Everyone’s busy all the time, right? Squeezing things in around work, obligations, chores and errands, and I for one am definitely guilty of getting stuck in the routine of it all and not always looking for something different to do to keep things interesting. Boring!

So it was with this very much in mind that I suggested a trip to the Dandenong Ranges National Park, to do the 1000 Steps Kokoda Walk. I did a bit of research about it beforehand – tried to get an idea of what it’s all about and how strenuous it might be – and read one visitor’s comments that they weren’t at all fit and had no trouble at all. Great! I thought. A leisurely afternoon walk! Not exactly, as it turned out.

About 40 minutes east of Melbourne, the 1000 Steps was originally constructed in the early 1900s from the trunks of the abundant tree ferns in the park. These were upgraded to concrete steps in 1950, and in 1998 the Victorian veterans of the Kokoda campaign adopted it as their memorial site.

I was as amazed at how subtropical the plant life there is, as I was at the many, many fitness freaks running up the steps. There were a few spots along the way where I had to take a serious breather, and was extremely grateful for the litre of water I had taken with me. My face was doing its best impression of a beetroot by the time I emerged at the top. Which by the way, I thought to be a bit of an anticlimax:  there’s no sign announcing that you’ve made it, the steps just kind of stop and there you are.

 20160120_171544 1000 Steps collage 2 20160120_175658

I was too busy keeping out of the way of the fitness freaks to take any photos of the actual steps.

Then you can either go back down the steps or take the very steep walking track back down. Actually you can take either route up or down, but I’m very glad that we took the course that we did. I’m not sure that I would have enjoyed it as much if we had have done it the other way around.

While my face transitioned through ever-lighter shades of purple, we went for a drive around some of the incredibly scenic 30km Mt Dandenong Tourist Road, through spectacular eucalypt forests and the cute villages of Sassafras, Olinda and Mt Dandenong. I had no idea that they were even there, let alone how lovely they are. We did nearly run out of petrol, which re-elevated my heart rate a bit, but it was totally worth it.

I’d have loved to have a whole day out there to check out the villages and some pretty impressive-sounding sculpture gardens. Next time!