Kokoda Memorial Walk (1000 Steps)
There are so many great things to see and do around Melbourne and with the majority being about food, fitness also becomes very important.
Living a healthy lifestyle is an important thing for many Melbournites and that is even more evident from the many “health’ food cafes popping up around the city. For many, fitness is much more enjoyable in an outdoor setting with the crisp fresh air, the smell of gum trees, the sound of birds chirping in nature and the excitement of clambering up 1000 steps!
The Kokoda Memorial Walk, known for its 1000 steps, is an extremely popular spot in Melbourne for fitness fanatics, those hoping to be fitness fanatics and of course the many tourists visiting the city. Situated in the beautiful Dandenong Ranges National Park about 50 minutes from the CBD, it is no wonder people want to work out here as it feels like you a trekking in the Amazon surrounded by luscious green trees and trickling waterfalls.
The 1000 steps walk is not made for the faint-hearted as it involves a hefty trek up and down rather steep stairs but the beauty about it is that you can do it at your own pace and in such a peaceful setting. Before even reaching the steps, you may find yourself already exhausted (or that could have just been us) from the short uphill walk just to get there. The steps start off at a reasonably achievable uphill slope but you will find they get steeper and steeper as you get further up. Apparently it isn’t actually a total of 1000 steps but after huffing and puffing for almost 3kms, the last thing on your mind is counting them. Don’t feel disheartened if many people pass you without breaking a sweat, they could even be running up them with smiles on their faces (and they may even pass you twice!) and that’s because this walk is a part of their weekly fitness routine. For those who are just trying it out for the first, second or even third time, expect to find it a bit difficult even if you a moderately fit. Make sure you are equipped with good sturdy sports shoes as it can get quite rocky and don’t forget your water bottle because you can’t be drinking from the stream!
The walk gets extremely busy on the weekends so if you would like to do it in your own time without feeling rushed, head over during the week days. For those who need a break (or three) along the way there are plenty of resting stops on your way up. You will also see several plaques along your walk dedicated to the fallen soldiers who fought and died on Kokoda Track (Papa New Guinea) in World War 2. The walk is a memorial for those Australian soldiers who lost their lives during that time and was originally made from fallen trunks of tree ferns in the early 1900s before being replaced with concrete steps later on.
When you reach the top, you will feel exhilarated that you made it but could also feel slightly disappointed as to why there is no scenic view. If you wish to keep going there are a few tracks that lead out to the sides where you might get a better view. You also have two options for getting back down and that is back down the steps or down Lyrebird Track, a very steep but more spacious hill. Both are tough either way.
The walk is also great for kids if you take it at your own pace but we wouldn’t suggest any under five as there may be A LOT of moaning. There’s also the option of taking your babies in a carrier which has been done safely (from experience) many of times but is of course at your own risk.
The walk will take you an average of 30-40 minutes at a steady pace but obviously much quicker if you’re running. Once you finally reach the bottom and the aches and pains in your muscles have already started, head to The 1000 Steps Cafe for a delicious cup of coffee. You earned it!
What: Kokoda Memorial Walk (1000 STEPS)
Where: Dandenong Ranges National Park
Who: For anyone wanting to test their fitness level and a great scenic walk
When: Open from 6am until 9pm. The car park is situated at the main entrance along with the cafe.