In preparation  for my Unesco Heritage listed Kumano Kodo walk in Japan in August I headed up into the Hills for a bit of stair training.

I am driving up to the Dandenong Ranges to walk the 1,000 steps as they are known and come back down via a circular trail using the Ramu Tk and the Belview Tk. This takes approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours depending on your fitness. Those that actually run up the stairs, the time would be much shorter. Starting from one of the three car park’s you head upwards past all the Kokoda Track War Memorial information area, past the playground and you come to a fork where you via right if you are going to walk the stairs. Left will take you up a very sharp incline and finishing at the same spot as the stair trail near the top of One Tree Hill. Just before the start there is an ominous sign that shows you how to check your heart rate.  Before reaching the actual stairs there is also a step incline. The trail goes through magnificent tree ferns and tall gums. The bird calls in this area are so loud at times you just about need ear muffs. Once reaching the stairs the real climb begins. The stairs are concrete and are well-worn with the occasional tree root peering out through the ground cover.  Because it is mostly damp in this area the stairs can be very slippery so take care.

Today there are only a few people walking which makes it delightful to be able to stop and read one of the many markers that tell the story of the actual Kokoda Track, the stories of the Australian forces and the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels during World War 2 in Papua New Guinea. It is also a chance to get your heart back into your chest and get your breathing back to normal. For me anyway that is the case. The sign says it is 1.4 kilometer of steps and once you are at the top there is seating under the trees and also what I find amusing exercise equipment for you to have a go on just in case your heart rate is not high enough.

From here there are other trails that you can walk which you can find on . I am doing a circular walk today so leaving the seating area I walk 20 metres and turn left on a track which will take me left down onto the Ramu Tk. Continue down hill on this well maintained wide track until you reach Belview Tk. Keep veering left downhill. As you walk downwards it is a lovely undulating trail through the magnificent gums. Sometimes the odd kangaroo but not today.

The trail towards the end does have some very step descents with loose gravel under foot. I prefer to have my hiking stick at the ready in this section. Views of the road below come into view near the bottom but head left on to the School Tk. This will bring you back to the car park , toilet and also the 1,000 Steps Cafe where you can get a welcome coffee or some food. The Cafe has been very well renovated since I was last here, it has always very welcoming with great food. Besides the cafe there are also picnic tables, barbeques, 2 sets of toilets at the start and 1 set of toilets at the top of One Tree Hill with additional picnic tables and Kokoda Trail memorial information.

Well earned beautiful Coffee

Highly recommend this area for trails but be aware on the weekend or public holidays it is extremely busy.