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Cape D’Aguilar- Discover Hong Kong’s only marine reserve

Hong Kong is known for its shopping, dining, and breathtaking city views, but if that’s all you plan to do during your visit, you’ll miss out on some amazing views. Cape D’Aguilar is one such beautiful natural wonder.

With 230 offshore islands, Hong Kong has plenty of scenic spots worth exploring. We took a half-day tour to Cape D’Aguilar, just a short distance from the city. While it’s tempting to stay within the city limits, venturing beyond will give me a more complete picture of what Hong Kong has to offer. 

Don’t miss out on the breathtaking scenery that awaits you just outside the city!

As Cape D’Aguilar is quite a distance away from Aberdeen, our place of stay, we woke up early for breakfast and took public transportation. Later in this article, I will provide details on how to take public transport to reach Cape D’Aguilar. Let’s jump straight to the highlight of our Cape D’Aguilar hike.

Cape D'Aguilar

Cape D’Aguilar (鶴咀) is a prominent cape on the southeastern end of the D’Aguilar Peninsula on Hong Kong Island. It is named after Major-General George Charles d’Aguilar, a former General and Governor of Hong Kong. 

Geographically, Cape D’Aguilar is south of Shek O, and D’Aguilar Peak to its north. The cape is a part of the Cape D’Aguilar Marine Reserve, the only marine reserve in Hong Kong.

Watch the video we shot at Cape D’Aguilar (at the end of this article) 👇👇.

1. The rocks at 鶴咀石河

As we walked along the narrow tarred road, we passed by various houses of the village residents. The road mainly follows the beautiful coastline, giving us breathtaking scenery views on our right. On our left is a cliff with unique rock formations.

Cape D'Aguilar, 鶴咀石河

One of these formations is a popular viewpoint and a challenging climb for adventurous individuals. My brother once climbed to the top, which he found quite challenging.

2. Ng Fan Chau 五分洲

After walking for a while, we were greeted by the breathtaking sea view scenery. Not far from the coast, there is an island called Ng Fan Chau 五分洲. Its unique shape is naturally divided into five sections, making it a remarkable sight to behold.

Cape D'Aguilar, Ng Fan Chau 五分洲

3. Cape D’Aguilar Lighthouse

While continuing on the trail, we came across a staircase, then a hidden path that led us to 博加拉炮台 Bokhara Battery.

Cape D'Aguilar

Cape D'Aguilar, 博加拉炮台 Bokhara Battery.

(View of the lighthouse from Bokhara Battery.)

It is a viewpoint where the Cape D’Aguilar Lighthouse stands out in the panoramic view.

After that, we returned to the main trail and kept walking until we arrived at the lighthouse.

Cape D’Aguilar Lighthouse is, also known as Hok Tsui Beacon, the oldest surviving lighthouse in Hong Kong and one of the five pre-war surviving lighthouses in the region. 

The lighthouse is a 9.7-meter (32-foot) tall, round granite tower with a rustic stone block base and arched doorway. It was named after Major-General Sir George Charles d’Aguilar, a former Lieutenant Governor of Hong Kong.

Cape D'Aguilar, Cape D'Aguilar Lighthouse

The original light of the Cape D’Aguilar Lighthouse was a fixed dioptric first-order Fresnel lens, emitting a white light on a focal plane of 200 feet (61 meters) above sea level. In 1905, the light was removed from the lighthouse and has since been deactivated. Nevertheless, the lighthouse is worth visiting as it is perched on a hill, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding areas, the thundering ocean, and the beautiful sky ahead.

4. Thunder Cave 雷音洞

Cape D'Aguilar, Thunder Cave 雷音洞

We arrived at a hidden rocky path on our left as we approached the Marine Reserve. This path leads to the Thunder Cave. 

Cape D'Aguilar, Thunder Cave 雷音洞

Thunder Cave is a narrow, dark sea cave with a low ceiling. The cave is named after the thundering sound of the sea waves crashing against the rocks. It was formed from a small tunnel eroded by the sea over time.

