I have been living in Wellington for nearly 6 months now, yet I haven’t written about any of my hiking adventures. How shocking! Rest assured; I have done plenty of walking since then. It’s time to change that.
At 468 metres, Colonial Knob is one of the highest hills in Wellington. It offers gorgeous views of our capital city, as well as nearby mountain ranges and islands out in the distance.
There are at least three different entrances to this walk, and the walk will take you 3-5 hours return, depending on which route you take. I have only taken the most direct route so far. This route is steeper and with plenty of steps, so it’s probably not for everyone. Reportedly one of the other routes is ‘longer but more scenic’, but I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything.
What it’s like to walk up Colonial Knob
Starting in a car park, I walked straight into native New Zealand bush. Despite the shade, I felt little relief from the humid summer heat. From here, it was a relentless set of steps to ascend. This place was beautiful, but it felt like torture at the same time. Furthermore, this place was packed. It’s not so ideal when you’re trying to avoid people while ascending steps all the time. Nonetheless, most people were pretty friendly and gave way or said a ‘hello’. For some reason, I saw lots of graffiti with anti-drug messages into the rails, like ‘meth kills’. Do they have a drug problem out here?
Anyways, the first part of this walk takes about 40-45 minutes (or longer if you’re really unfit). You’re essentially ascending steps through forest.
In the second half of the walk, the forest faded away into exposed farmland. Here the track joined up with other walking tracks and some mountain biking tracks. You have your first lookout, with gorgeous views of Wellington Harbour and Porirua. Many people seemed to only go this far. I say this because after this point I only saw the occasional lone walker, or crazy trail runner. After the first lookout, I followed a windy, gradually ascending trail to the summit, with multiple lookouts on the way. This part of the walk is great because you can see from all angles, and it is much easier than the steps I mentioned earlier. This part is completely exposed though, which means it can get really windy at times. I should probably mention here that Wellington is the windiest city in the world by average wind speed. Not today though, I was lucky and only felt a light foggy breeze, which occasionally concealed everything around me.
After about 1 hour 40 minutes, I reached the trig and someone happened to be there to take a photo of me, so I could tell everyone I had done it.
Overall thoughts and summary.
If you’re in Wellington and enjoy hiking, then you’re a knob to not try this walk. Just be prepared for the sun and possible wind at the top.