1,000 Steps Kokoda Track Memorial Walk

As part of the training program to prepare for the Two Bays Trail Run I’ve been trying to include trail runs and hills.  In one of my recent posts I mentioned that I had been training in Park Orchard’s 100 Acres Reserve as well the famous 1,000 Steps in Ferntree Gully.

For those of you new to the 1,000 Steps here’s a few pics and some information you might find useful.

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The 1,000 Steps Kokoda Track Memorial Walk is located in the Dandenong Ranges National Park and is a renowned tourist spot at Mt Dandenong.  The 1,000 steps is a beautiful walking track through bushland and some spectacular scenery.

As the name suggests – it’s all steps and is not a trek for the faint-hearted.   The (not convinced there is exactly) 1,000 steps are of mixed material, size and stability leading to the popular One Tree Hill.

The trail begins at  Ferntree Gully point near the ranger’s office and finishes up at the picnic ground of One Tree Hill.

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On the way to the Steps.

The 1,000 Steps roughly follows a creek line through bushland and gullies that are filled with ferns   It is quite a surreal environment and I imagine would be a tranquil place to wander if it weren’t for the many people huffing and puffing as they trudge up and down the steps.

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Well sign-posted so you won’t get lost!

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Almost there…

Along the trail there are numerous plaques that describe the lives of the World War II soldiers who fought and died on the real Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea.  The 1,000 Steps has been created to represent the ‘Golden Staircase’ which was 2,000 steps cut by the Australian Army Engineers and others into the track.

Kokoda Track Memorial

Kokoda Trail Memorial – Lest We Forget

If you think you are going to charge up the steps at a gallop to the top and then show the world your best Rocky impersonation – you maybe disappointed.  The steps are steep and many sections of the trail are only safe to tackle in single file which can be a blessing when you are getting tired.

Also, the 1,000 Steps is primarily a tourist destination and not a training ground (even though it services both needs) and consequently there are people traversing the steps of varying levels of fitness, age and speed.  Patience is a virtue and there is always time to be polite.  Rather than get agitated by being held up, enjoy the scenery 🙂

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The steps begin…

If you’re looking to visit when the crowds are less and you can tackle the steps with some gusto, you will find the hardcore fitness crowd out in force from the first daylight hours and then reduce as the day progress.  Mid afternoon is normally better if you want to go at your own pace.

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Steps are not always even – best to watch your step

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Handrails are along the track and on wet days necessary

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Can be a little tight at times on the trail..

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On hot days the tree canopy provides some relief

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And there’s more than enough steps to test the calves and quads!

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The last stretch before you get to rest..

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When you rest you have some options …

If you’re looking for a training run that will get some hills in your legs, work up a sweat and get the heart pumping,  there can’t be many nicer places to go.

Recently there has been an upgrade to the Kokoda Memorial Trail with shelters and memorials.  They have also included a second set of steps on Lyrebird Track to ease the traffic load and provide runners with a better running track and free up the trail for tourists.

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When in training mode there is often not enough time to stop and read the plaques and reflect on the history of our forefathers but I think it’s important that if you do the 1,000 steps – you should take at least one leisurely walk to enjoy the scenery and take in the information provided on the plaques – also a good excuse to stop for a breather should you need one!!

With the Two Bays Trail Run less than a week away I’m hoping the session at the 1,000 Steps will help me with the steep climbs and descents I will be seeing next week!  Also, I’m running the Great Wall of China Marathon later this year, so the 1,000 steps will see us there more often over the coming months!!

I’ve managed to squeeze in a couple of extra runs this week but now I’m tapering down for the the Two Bays Trail Run.  Since my last update I’ve run:

  • 17.3km in hills and some trails
  • 5.5km intervals dragging poor Missy the Golden Retriever with OCD – eventually had to tie her up in the shade as it was too hot for her.
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    Guarding my drink – too hot for running!

  • 21.2km in some decent hills with some trails
  • Gentle 5.7km down Mullum Mullum Creek Trail with Missy.
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    Hot & bothered after a short run down Mullum Mullum Creek Trail

I’ll probably only have one or two runs at the most before the big day – getting a bit nervous now – hot weather, snake sitings on the trail and of course doubts in my own level of fitness all adding to my over-thinking he day…. Whatever will be will be – this time next week it will be done 🙂

My next post will be on the hidden gem that is the 100 Acres Reserve in Park Orchards as this one has gone too long already

Finally, favourite running song from the last lot of training is:

Somebody Told me – by The Killers.

Happy Running!!!  Happy Trails!!

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7 Responses to 1,000 Steps Kokoda Track Memorial Walk

  1. Nerrida says:

    Hi my name is Nerrida. I am a qualified Personal Trainer and I have recently started up a 1000 Steps Walking Group to encourage people to enjoy the area but also to get out and achieve things they thought they couldn’t. I enjoyed your article and am starting out in the running world myself, so all very interesting.

  2. gpontherun says:

    Hey Nerrida, so sorry for my very tardy response! I’ve been a bit slack in the blogging department and just catching up. Great to hear about the Walking Group – are you getting much interest? Well done on joining the running community too – there are some great trails out there to explore! Once you get the bug, there’s no going back 😉

  3. John says:

    Hi, I like in The Basin and the back door is near Shorts Track. I do not do the 1,000 steps but run down Bellview Tce then up to the start of the steps turn around and go up Bellview. It is much less crowded, longer and peacefull.

    I am doing the Two Bays in Jan 2014 so use this for training about 3-4 times a week – my knees love it – lol.

    John

    • gpontherun says:

      Hey John, I’ve heard the Basin area is nice for running… and hilly! You’ll be in good shape for Two Bays with that training program – have you done it before? I’m just starting to build the kms again after running Marysville – but looking forward to Two Bays again – Will see you there 😉

      Cheers
      GP

      • John says:

        Cheers – this is the first time for the two bays – did the 50km Upstream a few weeks ago.
        The Dandenongs are good for the hills and also from The Basin to Sassafras up the 1 in 20. How did you go in Marysville – I hear it is a great run?
        Cheers
        John

      • gpontherun says:

        You’ve got some great hills training in your legs – you’ll romp 2Bays in. Marysville was great – beautiful scenery, good camaraderie btw runners – but a tough run! Went in with an injury, so was a hard day out. Think I will head up The Basin way for some training 😉 no snakes out & about on the trails?

        A favourite run of mine is Fernshaw to Dom Dom Saddle and back in the Healesville area.

        Cheers
        GP

  4. Thomas says:

    I’m a little late reading this blog, especially some of the posts, but gotta say… everything here is so great and so true. As someone who’s originally from the area, I get a chuckle out of many things here.

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