By Jonathan Evans
By comparison with peninsular Macau, Taipa or Cotai, Coloane, the southernmost parish of the territory, is sparsely populated and given over more to nature than modern development. More than 90% of its area is covered by woods, parks and gardens.
From the beaches of Hac Sa and white-sand Cheoc Van (Bamboo Bay) to Coloane Alto, towering 176 metres above sea level, Macau’s “green lung” contains the city’s most varied terrain. Over the course of its undulating landscape there are 11 options for hikers to explore trails of various lengths and difficulty levels. Many are interconnected, allowing for a holistic appreciation of the multifaceted scenery.
The 8km Coloane Trail, suitable for hikers with a good level of fitness, is the most popular, encircling the centre of the parish at an average elevation of 100 metres above sea level. Hikers ascend alongside precariously poised boulders and lush greenery, before finally reaching A-Ma Cultural Village, near the summit.
Tian Hou Palace
By this point the vistas are spectacular, looking out to the South China Sea beyond. The Cultural Village, with its pavilion style gate, carved marble altar and Tian Hou Palace, is dedicated to the seafarers’ goddess. Hikers can proceed along another trail up to Coloane Alto, and its white-jade, 20m-tall A-Ma Statue, illuminated dramatically by night.
The 2.7km Coloane North-East Hiking Trail is the longest stretch of a three-route network that also includes Acacia Woods Walk and a Golf Course Walk. One of the parish’s most serene and naturally beautiful trails, it showcases a wide variety of trees and flowers.
Closer to the centre of Coloane, Ka Ho Reservoir Lakeside Walk (1.5km) is a gentle stroll that encircles the lake, inviting postcard-perfect photo-ops of hills, emerald-green water, wild birds and flowers. There’s also an Outdoor Experience Camp and Freshwater-Wetland Ecological Zone, designed to enhance visitors’ understanding of nature.
Ka Ho Reservoir Lakeside Walk
In the south-east, the 1.5 km Hac Sa Reservoir Family Walk is a stunning path that allows visitors to ride in paddle boats and canoes. It eventually leads to an alluring view of Hac Sa Beach, a popular launchpad for boats that’s known as a black-sand stretch, though it’s closer to beige. Hikers with extra reserves of energy can continue to the Hac Sa Reservoir Fitness Walk (2.65km), with its nine fitness stations and enticing coastal path; apart from panoramic views of the sea, there are impressive rock formations and a wide variety of flora.
Hac Sa Reservoir Family Walk
On the opposite side of Coloane, Seac Pai Van Park Nature Walk (1.7km) is a picturesque education in ecology and animal life. At the start of the trail is Seac Pai Van Park, Macau’s largest area of greenery, whose undoubted highlight is the Macau Giant Panda Pavilion with its residents Kai Kai and Xin Xin, and their two-year-old twin cubs Jian Jian and Kang Kang. The park also leads off into the Seac Pai Van Nature Education Walk.
Macau Giant Panda Pavilion
Nature Walk visitors can try four paths of varying lengths and landscapes, with pavilions along the way to soak up the views. After passing the reservoir, the more physically able can climb to Peak View Pavilion up a path strewn with acacia, pandanus and cassytha.
Finally, for a rugged adventure in the south-eastern corner, try Seac Min Pun Ancient Path (1.5km) – as its name suggests, Coloane’s oldest historic trail. Until paved roads arrived in the 1960s, locals could only travel between peninsular Macau and Coloane by water, while merchants from Hac Sa and Coloane Village had to traverse this sinuous walkway to do business.
Rare screwpine, and wild plants such as uvaria and climbing fern, enliven the eastern valley section facing Hac Sa Beach. The western section, overlooking Coloane Village, boasts intriguing rock formations. At the bottom of the valley, the clear stream spilling from a stone basin is a stark reminder of the lengths residents went to just to meet their basic needs.
Hac Sa Coastal Trail
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