Dandenong Ranges National Park: 1000 Steps

The 1000 Steps walk is an exaggeration. I walked it today and that did not feel like 1000 steps.

I spoke to one other walker and to a lady at an Information Centre and they both claimed 700+ steps. Still, the Kodoka Track Memorial Walk encompassing the 1000 Steps is still a challenge. Well, at least for some… I think…

Today, Hans The Hiker took the Belgrave train east from Melbourne city centre to Upper Ferntree Gully. The train station is at the foothills on Dandenong Ranges National Park and you can stroll from the there to the start of the 1000 Steps Walk.

A somewhat majestic entrance to “just” a walk wouldn’t you say? Although this is not just ANY walk…

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You are entering Kokoda Track Memorial Walk

The marking of the 1000 Steps Walk is in purple on the map below. Not all purple though, mind you. Only the top half are the actual steps. The rest in purple shows how you walk to get to the start of those steps.

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Map of the area. The 1000 Steps walk is the top purple half.

Here below is the start of the steps. With the mandatory warning signs, warranted this time. Even though today was a mix of sun and clouds but cold, the trail was slippery in places. Most of it in shade of course given that we are within a national park.

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Start of 1000 Steps Walk, where there are actual steps

I must say that the environment around the 1000 Steps walk was quite social. At this point I had chatted to 3 different other walkers.

I asked a youngish lady for directions as she seemed to know the environment. She sure did. She told me that she walks up and down those steps twice every day. Yep, fit alright.

I had also chatted to a couple around my age but dare I say not as fit as I am? Boast, boast… One either way…

Anyway, the couple were lovely and provided tips on cycling routes around the Dandenong’s. Next time…

Let the climb begin…

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Walkers on 1000 Steps Walk

I could provide umpteen photos of the 700 odd steps but I won’t. Sometimes, it was a bit steeper for a while and sometimes there were plateaus between the steps. Anyway, it looked pretty much like the above.

Soon enough though it was over. You end up here below.

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Top of 1000 Steps Walk

And this is how looked a bit broader at the top. Plenty of space to regain your bearings before you walk down those steps again. Or take one of several other options to get back to the picnic grounds again.

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Top of 1000 Steps Walk a bit further away

I chose to push on up another 500 meters or so, to something called One Tree Hill Picnic Ground.

To be honest, I am not quite sure what tree it referred to as there were plenty there. I assume that it is the one in the middle below, but who knows?

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One Tree Hill picnic ground

There were plenty of commemorative plaques and cairns spread out along the trail. Unsurprising given its Kokoda Trail focus. And name.

Here at One Tree Hill picnic ground, there were several cairns remembering the Kokoda campaign. I particularly liked the cairn below. Majestic and simple at the same time.

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Kokoda memorial at One Tree Hill picnic ground

One Tree Hill picnic ground also provided BBQ facilities, picnic tables and benches. And those all important outhouses. In fact, it was well serviced up there, but with no-one else but me there at the time.

I took a break there and ate a couple of fruits before returning to where the 1000 Steps ends up.

From there, I chose walking back down on the Lyrebird Track instead. Most other punters seemed to the same after walking up all those stairs. Well, there were more stairs there for the keen ones. Just in case you come here for step training only. Me, I avoided the stairs to train downwards walking and balance.

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Lyrebird Track, down from end of 1000 Steps Walk

Soon the trails merged. Up the 1000 Steps Walk to the right and coming down the Lyrebird Track to the left.

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Junction 1000 Steps Walk and Lyrebird Track

The 1000 Steps Cafe (Inventive name… Not.) then saw my business. The cafe is next to the parking area and on the way to and from the 1000 Steps so a much convenient stop.

A cup of coffee was a small reward for the effort.

It appeared that many other walkers had the same idea. There were some foot traffic in and out of the cafe as I was enjoying my brew there. Why not indeed?

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1000 Steps Cafe

I had some initial ideas of continuing my explorations in the area. But I got lazy and wandered back towards Upper Ferntree Gully train station for my ride back to town.

But not before a visit to the Visitors Information Centre next to the station. The lovely elderly ladies there were much accommodating. And chatty of course. They provided me with a stack of various hiking and cycling maps and pamphlets.

Plenty to enjoy and explore here around the Dandenong’s so I will be back. Perhaps with my bike next time. Although there seems to be plenty of walking tracks zigzagging the area. Back to home for research…

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