Length: 3 kilometres
Time: 1.5 hr return
Grade: Steep (reasonable level of fitness required)
Track: Gravel, Dirt, Stairs
Start/Finish: Ferntree Gully Picnic Ground (under the Kokoda Memorial Archway)
Nearby: Upper Ferntree Gully, Upwey, Sassafras
The 1000 Steps Walk is an institution for fitness enthusiasts across Melbourne. Making the 3km trek one of the most popular spots in the Dandenong Ranges National Park, but its steep terrain is not to be underestimated. But this suits many just fine who are often preparing to undertake the real "Kokoda Track".
Created in the early 1900s, the 1000 Steps Walk was originally made from the trunks of tree ferns laid along the wetter areas of the track to make the 290 metre ascent somewhat easier. These have been replaced by a combination of wooden steps and concrete section overtime to ensure that the track can cater for users year round in all weather.
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. The 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 1000 Steps follow a creek alignment up through the wet fern gully, walkers/runners will experience filtered sunlight through the Tree Ferns and Manna Gum as they make their way up, up up. There is always a range of native wildlife to enjoy along the way from birdlife to even the odd Lyrebird.
Once at the top you can take the Lyrebird Track, which makes a great return circuit, or continue on some 800m to One Tree Hill.
See if you can count the 1000 Steps? Is it more or less? Note weekends on this Track can be extremely busy, particularly in the mornings.