Cape D'Aguilar, Thunder Cave 雷音洞

The cave is surrounded by oval stones that have been scoured by the heavy surf. As we ventured deeper into the cave, we heard the thundering sound of sea waves crashing onto the rocks. 

I attempted to take photos at a closer distance, but the waves repeatedly splashed me, completely drenching my jeans.

5. The Bones of Miss Willy

The Bones of Miss Willy

To get to the University of Hong Kong Swire Institute of Marine Science, we returned to the main path and continued down the slope. It is only a short hike from the Thunder Cave. There is a skeletal remains of a whale beside the Institute. Although the remains have been quite badly battered, they are still intact.

It is the skeleton of a juvenile male fin whale, measuring 6.4 meters (21 feet) in length. The whale’s skeleton has been on outdoor display since 1991.

Cape D'Aguilar

The story behind the whale’s skeleton dates back to 1955 when the fin whale, a baby at the time, was found in Victoria Harbour. Before disposing of the carcass, researchers intervened and preserved the skeleton.

The display is often mistakenly called the skeleton of Miss Willy, a female orca whale that performed at Ocean Park and died in 1997. However, the skeleton at Cape D’Aguilar is not that of Miss Willy, and this misconception has been circulating for some time. The display’s curator, Paul Williams, has emphasized the need to set the record straight.

6. The Crab Cave 蟹洞

Cape D'Aguilar, The Crab Cave 蟹洞

Located behind the Marine Institute building is the Crab Cave. We had to be mindful of the sharp rocks along the path to the cave. 

The cave, named for its crab-like appearance, features a pointed and arched structure. It has a pair of giant crab claws and eyes that can easily be visualized with a slight stretch of imagination.

The Crab Cave 蟹洞

While some people climbed to the top of the cave for a breathtaking ocean view, we stayed close to the ground, as Cape D’Aguilar was very windy, although it was on a clear day. The waves often crashed onto Crab Cave’s top, which was quite spectacular.

The Crab Cave 蟹洞

It is a great place to listen to the waves crashing onto the rugged coastline.

7. Cape D’Aguilar Battery 鶴咀炮台

We did not get there because the path is steep and winding. However, Cape D’Aguilar Battery, located on the southeastern edge of the D’Aguilar Peninsula in Hong Kong Island, is a significant historical site. Initially built by the Royal Navy as an emergency battery, the construction was completed in July 19391. The battery was fitted with two 4-inch BL naval guns. Sadly, it was abandoned shortly after its completion in 1941 during the Japanese invasion of Hong Kong in the Second World War.

How to get to Cape D’Aguilar

Cape D’Aguila is at the southeastern tip of Hong Kong Island. We took the standard Cape D’Aguilar trail that closely follows the coastline. It is approximately 8 kilometers (5 miles) round trip. The trail is mostly flat and paved, making it appropriate for individuals of all fitness levels and ages.

To get to Cape D’Aguilar, you can follow these simple steps:

  • Step 1: Take the MTR to Shau Kei Wan MTR station and exit at A3. Alternatively, you can take bus number 9 or the Shek O beach minibus from Shau Kei Wan MTR exit A3.
  • Step 2: Once you reach Shau Kei Wan, find the bus stop and board the line 9 bus. This bus will take you to the Cape D’Aguilar bus stop, the starting point for the hiking trail.
  • Step 3: After getting off at the Cape D’Aguilar bus stop, follow the Cape D’Aguilar Road to reach the Cape D’Aguilar Marine Reserve and its various attractions until the Crab Cave.

Watch the video we shot at Cape D’Aguilar 👇👇.

We also uploaded a video of our trip to Cape D’Aguilar. Please click the image below to bring you to our YouTube channel (shot in high definition!).

And if you like nature and hiking, check out my story of climbing Mount Kinabalu with my brother.