With commanding 360 degree views, Colonial Knob needs to be added to your Wellington day walks, hiking list. Offering great views as far north as Mt Taranaki and to the south, the Kaikoura Range. There are also excellent views out to Kapiti and Mana Islands, Porirua Harbour, Mt Kaukau and much more.
The Colonial Knob Walkway has a mixture of bush, 4 wheel-drive and farmland tracks. The bush walking section takes you through native forest which comprises mainly of kohekohe, tawa, stinkwood and mapou. The views are impressive once above the bushline, pick a nice day to do this 7 kilometre day walk and allow 3-4 hours. There are number of new mountain bike tracks in the area, so be mindful there will be mountain bikers about.
From the carpark at Spicer Botanical Park follow the track across the footbridge and into the park. There’s track information on the other side of the bridge, I suggest taking a copy of the map below. The walk is well signposted, however there are a couple of areas that are not clearly marked, if it’s your first time to the area, carrying a map is recommended. Continue pasted the signs and onto a small creek, if it’s too high or you don’t want wet feet, use the bridge to the left, it’s not obvious to see at first, however wander to the left and you will see it. Cross and head onto the first track junction, 2 minutes. Turn right and follow to Reservoir 2, there’s another track junction here keep following the track beside the reservoir. Mountain bikers also use this track which they’ve named the Doctor. At the end of the reservoir the track heads up stream for 5 minutes and then climbs to the right. At the top there are more mountain bike tracks, Crash Palace and Tumeke. Don’t walk on any of these, drop down onto the 4 wheel-drive track, head left until you reach the main 4 wheel-drive track, which isn’t far. I know this sounds a bit long winded but this is the only area that isn’t clearly marked for walkers. From the carpark to the main 4 wheel-drive track 45-60 minutes.
Once on the main 4 wheel-drive track, turn left and follow the steep gravel track to the top of Colonial Knob, 1-1.5 hours. At this point you’re above the bushline and open to the elements. The views get better the higher you climb, check-out the look out where the track from Camp Elsdon meets the 4 wheel-drive track, roughly half way up.
Colonial Knob stands at 468 metres, there’s an Airways radio station here, which assists with the radar control of the planes. Enjoy the the views.
From the top the track descends over farmland and is steep until you reach the Mt Kaukau/Ohariu Valley turn off, this section is marked with poles and very easy to follow. It’s also where the Te Araroa Trail heads off too. Continue pass the junction to the bush edge and descend the many steps to the track junction at the bottom. Turn left and follow the track to reservoir 2 and then back to the carpark. 1-1.5 hours.
This walk is accessed from the Broken Hill Road Porirua, 20 minutes north of Wellington traveling by car. For public transport, Kenepuru Railway Station for trains or bus 211 which stops on Raiha Street at the bottom of Broken Hill Road.
What to Take
Quite a bit of the walk is above the bushline and exposed to the elements. If the weather turns nasty and it can get windy, having the right gear for keeping dry and warm is essential. This is what I recommend you take:
- Food and drink
- Waterproof raincoat/over-trousers
- Sturdy footwear
- Warm clothing: thermals and fleece
- Hat and gloves
- Sunscreen and sunglasses
- First Aid Kit
This walk and any of the Day Walks in New Zealand can be tough, so for important information on what to bring check-out my blog on what to take hiking.
To print the above map, click on mapometer.com at the top of the map. The printing and PDF option at the bottom of this page will print or download the post except the map. Once you’ve clicked on mapometer, the link will take you to the printing or export option. If mapometer asks for your location decline, otherwise it will take you to your location and not the above map. This map gives great information for getting to the start of the track, however it’s only a guide of the route, for more detail on the track click on the topomap below, and this can also be printed.
Expect some variation in times depending on conditions and personal fitness levels. I’ve graded this a medium walk as there are some steep climbs, the tracks are well defined and well marked, the stream crossings are bridged and the duration of this walk is less than 6 hours. Where as, a hard walk is one that is more than 6 hours, will have longer steeper climbs, have river crossings and requires good navigational skills.
Have a great walk and please leave a comment 🙂