1000 Steps – A Guide to the Best Walk Near Melbourne
If you love nature and want to get active in the outdoors, there are many walks near Melbourne that you can do. The 1000 Steps Walk in the Dandenongs is a beautiful trail that you will love. The thousand step trail is truly a unique nature escape from Melbourne. It’s only 50 minutes train ride from the city and by far the most popular day walk around Melbourne among the locals and visitors alike who flock here in masses every day. It’s awe-inspiring to see the number of people hiking this trail at any time during the day. The park is open from 6.00 to 8.00 pm and is probably one of the busiest places in the Dandenong Ranges.
Best ways to get there from Melbourne
By train and by car
If you are visiting Melbourne, the thousand steps walk is just the perfect choice, as it is super well-connected both by public transportation. Get the Belgrave Train lane from Flinders Street Station in the city and get off at Upper Ferntree Gully Station. The train journey is about 50 minutes on the express service. From there it’s only 800 mt distance to walk through elevated biking and walking path, which connects the train station to the entrance of the park. You can also drive if you have a car, but despite the big car park, finding a space can be tricky. So if you drive, avoid peak times, early mornings and weekends.
If you have a bike, you can either bike from the city, but it’s quite a long ride, about 40 km, or you can also take it with you on the train (no charge) and get off along the way, at Ringwood or Boronia Station. From there you can bike along the Blind Creek Trail, a flat bike trail winding along the creek to the base of the 1000 steps walk car park entrance.
Why is this trail named Kokoda Memorial Track
This walking trail is also known as the Kokoda Memorial Track. All along the way, there are plaques where you can stop and read the information about facts and events of the Australian soldiers who fought and died on the Kokoda Trail Papua New Guinea in World War II.
What you will see on this Dandenong Trail
The 1000 steps is a short but steep track with a first gradual section of 400 meters followed by two-thirds of the steep stony path and narrow steps. You need a moderate level of fitness to be able to walk up to the top, and being this walk very popular among Melburnians and locals, it gets jam-packed especially mornings and over weekends, when people come for an hour of exercise in the deep forest, which is good for the body and the soul.
Why you should extend the 1000 Steps Trail
Once you have completed the thousand steps trail, and have reached the top of the hill, there are benches and water fountains to rest and refill your water bottle. Most people, who come here regularly, usually walk the Lyrebird Track to the base. But if you want to maximise your explorations of the Dandenongs National Park, you should continue up to One Tree Hill Picnic Ground.
Here there is a BBQ and toilets and more Kokoda War Memorials which can be accessed by car too. From there I suggest taking the Tyson Track, a short-circuit trail which takes you through dry forests of huge ash mountain trees. A beautiful and peaceful deep forest trail. The circuit joins the Outlook Track with views of the surrounding hills and suburbs. I continued to the intersection with other trails and kept walking along the Ramut Avenue onto the Belview Terrace track. This last one meanders through the forests for about 2 km leading back to the 1000 steps carpark.
These walking trails are indeed the best part of this area because it’s where you can see native Australian animals, like wallabies echidnas, and more wildlife can be seen in their natural habitat. On my hike last week I spotted four wallabies, three echidnas and various native birds.
Stop at the 1000 Steps Cafe
While there is a picnic ground at the base and the top of the one thousand steps, if you don’t want to bring your food, there is a good cafe at the entrance, the 1000 Steps Cafe, offering a right choice of foods (vegan recipes too) cold drinks, cakes, snacks. This is the ideal place for a break after a long hike.
How long to walk the 1000 Steps
Depending on your level of fitness and how fast you walk, it will take between 30 to 45 minutes to reach the top of the hill. From there if you walk back along the Lyrebird track add 20 to 30 minutes. If you are keen to explore more and extend the basic walk with other walking trails, it can be from 2 to several hours.
I spent 3 hours walking the kokoda 1000 steps, and I tell you I was happy to have done the big loop. This is the best way to walk away from the crowded path and got to see many native Australian animals in the wild, that you will otherwise not see.
8 Tips for walking the 1000 Steps
1. It’s easy and safe, you can walk it solo.
2. Avoid peak time which (mornings and weekends). Early afternoon is probably less busy.
3. Prefer using public transport from Melbourne. Plan half day if you use public transport but if If you are driving. You can get your Myki card, and for less than 10 dollars you can go and return to the Dandenongs.
4. Bring 1-2 litres of water, (you can refill your bottle at the fountains).
5. Bring a wide-brimmed hat.
6. Pack some snacks and food.
7. Take your rubbish back home.
8. Leave your dog at home. Dogs are not allowed in the Dandenong National Park.
Conclusion about the 1000 Steps Walk Melbourne
I think the thousands steps is the best walk near Melbourne, and you can plan it in for half-day trip too. If you are active, love nature and want to see wildlife, this is absolutely a top place in Victoria. There are many good reasons to explore the thousands steps trail.
It’s easy to get there; the park offers excellent facilities and various tracks that you can combine, for all levels of fitness. If you are looking for the best walking trails near Melbourne and ideas for day trips from the city, this Dandenong Steps in the Ferntree Gully is an absolutely first-class choice trail.
But if you prefer driving or are planning extended day trips around Melbourne, then check this list of resources here below, to better plan your trips.
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Last updated April 2020
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