1000 Steps

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1000 Steps Walk (Trail)

Dandenong Ranges National Park

The 1000 Steps is probably Melbourne’s most popular bushwalk. Officially the Kokoda Track Memorial Walk, walkers love the challenge of the steep trail, locals appreciate the convenience and tourists just want a picture of a gorgeous rainforest walk. But to truly appreciate this unique place, you need to visit when it’s quiet.

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

Father and son bird watching on boardwalk

Bird watching

From bushland to wetlands and everything in between, parks provide habitat to an abundance of common and rare bird species. Go for a wander and see how many you can spot.
Two women follow the path through scrub up Mt Bogong with mountain views in the distance.

Walking

Whether you’re after a gentle stroll or something long-distance, there are walking trails to suit all levels of fitness and ability.

Wildlife

Wombats
Lyrebirds
Wallabies

How to get there

1000 Steps Walk (Trail)

The 1000 Steps trail departs from Ferntree Gully Picnic Area, which is just at the junction of the Mount Dandenong Tourist Road and the Burwood Highway in Upper Ferntree Gully.

Facilities

Carpark
Picnic Area
Lookout
Toilets

1000 Steps Walk

Need to know

1000 Steps Walk (Trail)

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.

  • Notices Affecting Multiple Sites

    Olinda/Silvan Storm Recovery Works

    Following the 2021 storm events, Parks Victoria is partnering with other government agencies to support recovery efforts on public land. In the Silvan and Olinda areas, VicForest will remove debris and treat hazardous trees to reduce the bushfire risk and enable safe and rapid response to emergencies. Works will also re-establish safe public access and allow the forest to regenerate. Environmental and cultural values are being identified and managed during this process. For your safety please observe signage, do not enter work sites and beware of machinery and trucks. 

    Inline with seasonal closure principles, works have paused for winter to avoid further damage to the environment and tracks. As such, there are some debris piles that remain in the Board Track and Mathias Road areas (areas 2 and 3 on map). However, these areas are open to the public. 

    Attachments: SilvanOlinda Recovery Overview Map (288KB)

    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)

  • Sherbrooke Picnic ground (Dandenong Ranges National Park)

    Sherbrooke Picnic Ground Toilet Closed

    The toilet block is closed temporarily awaiting connection to the sewer, the nearby O'Donohues Picnic Ground toilet is open.

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