You'll think you've sprouted wings when you reach the top of the 468 metre high hill rising to the west of Porirua City. From this lofty perch on a clear day you can view many other high points - from the Kaikoura Range in the south to Mt Taranaki in the north-west.
Cast your eyes northwards and you can see as far as Waikanae. Swivel them south and you take in the suburbs of Tawa and Johnsonville. Just below is the city of Porirua and its harbour - a unique drowned river valley - stretching out towards Paremata and the Pauatahanui Inlet.
The seaward outlook takes in Kapiti and Mana Islands and, on a clear day, the South Island.
Early Maori named this peak Rangituhi (sky glow). Viewed from the harbour at sunset on a summer night the hills do indeed light up with a red glow.
Colonial Knob is one of several remnants of a peneplain - an eroded landmass that existed 30 million to 40 million years ago, before it was raised by earthquakes and erosion began to form hills.
The trek to Colonial Knob takes you through some of the last remaining native forest in the Tawa-Porirua basin. Most of its original cladding of rimu and rata was logged, although some mature trees survive in the Porirua Scenic Reserve. The forest today comprises mainly kohekohe, tawa and some rewarewa. On the higher slopes it is dominated by mahoe with broadleaf, stinkwood and mapou. These species are often associated with higher altitudes, reflecting the influence of the weather on this environment.