Victoria Peak (traditional Chinese: 太平山, or previously- 扯旗山), 554 meters (about 1817.6 feet) above sea level, is also known as Mount Austin, and locally as The Peak. It occupies the western part of the island and ascent is by way of the venerable Peak Tram. As most visitors would agree it’s the only way to truly experience the beauty of Hong Kong’s natural wonders.
As early as 19th century, the Peak attracted European & prominent residents because of its panoramic view over the colony and its temperate climate compared to the sub-tropical climate in the rest of Hong Kong. The sixth Governor of Hong Kong, Sir Richard MacDonnell had a summer residence built on the Peak circa 1868. Those that built houses named them whimsically, such The Eyrie, and the Austin Arms.
These original residents reached their homes by sedan chairs, which were carried up and down the steep slope of Victoria Peak. There was limited development in the Peak until the opening of the Peak Tram Funicular in 1888. (Refer article by same author on Maxwell’s Hill, Taiping, Malaysia).
The boost to accessibility caused by the opening of the Peak Tram created demand for residences on the Peak. Between 1904 and 1930, the Peak Reservation Ordinance designated the Peak as an exclusive residential area reserved for non-Chinese. They also reserved the Peak Tram for the use of such passengers during peak periods. The Peak remains an upmarket residential area, although residency today is based on wealth.
With some seven million visitors every year, the Peak is a major tourist attraction of Hong Kong. It offers spectacular views of the city and its harbours. The number of visitors led to the construction of two major leisure and shopping centres, the Peak Tower and the Peak Galleria, situated adjacent to each other.
Peak Garden at the Top