1000 Steps Walking Track

The 1000 Steps is one of the best known and most walked hikes in the Dandenongs. A steep, beautiful bushwalk that is challenging and used by many hikers as a fitness trail.

We have walked the 1000 Steps (again) to provide a more detailed photographic description, showing information plaques along the way as the walk is a dedication to the Kokoda Trail of Papua New Guinea.

It is also to encourage the use of public transport to visit the area, the walk notes detail how easy it is to make a day trip (or overnight stay) to the hills, taking in the steps as well as visiting the villages, perhaps going to the Dandenong Ranges Botanic Gardens or the Mt Dandenong Lookout and more.

The track is used by a variety of people, some in a hurry to beat their own personal goals, locals, and tourists all out for a bushwalk in the forest, so close to Melbourne.

It is easy to despise the thought of this walk as it is so busy, thousands of people walk here weekly. However, to be on the track and see the enthusiasm of walkers, some new to the experience and others seasoned ‘1000 steppers’ is an event in itself. A quieter walk nearby, yet still a challenge, Bellview Terrace or try ‘True Grit‘ on the other side of the mountain.

Watch our short video of the complete 1000 Steps walk

How long does it take to walk the 1000 Steps?

This depends on your fitness level and if you want to read the Kokoda Memorial plaques along the way. It can take from about 20 minutes to an hour.

Can I take my dog to the 1000 Steps?

No, it is part of the Dandenong Ranges National Park and dogs are not allowed. We do have plenty of dog-friendly walking tracks and cafes (as well as one of the best ever off-leash walks) in the Dandenongs though, find them here.

History of the One Thousand Steps

Built in the early 1900s, the 1000 Steps originally used the trunks of tree ferns as steps in the wetter sections and bare earth for the rest of the walk. Timber and concrete now form the steps and most of the pathway.

The 1000 Steps walk is a memorial to the soldiers of WW2 who lost their lives on the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea. 13 Memorial plaques are alongside the track, it is well worth pausing to read the stories. More plaques at the top of the Kokoda Memorial walk depict the local soldiers who fought in the war.

Each plaque has a brief history of a particular battle and a map showing where it took place on the Kokoda Track. The Kokoda Track memorial plaques, added to the Dandenong Ranges track in 1997, are replicas of those now on the actual Kokoda Track.

1000 Steps Address

1000 Steps, Ferntree Gully National Park

Corner of Burwood Highway and Mount Dandenong Tourist Road, Upper Ferntree Gully.

Parking at 1000 Steps

Parking by the 1000 steps can be a nightmare. Seriously. The car park seems quite sufficient for a good number of cars but it very quickly fills up with walkers and people there for picnics, the Tourist Road is often very congested with cars parked along the roadside (watch out for the signs and park correctly as fines are imposed).

An easy alternative is to use public transport…

Getting there by Train

To reach the Dandenong Ranges National Park and the famous 1000 steps walk from Melbourne by public transport catch a train on the Belgrave Line and get off at the Upper Ferntree Gully Station. From there, walk to the left along the Burwood Highway for about 1 km to the park entrance.

There is a public bus from the station up into the Dandenongs, but they do not have a stop by the park gate, so the short walk is required.

Map of how to get to the 1000 Steps from Melbourne

Getting there from the Dandenongs

For anyone living or staying in the Dandenongs, it is easy to catch a bus down the hill to walk the steps. Get off at the UFTG Train Station and walk back. There is no bus stop by the park, which is a surprise. We have asked about having a bus stop established there to encourage people to use public transport.

Hike and Stay Overnight

How about making the walk into an overnight hiking trip? Put on a day pack, leave the car behind and come to the hills. There is such a large choice of accommodation up here for singles, couples, families, and groups.

Sassafras and the surrounding villages have plenty of lovely places to stay.

Olinda / Mt Dandenong – Stay in a vintage caravan or choose one of the many other accommodation options.

Where to Eat near the 1000 Steps – BYO Food & Water or Buy Locally

There is a cafe in the park, see the menu choices and check opening hours here.  Opposite the train station in Upper Ferntree Gully, there is a good choice of cafes, bakery, chocolate shop…

There is a good picnic ground in the park with tables and shelters.

Carrying water on the walk is not a problem as drinking fountains and water bottle refill stations are at the base of the walk and at the top of the steps.

Are there really One thousand Steps?

