If you love nature and want to get active in the outdoors there are many day hikes around Melbourne that you can add to your trip itinerary. The 1000 Steps Walk is a wonderful trail that you will love.
Recently I have been on a bike & hike adventure in the Dandenongs. Here is how to get there from Melbourne and how to make the most of this nature walk.
1000 Steps Walk – The best hike near Melbourne
If you are staying in Melbourne CBD, this hike is just the perfect choice, as it is well-connected with public transport. You can get on the Belgrave Train lane from Flinders Street Station 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 walk along an 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 finding a car parking space can be difficult, especially at peak times, i.e. 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.
1000 Steps Walk Trail – How to make the most of it
The 1000 Steps Trail is truly a great nature escape from Melbourne. It's only 50 minutes train ride from the city and by far the most popular day hike from Melbourne among the locals and visitors alike who flock here in masses every day. It’s very impressive to see the number of people hiking this trail at any time during the day. The park is open from 6.00 to 8.00pm and is probably one of the busiest places in the Dandenong Ranges.
1000 Steps Trail a.k.a. the Kokoda Memorial Walk
This walking trail is also known as the Kokoda Memorial Walk. 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.
The 1000 steps Trail is a short but steep track with a first gradual section of 400 meter followed by two-thirds of steep stoney path and narrow steps. You need a moderate level of fitness but being the walk a short one I think that almost anyone can do this hike. Being this walk very popular among Melburnians and locals, it gets very busy especially mornings and over weekends, when people come for an hour of exercise in the deep forest, which is good fro the body and the soul.
1000 Steps Walk – Extend it to more walking trails
Once you have completed the 1000 steps and have reached the top there are benches and water fountains where you can rest and refill your water bottle. Most people, who come here on a regular basis, usually take the Lyrebird track back to the base. But if you are visiting and want to maximize your explorations of the Dandenongs 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 took 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 then 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 car park.
These walking trails are indeed the best part of this area, because it's where wallabies and more wildlife can be seen in their natural habitat. On my hike last week I spotted 4 wallabies, 3 echidnas and different Australia native birds.
1000 Steps cafe
While there is a picnic ground at the base and at the top of the 1000 Steps Trail, if you don’t want to bring your own food, there is a good cafe at the entrance, the 1000 Steps Cafe, offering a good choice of food (vegan recipes too) cold drinks, cakes, snacks. This is the ideal place for a break after a long hike.
How much time to make the 1000 steps walk
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 paths, it can be from 2 to several hours.
I spent 3 hours hiking solo and I tell you I was happy to have gone on 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.
My Tips: It's an easy and safe walking trail that you can do on solo. Avoid peak time which are early mornings and weekends. Middle mornings and early afternoon are probably the best but also the warmest time to hike. Use public transport. Bring plenty of water, (you can refill your bottle at the fountains), a good wide-brimmed hat and some food with you. Take your rubbish back home. Also leave your dog at home! Dogs are not allowed in the Dandenong National Park.
Reasons for adding the 1000 Steps to your Melbourne itinerary
I think this is one of the best walks in Melbourne, you can do when you are in town. If you are active and love to be in the nature and want to see Australian wildlife, this is absolutely a top place in Victoria.
It's easy to get there, the park offers good facilities and various tracks for all levels of fitness. If you are looking for great hikes near Melbourne and ideas for day trips from the city, I would definitely add the 1000 steps walk in Ferntree Gully.
Plan half day if you use public transport but if If you are driving I would suggest planning a whole day, because nearby there are many interesting places to see in the Dandenongs.
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