It’s midday, it’s over 30 degrees and I’m in the middle of the Dandenong Ranges climbing thousands of stairs! For once this isn’t an exaggeration, it really is a mountain (Mount Dandenong to be precise) and you really do climb it in 1000 steps!
Admittedly a tiny part of me thought maybe it wasn’t the best day, or time of the day, to choose to do this trek but I decided to ignore this sensible part of my brain under the advice of the trusted reviewers or TripAdvisor, most of whom claim “it’s not that hard if you’re reasonably fit”. I would consider myself reasonably fit. Before I came to Australia I was actually very fit but on the East Coast the abundance of food and lack of attending the gym soon put rest to all that. Even so I still walk a lot. I don’t drive and even when there’s a public transport option if it’s not an unreasonable walk I’ll always take that choice – it keeps you fit and it’s free! But about, what I believe to be, half way to the top of the 1000 steps I feel like I’m struggling.
Luckily there are multiple rest points along the way and the shame of stopping is not too bad because it turns out there are a lot of other people doing the same thing. I gathered that this is a popular running route so I was pretty worried about being shown up by a bunch of fit people but it turns out that at this time the only runners and the ones coming down the 1000 steps. I’m going to tell myself they walked to the top and ran down which I could probably also do.
The good news is that it turned out this half-way lapse in energy was not actually half-way at all. The last of these dreaded 1000 steps was just around the next corner and upon realising this I became convinced that I must have missed a huge chunk of the trail. Even now I’m not fully sure I did the whole thing – it just didn’t seem like 1000 steps. I mean it was quite an effort but still that’s a lot of steps.
I guess I’ll never know if I did the whole thing but I’m gonna have to trust the other people congregating at the perceived end and the termination of the signposting for that particular trail. The signposting in general in the Dandenong Ranges seems pretty incomprehensible though (or is it just me?)
I’m never happier than taking a long walk in nature with my camera. There’s a simple pleasure in being able to stop and play around with your photo settings for as long as you want without feeling like you’re holding anyone up (also a great excuse to catch your breath and pretend you’re taking photos!)
I will be sure to seek out some more hikes in the Melbourne surburbs that you can reach by public transport. Preferably I like a challenge and a good view at the top. This one didn’t have one but the trees were pretty spectacular anyhow.
HOW TO GET TO THE START OF THE 1000 STEPS WALK
To get there by public transport take the Metro from Flinders Street towards Belgrave and alight at Upper Ferntree Gully. Turn left out of the station and walk along the main road until you see the sign for the Dandenong Ranges. If you get lost there’s an information booth right outside the station!