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19 January 2013
The 1000 steps is also known as the Kokoda Track Memorial
Walk. I believe it is because it is likened to the Kakoda Trail in Papua New Guinea. This walking trail is a beautiful walking track with adjacent forested areas, bushlands and various scenic points. You can easily find this walking trail located in the Dandenong Ranges National Park. It is not only known as a great tourist spot but it is frequent by locals going there for picnics, with many using the coin operated BBQ’s doing their weekly
exercise and enjoying the beautiful parklands and numerous view points. These steps are just as perfect a spot to visit with the kids for a weekend family outing or for someone in training for the real Kokoda Trail.
The 1000 steps trail begins at the Ferntree Gully point near the ranger’s office and finishes at the picnic ground of One Tree Hill. While visiting the steps, you will get a glimpse of the physical effort taken by the Australian soldiers during 1942.As you make your way through the original steps, you will notice plaques along the trail depict the lives of the soldiers who fought and died on the real Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea, during World War II. According to Parks Victoria’s Park Note, “The 1000 Steps represent the
‘Golden Staircase’ a name given by Australian soldiers to the 2000 steps cut by the Australian Army Engineers and others into the track between Uberi and Imita Ridge.” The track is set amongst a beautiful rainforest backdrop of the ferns, foliage and wildlife.
As the name suggests the 1000 steps winds and climbs up 1000 stony and deep steps that lead to the popular One Tree Hill. Don’t worry if you are unfit as you can go at your own pace, read the plaques along the way and take as long as you want. If you are unfit, it might take you several hours to finish both the original track and the steps. I was told by walker that there aren’t actually
1000 steps but around 770 (obviously he counted as he walked of them) but as I climbed, it feels like 2000 steps !
For those who are not as fit, don’t worry as there is a new track that is not as crowded and not as many steps. It is located just pass the Tree Frog cafe. I read somewhere that it is approx a 1,500 meter climb. This track incorporate the natural gravel path and some steps ( to assist walkers on their way down the steep walk down). However you can also use the steps to get up. The steps on this new path is wider and much lower than the original steps. In my opinion, it is not as difficult as compared to the original steps. As the path
is wider, you can relax and enjoy your walk up to the One Tree Hill destination. I am not very
fit and this trail took me 45 minutes to get up to the top ( with about 10 of 3 minute stops for a breather !)
In both tracks, you will also see athletes, both men and women running up the steps because it is such a great workout. Both tracks can challenging, but you will see people of all ages, older, younger kids, and people of all physical conditions, athletes, runners, non-athletes etc climbing both 1000 steps.
At the top there isn’t a view and any tourist could ask why bother climbing this hill. Well, the attraction is the 1000 Steps, it is free and at the end of the climb, you can say you have achieved climbing the 1000 steps. There are additional trails at the top of the steps for those who want to hike further too.
If visiting during the weekend, you will see many serious climbers, runners and group fitness people huffing and puffing prior 8am. About or after lunch times you will see more of friends and family of all ages taking their time going up these
steps and those times are the best if you want to be able to go at your own pace, without having to stop to let people pass or wait for others to let you pass them. There would naturally be less people on rainy days, but the steps can even be slippery on dry days so make sure you’re equipped with good shoes and watch your step. Otherwise, climb up the newly constructed path ( no plagues along the way) as paths are wider.
The return journey on the 1000 steps can be back done by walking the same track as you climbed up or you can walk down the gravel path ( 3km walk ) from the top of One Tree Hill ( Don’t cross the road for cars, track is o the left hand side if you are facing the road )
It is a good idea to wear proper walking shoes and plenty of water especially on a hot day. For the older folks with problems in walking, it might be wise to bring along your hiking poles. The temperature can be a couple degrees cooler in this area. As a tourist, if you don’t have time, I won’t bother with this walk as you can see similar bushland as you drive up this Dandenong mountain.
If you have any questions, we will try my best to answer them for you (based on our personal experiences). Otherwise, we love to hear from you. Give us your feedback on this article or leave us a comment
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