The Kokoda Track Memorial Walk (incorporating the 1000 Steps) departs from Ferntree Gully Picnic Ground, winding up a steep hill along a creek through lush rainforest, before emerging into a clearing where you can enjoy great views of Melbourne through the trees. Complete the loop by taking the Lyrebird Track back to the carpark.
The path is steep and beautiful, which makes it attractive to fitness walkers and tourists however please leave your dog at home, as this walk is not for your pets. Dogs are not allowed at the 1,000 Steps.
The 1000 Steps Cafe
The 1000 Steps Café is nestled under the tranquil gumtrees of the Dandenong Ranges. Start your day with a coffee while absorbing the picturesque surroundings of the national park, or take a seat and enjoy the great range of food and drinks off the menu. Inside you can take your time surrounded by locally-produced artwork and watch the world go by from our window seats. In front of the café is a large outdoor area with picnic tables allowing you to soak up the sun while taking in the wonderful environment with friends and family.
How to enjoy the 1000 Steps
The 1000 Steps is very popular. To get the most out of this place, it’s advisable to visit at a quieter time. That means midweek, early in the morning or both. That way you can appreciate the atmosphere of this magical rainforest and why Australian soldiers felt it was so similar to the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea where they fought in the Second World War. You’ve also got a better chance of spotting the noisy but very shy Superb Lyrebird.
1000 Steps alternatives
If you simply want to enjoy the majesty of the old trees around Ferntree Gully, and are not set on walking the 1000 Steps, try the Ramblers Track Loop. This is a gentle and quiet walk through old-growth forest. If you’re looking for a less popular but similarly demanding walk or run, the Granite Track in nearby Lysterfield Park is worth a go. You can even cool off with a swim in the lake afterwards!
Kokoda Track Memorial Walk or 1000 Steps?
At the foot of the 1000 Steps are a series of signs explaining this walk’s association with the Australian soldiers. Created in the early 1900s, the 1000 Steps Walk was originally made from tree fern trunks laid along the wetter areas of the track to make the climb a little easier. These were replaced by wooden palings, and more permanent concrete steps were installed in 1950.
The veterans of the Kokoda campaign adopted this park as their memorial site in 1998. The similarity of the walk to the first 100 metres of the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea resulted in the establishment of fourteen plaques along the walk, dedicated to the Australian Military Forces who fought and died on Kokoda. The 1000 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.
Things to do
How to get there
1000 Steps Walk (Trail)
When you're there
The 1000 Steps is a very popular walk and the car park at Ferntree Gully picnic area will be full by 10am on most weekend mornings. You might have better luck parking your car at One Tree Hill Picnic Ground at the top of the 1000 Steps. Alternatively, leave your car at home. It's a a leisurely 1200m stroll from Upper Fern Tree Gully train station to the bottom of the steps. Download the visitor guide before you go.
Need to know
1000 Steps Walk (Trail)
Visiting a park can be more of a challenge for people with disabilities, however in Victoria there are a wide range of facilities to help people of all abilities enjoy our wonderful parks around the state. Grants, O’Donohue, Sherbrooke, One Tree Hill and Ferntree Gully picnic grounds were assessed for accessibility in June 2020, providing information about the accessibility of these areas and photos.
Assistance dogs are welcome in Parks Victoria parks and reserves. Entry requirements apply for parks and reserves that are usually dog prohibited, such as national parks.
Change of Conditions
Nature being nature, sometimes conditions can change at short notice. It’s a good idea to check this page ahead of your visit for any updates.
Ferntree Gully Picnic Ground (Dandenong Ranges National Park)
Access changes during Urban Parks Active Wellbeing Program upgrade worksWorks to upgrade facilities as part of the Urban Parks Active Wellbeing Program have started.During works access to park facilities including, pathways, picnic tables, barbeques and playground equipment may be limited or closed.For more information about these upgrades please visit the Parks Victoria Project Page, or contact the Parks Victoria team at email@example.com or call 13 1963.
Olinda Falls Picnic Area (Dandenong Ranges National Park)
Olinda Falls lower viewing platform and creek crossing closed
The Olinda Falls lower viewing platform and creek crossing is closed indefinitely due to severe damage from a fallen tree. All access to the lower falls is closed to the public.
Notices Affecting Multiple Sites
Sherbrooke Track resurfacing worksUpgrade and maintenance works will commence Monday 22nd of May 2023 on trails (see below) in the Sherbrooke Forest, these works will continue over the next five weeks.Please note that not all trails will be closed at the same time, and we’ll be working towards making the trails available over the weekends where possible. Segments of the car park will be made available as we progress through the works.The order of the existing trails below will be resurfaced in partnership with Parks Victoria to ensure the communities safety, and experience (depending on weather):1. Sherbrooke Track2. Ridge Track3. Pound Creek4. Wattle TrackDuring the next five weeks the Sherbrooke Picnic Ground carpark will be closed off to the public, but the O’Donohue Picnic Ground will still be available. The sites will be signposted while works are underway.
Closures due to storm damage
- Valley Picnic Ground is closed to picnicking; visitors can use Boundary Road to access the park however no vehicle access is permitted.
- Sections of Sassafras Creek/Menzies Creek walking track
- Wattle Track in Sherbrooke
- William Ricketts Sanctuary
- Areas of Silvan/Olinda forest
Attachments: DR Storm Damage Works - Autumn 2022 Flyer (1,671KB)
Dandenong Ranges National Park
Mechanics Track Partially Closed
- A section of Mechanics track from the Tourist rd. to Falls rd. near Olinda Falls Picnic Ground is closed due to significant damage from the June 2021 Storm.
Sherbrooke Picnic ground (Dandenong Ranges National Park)
Sherbrooke Picnic Ground Toilet ClosedThe toilet block is closed temporarily awaiting connection to the sewer, the nearby O'Donohues Picnic Ground toilet is open.