A small step for one man and pretty soon it’s time to stop for a cup of tea

Putting one step in front of the other can get you to many places, not all of them what they’re cracked up to be, writes Phil Brown

Jun 10, 2024, updated Jun 10, 2024
Hong Kong's spectacular Dragon's Back Trail is a favourite walk. (Image: Hong Kong Tourism Board.)

Hong Kong's spectacular Dragon's Back Trail is a favourite walk. (Image: Hong Kong Tourism Board.)

I don’t know about you but I intend to do more walking. I happen to like walking.

You certainly won’t ever catch me jogging or riding a bicycle. I shun both activities. But I like to walk and we have got into the rhythm of walking every afternoon. Luckily, we have a couple of nice parks nearby to walk through and a couple of creeks add to the attraction. Brisbane has plenty of nice walks.

My wife and I are thinking of doing some longer walks too, such as the West Highland Way in Scotland, Hadrian’s Wall and maybe a pilgrimage trail or two in Japan. Lots of Aussies are walking in Japan right now. They must be exhausted.

We went on a walk in Kyoto a few years ago, up a hill to a temple but admittedly I only got halfway. There happened to be a very nice little teahouse at the halfway mark and I stayed there while my wife and son went up to the summit.

I’d had it and I knew it.

We have taken to building walks into each holiday –  shortish walks that is. Last year in Singapore we did a couple. Yes, there are some great walks in Singapore.

This time we climbed Bukit Timah, the highest point in Singapore which isn’t very high at all. You have to run the gauntlet of some suspicious monkeys but it’s well worth it.

We also walked the old rail corridor, a newish walking track that cuts through the island. The great thing about walking in Singapore is that when you are finished there is always a nice air-conditioned mall nearby to retreat to afterwards.

In Hong Kong recently we did the famous Dragon’s Back walk, a couple of hours of struggle up and down Shek O Peak, a mountain overlooking the South China Sea in the South East of Hong Kong Island.

It is a moderate walk at times, they said, and I struggled. Sensing what was ahead I insisted on booking a limo to deposit us at the start of the walk where we met our guide.

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So, we arrived in pretty good shape. Just as well.

Walking was a feature of our first overseas trip together which featured 12 days trekking in the Nepal Himalayas. My wife talked me into it and, having done it before, she knew what was in store. She gilded the lily a bit though.

When I asked her to describe what was involved, she said we would be walking from hotel to hotel and I pictured a kind of Tyrolean scene with me wearing one of those funny little hats with a feather sticking out of it.

What she did not say was the hotels in question were basically medieval huts with no electricity or facilities. Yes, she left that out.

Starting from the village of Dhunche we trekked up into the alpine Langtang Valley although I didn’t trek so much as trudge, swearing as I went, the profanities echoing off the nearby peaks.

Compared to that most other walks are a doddle. What’s next? Well not the Camino de Santiago which is 825kms long. I’m thinking of a walk that starts close to a luxury hotel and finishes near a nice restaurant or teahouse.

I guess I mean a stroll really. Maybe Mt Coot-Tha? Any other suggestions?


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