Hong Kong in a hurry — five family friendly spots

Tracey Spicer
Hong Kong's always happening (AAP images)
"I was prepared to hate Disneyland (or Merchandiseland, as one fellow traveller put it), but we were all soon swept away by the magic."
Tracey Spicer

Hong-Kong grabs you by the throat and takes you on the ride of your life. It's the perfect destination for kids with a short attention span. We sent the editor of Out & About With Kids, Tracey Spicer, to narrow down the top five spots for family fun.

1. The Peak

You could spend the whole day at Hong Kong's most popular tourist attraction. The kids will love riding the vertiginous funicular railway to the wok-shaped Peak Tower for spectacular views of the world's best skyline. There's also a kids' playground, virtual sports zone, Madame Tussauds wax museum, a shopping centre and dozens of restaurants. One is themed around the Forrest Gump movie, with all the shrimp you can eat.

2. Ocean Park

This pearl of the orient gets better with age. Built in 1977 as a simple oceanarium, Ocean Park is considered to be one of the top 10 amusement parks in the world. Death-defying rides dominate the headland, while the lowland features the recently refurbished giant panda habitat. This is, without doubt, the highlight of any family trip to Hong-Kong. The new additions, Ying Ying and Le Le, are just three years old, rumbling and tumbling like furry toddlers. The older pandas, An An and Jia Jia are slowing down a bit, the latter reaching 30 years of age. The Sea Jelly Spectacular is a visual feast of stingers gracefully gliding through the water, accompanied by theatrical lighting and classical music. Hop on one of the colourful cable cars for a breathtaking view of the mountains and sea.

3. Disneyland

The Hong-Kong franchise is the best Disneyland for kids under 10. Smaller than its US or European cousins, it's an easy walk down Main Street USA to Fantasyland, Tomorrowland and Adventureland to meet all your favourite characters. The adults in our party enjoyed it as much as the kids, especially Mickey's PhilharMagic 3-D, where you actually feel the breeze when a champagne cork pops. The latest attraction, It's a Small World, takes you on an enchanted boat ride past elaborate sets featuring dancing dolls from different nations. I was prepared to hate Disneyland (or Merchandiseland, as one fellow traveller put it), but we were all soon swept away by the magic.

4. Stanley Market

The Stanley market is a mecca for cheap, well-made children's clothes — manna for budget-conscious mums and dads. You can also pick up a quality handbag for as little as $20. Satisfy the kids with a swim at either Stanley or the bigger beach at the unfortunately named Repulse Bay. The historic Murray House on the Stanley waterfront also houses the fantastic Hong Kong Maritime Museum and a number of Western and Asian eateries.

5. Hong Kong Wetland Park

It's worth the trip out to the New Territories to see this man-made oasis. Flanked by 'pigeon's cages' (community housing blocks), the 60-hectare wetlands area is alive with crocodiles, mangroves, birds and butterflies. Inside, it's like miniature version of Canberra's Questacon, full of interactive, educational games for kids. You can create your own wetlands symphony in a sound booth or help caribou to migrate using touch screens. This tranquil eco attraction is a welcome escape from the haven of hedonism that is modern Hong-Kong.

Want more?

Check out Family fun in Hong Kong and Discover Hong Kong for more information.

We found Hong-Kong a fab destination for travellers both young and old. Have you taken the kids there? Would you? Tell us what you think.

User comments
My husband and I went to Hong Kong for the very first time last month. Thinking it would be a cheap plane ride from Singapore, we thought we'd give it a go, having heard so much about it. We expected a manic, crowded, slum-infested city that was a shopper's paradise. Instead, we found a bustling and vibrant city that was surprisngly clean and fresh in the winter air and the Hong Kong-ers are all very courteous and socially-aware people who are also very helpful! The shopping malls in Hong Kong are overrated, unless you're a millionaire but we loved all the street markets where you'd find everything from canvas paintings, to summer dresses, doggie clothes and even sex toys! Disney Land was magical but Ocean Park was too packed with shoving and shouting mainland tourists. The Peak is also definitely worth a visit! All in all, we found Hong Kong to be absolutely fantastic! Would strongly recommend it to everyone, with kids or otherwise.