson’s position and the eventual domination of the valley by the Japanese, who used it to force their way south to the coast, and west to the hills behind the city.
Station 7 was there too. It looked north to Wanchai, Causeway Bay, Admiralty, and Central. It covered the urban fighting in these areas as the Japanese attempted to head west along the coast towards Victoria and the centre of Government, their progress in that direction being held up by Middlesex, HKVDC, and mixed units.
For station 8, I walked down steps. This was along Sir Cecil’s ride. I came to an intersection and followed the sign pointing towards Tai Tam Reservoir road.
It was a long walk. But the path was pretty and shaded.
On my way, I came across a nice shelter or sit our area. Maybe it was a part of the battery. I also came across a pretty red bull assassin bug.
I continued on the trail till I came to the station 8 board. This gave a description of the fight along that path.
From station 8 the walk to 9 was to the petrol pump opposite the Hong Kong Tennis center which was confusing.
I came to the Wong Nai Chung gap trail and continued on the trail. I walked down a flight of steps and walked towards the station 9. On the opposite side I saw the St. John War memorial plaque installed in memory of the soldiers who lost their lives in the 1941 war.
Once I got on the road I visited the St. John’s memorial and walked towards the Esso Petrol pump.
Station 9 was near the petrol pump. It is quite difficult to find but refer to the pictures above.
After crossing Wong Nai Chung Gap Road, I found station nine at the Lawson Bunker complex, next to the black stone Lawson’s Plaque.
From Station 9, I passed the petrol pump and walked to station 10 on the same side of the road.
Station 10 board described the final stages of the battle, in Stanley as well as the urban areas, that led to the surrender to the Japanese.
This station was opposite the Hong Kong Tennis centre.
And with station 10 the trail and my exploration came to an end.
I walked to the bus stop near the petrol pump and took the number 6 to Exchange Square in Central.
This trail left me in a pensive mood. I enjoyed the entire historical walk down but no one likes war and destruction. However, this was a very interesting hike for a history buff like me.
This is an easy hike which is child friendly and dog friendly.
If you try the hike from station 10 to 1 then it entails a climb but from 1 to 10 it’s a nice walk and mostly shaded which makes it a perfect summer hike.
Do try this hike and follow me for more interesting hikes on https://www.facebook.com/honkiehiker.
Happy Hiking and take care!