No, not quite… read on to find out how many we counted…

Walking up the 1000 Steps

There is little chance of getting lost, the signs are so clear after walking through the main entrance. It can take from about 15 minutes to walk to the top, for anyone super fit and up for the challenge or about an hour if you are stopping to read the plaques along the way and taking in the beauty of the native forest.

A few seats are available on the track to rest weary bones or to simply take a break and relax…

Once we reached the top of the steps we followed Poachers Track to head down the hill to Tremont and catch a bus into Sassafras for afternoon tea (Olinda and Mt Dandenong Village are the next bus stops along the way). More details below.

Step by Step…

Entrance to 1000 Steps

Water Taps at 1000 Steps

With a flashing sign near the drinking fountains to point the way… one really can’t get lost.

Start of 1000 Steps walk

If the intention is to do the walk and return to the base, the circuit can be done by returning via the Lyrebird Track.

Kokada Memorial Plaque

Kokada Memorial Plaque

Start of 1000 Steps

Start of the (not actually) 1000 Steps

Step No. 24 – Ower’s Corner

Owers Corner Plaque

Step No. 54 – Imita Ridge

Imita Ridge

Walk between the trunk of what was a giant of the forest.

Walk between the trunk of what was a giant of the forest.

Step No. 74 – Brigade Hill

Brigade Hill Plaque, 1000 Steps Walk, Dandenong Ranges National Park

One Thousand Steps Walking Track, Dandenong Ranges, Near Melbourne

Step No. 308 – Templeton’s Crossing

Templeton's Crossing Plaque on the One Thousand Steps, Dandenong Ranges

Walking through cool temperate rainforest on the 1000 Steps, Dandenong Ranges

Step No. 498 – Seat… sit a while…

Seat - The first one on the track. Pause a while...

Step No. 532 – Eora Creek

Eora Creek Memorial, 1000 Steps, Dandenong Ranges

Walking Track guide to the 1000 Steps, Dandenong Ranges

Step No. 546 – Seat & Emergency Marker

Are there really 1000 Steps on the hiking trail in the Dandenong Ranges?

Step No. – 615 – Alolo Village

Alolo Village Memorial to the Kokoda Track - 1000 Steps, Dandenong Ranges

Rainforest Walk on the 1000 Steps, Dandenong Ranges

Step No. 673 – Isurava Village

Isurava Village Memorial Plaque

Walking the 1000 Steps, near Melbourne, Australia

Step No. 701 – Seat

Walking the 1000 Steps, near Melbourne, Australia

Step No. 780 – The top! More historical plaques to read, seats, cooling down/warming up exercise area and drinking fountains.

Kokoda Village Memorial Plaque, Walking the 1000 Steps, near Melbourne, Australia

Kokada Memorail Trail Description

Kokada Memorial Trail Description

Top of the 1000 Steps Walk in the Dandenong Ranges.

Drinking fountains and water bottle refill station!

‘Lest We Forget’

Nearest public toilets – at One Tree Hill, about 10 minutes walk further on.

Continuing on:

Three choices of further paths to take:

  1. Lyrebird Track which goes back down to the entrance.
  2. Keep on walking up to One Tree Hill.
  3. or take Poachers Track and walk down to catch a bus at Tremont (the way we went).

Catching a Bus from Tremont to Sassafras and beyond

At the top of the steps we took Poacher’s Track to the right, it is a very short walk to Churchill Drive.

Turning left on Churchill Drive, walk about 60 metres before crossing the road to the top of Titania Crescent, then walk down the Crescent, which is an unsealed road, and come out at the Dandenong Tourist Road in Tremont where there is a bus stop on Route 688 (Upper Ferntree Gully Station to Croydon service).

The bus passes through Sassafras, Olinda, Mount Dandenong and Kalorama.

Check the PTV website for bus timetables and public transport options in the Hills.

Walking down Titania Crescent, the road is unsealed and more of a bush track for the first half.

View from the Titania Crescent walk near the 1000 Steps

View on the way down via Titania Crescent

Tremont and the Bus Stop

Tremont and the Bus Stop

Walking into Sassafras rather than catching the bus

The walk into Sassy from the top of the 1000 Steps walk will take about 30-40 mins. From the top of the Steps, walk up the hill to One Tree Hill Road, turn right and follow the road all the way down to join the Tourist Road, turn left and follow the footpath into Sassy.

Pin for Later…

1000 Steps Dandenong Ranges Melbourne Australia