1000 Steps, Dandenong Ranges
The 1000 Steps walk is the busiest in the Dandenong Ranges. It is a stunning walk, steep, narrow and not quite 1000 steps. It is also known as the Kokoda Memorial Trail. Many people use the track as a fitness challenge but it deserves respect, this is an important memorial and the signage along the way is well worth pausing to read.
The Kokoda track was built in the early 1900’s, as a memorial and reminder of the famous track in Papua New Guinea, location of the World War 2 battle between Japanese and Australian forces in 1942.
This is a beautiful walk and does not need to be done at a running pace. It can be tackled in a circular direction, taking in Lyrebird track, or straight up and down the 1000 steps. Signage requests ‘No Running’ on the steps.
1000 Steps Address
Upper Ferntree Gully on the corner of the Burwood Highway and Mt Dandenong Tourist Road, the National Park is easily accessed and get very busy with walkers and people having picnics.
Parking at the 1000 Steps
Parking is very limited at the base of the trail, one option is to start from the One Tree Hill carpark and walk down Lyrebird Track and then up the Thousand Steps.
Getting there on Public Transport
Use public transport – catch a train to Upper Ferntree Gully (on the Belgrave Line), come out of the station and walk 1 km approximately to the left along the Burwood Highway.
The train from Flinders Street Station takes approximately 1 hour 15 minutes.
Walk Notes for the 1000 Steps Track
- Total Distance: 4.3 kms (doing the loop of Lyrebird Track too).
- Walking time: 1.5 – 2 hours
- Steep inclines, many steps. Reasonable fitness required, take your time!
- Toilets and parking available at Upper Ferntree Gully Park and One Tree Hill
- Not suitable for baby buggies!
- No dogs allowed.
- Parking at the base or at One Tree Hill (a wiser choice).
Parking Note: cars are often parked along the Mt Dandenong tourist Road. Do not park illegally as fines are often imposed.
Start of 1000 Steps / Kokoda Trail Walk:
The Thousand Steps/Kokoda Trail walk is easy to find from the lower car park. Simply follow the signs! It is about 800 metres to the actual beginning, passing memorial points along the way as well as a small playground and cafe.
At the base of the walk, the Kokoda Memorial area is must read. Detailed information about the history of the ‘real’ Kokoda Trail.
Signage is clear and easy to see along the way. There are a cafe, toilet block and even a kids playground at the base.
The walking track to the beginning of the 1000 Steps is about 800 metres from the car parking area. Signage here states that people are not to run on the steps for safety reasons…
It is such a beautiful walk, the undergrowth is lush and home to Lyrebirds – look and listen carefully…
Every inch of the trail has beauty. Deep green mosses and lichen, plus the delectable scent of the Australian bush… lovely.
The remains of old growth trees covered in deep green moss…
Views through the trees to distant Lysterfield Lake can be seen on the way. Benches provide an opportunity to relax and take in the trail.
Plaques describing various locations along the real Kokoda Trail are placed evenly on the track, interesting reading and a grand excuse to stop to catch one’s breath!
Don’t feel pressured to keep up a fast pace as fitness fanatics pass by, take your time to read the history of the Kokoda Memorial Trail.
After walking up the 1000 Steps in the Dandenongs, a good return option is to follow Lyrebird Trackback down. This image is deceptive! It is a steep track and can be slippery underfoot with loose gravel on the surface. The new steps make it easier than it used to be.
Another starting option is to begin the walk at one tree hill and head down.
One Tree Hill Memorial.
A reasonable level of fitness is required to do this trail easily, take your time and enjoy the beauty of the area – there is no need to rush!
Beautiful Tree Fern, fallen some years ago, but still alive. Used as an occasional seat by passersby, it is a good example of life – If you get knocked down at times, get up and keep going (growing).