Hong Kong first stops
First Stops is a collection of top picks you can rely on for a great time.
Exploration can take a million paths in Hong Kong, be it shoulder-rubbing your way through street markets or getting out of the hustle and into mountainous expanses, which are spotted with gems of Eastern heritage. For a day of discovery, you can't beat Lantau Island. Be sure to catch the Ngong Ping 360 cable car. The glass bubbles look like something out of a science fiction movie, giving you panoramic views of the island's surreal scenery. Once you've regathered yourself, a five-minute walk will take you to the base of the Big Buddha - a cultural marvel that draws pilgrims from all over Asia. Then there is only 268 steps to the top - the perfect travel fitness workout.
Hong Kong is a foodie's playground. There are tongue-tantalising sensations found anywhere, from basic street stalls to swanky rooftop restaurants. For market eats, soak up Temple Street's frenetic local energy. Sit yourself down on a plastic chair in the middle of the hectic street and get lost in the spicy oriental flavours. If you're longing for finer dining, make a booking at one of Hong Kong's Michelin star restaurants. Hong Kong is a city of contrast, and that's arguably seen best across its dinner plates.
'Just a drink' rarely exists in this city. As you sip the night away, you'll often be surrounded by panoramic views or any range of eccentrically-themed bar environments. If you're all about class, find a cocktail bar with views over Victoria Harbour's reflective waters. For the beer adventurer, there are British style pubs and craft beer tap rooms. Hong Kong also looks after single malt connoisseurs with a range of excellent whiskey bars.
You probably didn't know about the beautiful beaches that offset the fast-pace of the city, but they're well worth a visit. With powdery white sand, clear waters and, if you're lucky, an absence of footprints, Hong Kong's island coastlines offer locals relaxing respites from the hustle. For a convenient, resort-type feel visit Repulse Bay's skyscraper-laden shores. Or take in the slow-pace of Turtle Cove Beach in Tai Tam, where you'll often only share the sun with a few hard-shelled friends.
Hong Kong is packed with fun to be enjoyed at a variety of paces. Thrill-seekers will be drawn to Ocean Park, where you can scream your way around the theme park before catching your breath in the world-class aquarium. If you prefer your fun at a slower speed, bob across Victoria Harbour on a traditional junk boat. With their pirate-like appearance, these weathered looking vessels are a charming way to see the cityscape.
Whether it's by chance or eager planning, you'll probably have the fortune of seeing Hong Kong's Symphony of Lights one evening. The vibrant display will widen your eyes, as colourful skyscraper lights dance to the rhythm of the city. For a clear view, book a harbour boat cruise to catch the show at 8pm - it's on every evening. For an even bigger view, climb to the island's highest pinnacle on the 125-year-old Peak Tramway.
per person one way from Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch
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