As a Melburnian, I’m well-versed when it comes to transport by tram. Though, I don’t think even Melbourne’s trams could scale Victoria Peak’s steep aspect.
The Peak Tram runs up and down the dizzying heights of Hong Kong’s mountainous terrain, ferrying residents and tourists alike from Garden Road to within metres of Victoria Peak’s summit; many want to take in spectacular views of this high-rise destination. While many people wait for their turn in line, I’m taken aback when I hear the rattles approaching closer and closer. The tram has been successfully running up and down Hong Kong’s highest mountain since the 1800s and I’m told that British officials and military took this trip regularly. Still, I’m wondering how on earth a tram can climb Victoria Peak at such a head-spinning angle.
We clamber aboard, the tram jolts and we’re off. As the climb commences, I’m edged further backwards, my back starts to grip the seat. We climb higher and higher, the route becoming steeper and steeper as we ascend along the one-and-a-half-kilometre journey. It feels as though my body is almost lying down, yet the striking view beside me distracts me from my concern. It’s here where the sky seems to meet the shrublands that hug the side of Victoria Peak. Multi-storey skyscrapers and apartment blocks lose their imposing statuesque look; they’re just shooting up like small trees below us. Tourists who took the earlier trip squeeze into a pagoda-style lookout, edging closer for glimpses of the million-dollar views.
As we disembark, about 150 metres shy of the summit, I breathe a small sign of relief that my body is back to its vertical orientation. I take in the views and mid-morning sun, calming myself before my journey back to ground level.