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Hong Kong's natural wonders – Ap Chau

Ap Chau Old Photo


Kat O



Ap Chau (or Robinson Island) is a small island off the north-eastern coast of the New Territories, lies between the island of Kat O and Sha Tau Kok. The Mainland port of Yantian in Shenzhen is less than two kilometres to the north. Only 0.04 square kilometres in size, Ap Chau is one of the smallest inhabited island in Hong Kong. Literally translated as “Duck Island”, Ap Chau takes its name from its shape when viewing from the north, which resembles a duck.

Although Ap Chau is a small island, it has 3 uniqueness:

  • It is the smallest inhabited island in Hong Kong.
  • It crops out rocks very rare in Hong Kong – reddish breccia.
  • It has a sea arch allow close observation and touch, Known as one of Hong Kong's natural wonders.




Ap Chau is largely composed of a reddish-brown breccia. In Hong Kong, this type of rock is found only in Ap Chau, Kat O and a few islands in Starling Inlet. Breccia is a type of sedimentary rock formed when weathering and erosion break down some other rocks into loose material and that material is then carried and deposited elsewhere by air, ice, wind, gravity, or water flows. Extended geological processes form this sediment into second-generation rock.

The word “breccia” comes from Italian, meaning either "loose gravel" or "stone made by cemented gravel". Breccia is composed of large angular fragments (over two millimeters in diameter) of broken rocks or minerals. The spaces between these fragments are filled with smaller particles and mineral cement that binds the rock together. Ap Chau’s breccia takes its distinctive reddish-brown colour from the oxidized iron within the rock.

The sea arch of Ap Chau is named Duck’s Eye, it is one of most famous geological attraction on the island. The arch is around two meters high by 10 meters wide; it is the geological product of 8000 years of wave erosion. Sea arches such as Ap Chau’s are caused when the weakest point of a coastal cliff is eroded into a cave, leaving the surrounding rock intact. As erosion continues, the cave deepens until sometimes, as in Ap Chau’s case, it cuts completely through the headland and forms an arch.


Ap Chau was uninhabited until the late 1920’s, when boat-dwelling fishing families from Kat O and Tap Mun who fished in nearby waters began using the island’s coast as an anchorage. During the 1940’s and 1950’s, the fishermen started to move onto the island, initially only using huts for repairing their nets and boats, but later building houses and moving ashore to live. Over the years, a fishing community gradually took shape on Ap Chau.

By the time of the 1955 census, Ap Chau had 645 residents. The Ap Chau community continued to grow as more fishermen moved ashore to settle. The population reached its height in the 1960’s when the island was home to more than 1,000 people. In the 1970’s, falling fishery stocks and alternative employment opportunities in the urban areas of Hong Kong and Kowloon and in the newly established New Towns of the New Territories combined to hasten the decline of the fishing industry in Hong Kong. This coincided with a demand for labour in the United Kingdom and it was relatively straightforward to satisfy the requirements for immigration there. As a result, many Ap Chau islanders chose to seek new opportunities in the United Kingdom. The island had lost more than 80% of its population to emigration to the United Kingdom by the end of the 1970’s. By the late 1980’s, there were only 10 households and about 100 residents left on Ap Chau.

Ap Chau Story Room

Ap Chau is an important geosite of the Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark. It has unique geological, ecological and cultural relics. In order to conserve and promote these precious heritages, the villagers, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department and the Lions Nature Education Foundation have teamed up to start the establishment of the Ap Chau Story Room in 2017 and it was was opened in April 2018.

   PDF [PDF] Leaflet download:Ap Chau


View point



Tin Hau Temple




How to get there

Take the ferry operating between Ma Liu Shui to Kat O and Ap Chau on Saturdays, Sundays and Public holidays or join a local tour.

To take the ferry, visitors can travel by MTR East Rail and get off at the University Station, Exit B, then walk for about 15 minutes to Ma Liu Shui Landing No.3 for the ferry service to Kat O and Ap Chau. The normal boat traveling time is about 2 hours. Visitors are advised to take the *ferry schedule into consideration in planning the trip.

Service days: Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays
Fare: $90 return ticket / $50 for single trip from Kat O to Ma Liu Shui only
Booking & enquiries: 2555 9269 (Best Sonic Industrial Limited)
(subject to operator’s announcement)

*Ferry Schedule
Route of ferry Departure Arrival
Depart from Ma Liu Shui to Kat O 8:30 am  
1st stop at Kat O   10:00 am
  Depart from Kat O 10:15 am  
2nd stop at Ap Chau   10:30 am
  Depart from Ap Chau 12:00 nn  
3rd stop at Kat O   12:15 pm
 Depart from Kat O 15:30 pm  
Back to Ma Liu Shui   17:00 pm



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