Guides by Lonely Planet
High Island Reservoir East Dam
A reservoir built in the 1970s, the South China Sea, and 14 million-year-old volcanic rocks make this one of Hong Kong's most breathtaking places. High Island East Dam is in the only part of Hong Kong Global Geopark that's reachable on foot, and the only place where you can touch the hexagonal rock columns. The scenery is surreal and made even more so by the presence of thousands of huge dolosse blocks (huge cement barriers shaped like jacks) placed along the coast to break sea waves.
Hong Kong's second reservoir built by sealing off the coast with dams – Plover Cove was the first – High Island was constructed to provide fresh water to the territory when mainland China shut down supply during the 1967 riots. It was designed by Binnie & Partners of London and constructed by an Italian company, Vianini Lavori. At the southern end of East Dam, you'll see a giant dolos block in sky blue. It's a memorial erected by Vianini Lavori to those who died on the project. Nearby there's a slab of concrete that commemorates, in Chinese and English, the inauguration of the reservoir in 1978. The construction of the reservoir had one unintentional effect – it made a part of what 30 years later became Hong Kong Global Geopark accessible on foot. Off the coast of the southern end of the dam is Po Pin Chau (literally, Broken-Sided Island), a massive sea stack with rock columns all over its face like a giant pipe-organ.