Reporting & Photos By Rachel Sadler
A leisurely 15-minute walk from Disneyland Resort MTR station, Inspiration Lake Recreation Centre is a glorious place to spend a day. It spans a full 30 hectares and at its heart is a 12-hectare artificial lake, the largest in Hong Kong, which serves both for recreational purposes and as a source of irrigation for Penny’s Bay.
Entry to the recreation centre is free and it’s open from 9am to 7pm daily. There’s a boat and bike rental centre, an arboretum, a children’s playground and a 1,500-metre jogging trail with exercise areas. There are also lockers, shaded picnic tables and clean restrooms (including a baby-changing table) near the entrance. The lake itself features a cascading waterfall, as well as a fountain that can shoot jets of water 18 metres high.
Nestled between rolling green hills, Inspiration Lake is too expansive to be appreciated at first glance or from just one angle. To admire it fully, your best bet is to get out on the water by renting a pedalo from the boat rental centre. You can hire a two- or four-person pedalo for 30 or 60 minutes from HK$70. Alternatively, head left at the boat rental centre and follow the paved jogging trail around the water’s edge, stopping off occasionally to enjoy the view from a well-positioned bench.
The breezy arboretum beside the lake is home to some 4,800 trees and 430,000 shrubs, and it’s a lovely, shady spot for a picnic. Continuing along the path, you see elegant gazebos and cross a small bridge overlooking an artificial waterfall decorated with huge, man-made boulders. If you’re feeling really active, you can rent a two- or four-person surrey bike (for 30 minutes or an hour from HK$100) and pedal around the entire 30-hectare park.
To enjoy a full day by Inspiration Lake, pack a picnic with plenty of food, and stock up on cold drinks and snacks at the onsite 7-Eleven. The centre gets busy at the weekend and on public holidays but the rest of the time you can have it pretty much to yourself.