(Update from the National Parks Board on 2 June 2014: Public access to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve will be limited for about two years from 15 September 2014 as repair and restoration works will be carried out on the slopes, trails and forests in the reserve. The entire Reserve will be closed for the first six months. After that, the Main Road trail to the Summit will be reopened to visitors on weekends after six months while the rest of the reserve remains closed for another 18 months. Look out for more updates here.)
When one thinks of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, the first thing that comes to mind is the long steep paved road heading up Singapore’s tallest hill. However, there is a much more family-friendly, often overlooked destination at the foot of Bukit Timah Hill – Hindhede Nature Park.
Hindhede Nature Park
The Hindhede is a Danish family name (roughly pronounced “hin-d-her”) and the Hindhede Quarry at Bukit Timah Hill was named after Danish civil engineer Jens Hindhede. The Hindhede Nature Park opened in 2001 and, in contrast to the more popular, steep route to the summit of Bukit Timah Hill, was designed for families with young children. Its short trail starts from the Visitor Centre and runs in a loop to the Hindhede Quarry only 90 metres away.
What makes it family-friendly are its gentle inclines, playground which includes baby swings and unusual tire swings, trampoline and even a little zip line. The starting point for the Hindhede Nature Park is tucked away behind the Visitor’s Centre. As most people usually charge toward the summit, missing the park, it is usually quiet. This makes it a nice spot for families, even those with kids still in prams, to take a pleasant, easy walk.
The walkway leading into Hindhede Nature Park.
Look Out to the Hindhede Quarry
The Hindhede Quarry is a highlight of any visit to the Hindhede Nature Park. Granite mining in the quarry took place in the 1900s and ended only in the 1980s. From the lookout point at the far end of the trail, visitors can admire the now flooded quarry with its open escarpment. Kids will have fun looking out into the water for terrapins and fish, with the occasional brightly-coloured bird flying by over the water.
Hindhede Quarry at the foot of Bukit Timah Hill.
Terrapins in the waters of Hindhede Quarry.
Playground for the Kids
A kid-friendly area at Hindhede Nature Park is its wooden playground around the Waringin Hut. Other than a hexagon of swings, there is also a web of low-rope obstacles. A green plastic dinosaur looks strangely out of place in this setting while a short zip line can be found in an open lawn with picnic tables nearby.
Swings at the Children’s Playground.
Rope playground at Hindhede Nature Park.
Sadly, while the main children’s playground is still in decent shape, twelve years after the Hindhere Nature Park’s opening, one section of the adventure playground has not been well-kept and maintained. Two slides used to lead off from the main children’s playground downhill along the terrain. These have now been left in disrepair with one blocked off and another with a gaping section of the slide missing. Vegetation has overgrown these sections and they are now inaccessible. Make sure the kids don’t head down that way. We wish that NParks would take some steps to upkeep these sections. (Editor’s Note: we have informed NParks about this and they are addressing it.)
Section of the playground that needs to be fixed.
Head into the Nature Reserve
The more adventurous who want to head off the paved track can explore the little forest paths found at Hindhede Nature Park. These little paths lead downhill from the main path into the jungle. Even though not paved, they are well-marked and easy to follow, quickly leading back to the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve car park.
Pathways off the beaten track.
Quick Tips for a Visit to Hindhede Nature Park
Here are some tips for those thinking of visiting the Nature Park:
1. Visit in the morning or late afternoon when the weather is cooler.
2. It takes around 30 to 45 minutes to make a loop through the Hindhede Nature Park.
3. If you make a stop at the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve Visitor Centre part of your visit, coincide your visit with its opening hours which are between 8.30 am and 5.00 pm.
4. Amenities such as toilets and a drinking fountain can be found at the Visitor Centre.
5. Bring along some coins if you wish to get a drink from the vending machine after your walk. The vending machine can be found at the lower level of the Visitor Centre.
6. Put on some insect repellent.
How To Get There
Click here for more details on Hindhede Nature Park including the address, map and opening hours.
Have a great little day out!