25 July 2013
Admire Nature While You Suffer
The Kokoda Track Memorial Walk is a walking trail in the Dandenong Ranges National Park. It lies in the Ferntree Gully forest, about 45 minutes east of Melbourne (Victoria). The trail penetrates through a beautiful forest of tree ferns and manna gums, and the sound of
lyrebirds and other wildlife.
The original Kokoda Track is a single-file trail that runs 96 kilometres through a mountain chain in Papua New Guinea. It was where Australian forces fought against the Japanese in World War II, in what was then the Australian territory of Papua. Japanese forces were attempting to advance south overland through the mountains to seize Port Moresby in an attempt to isolate Australia from the United States.
It was a series of battles between July and November 1942, with hot, humid days and intensely cold nights. There was torrential rainfall and the risk of endemic tropical diseases, such as malaria. The track in Ferntree Gully is dedicated to the Australian soldiers who fought during the Kokoda campaign in Papua New Guinea and there are plaques along the trail depicting their lives.
As you suffer up those steps, reflect on how much more they suffered, damn it!
It’s a popular trail, so if you want to avoid big crowds it might be better to go later in the day... and avoid weekends. It can be slippery, so wear good shoes. There are seats along the way if you need to have a rest, but take a bottle of water.
It’s also known as the 1000 steps - albeit there are less than 800 steps.
[Below] Going up the track (left), and going down (right).
Don't worry, there is always someone less fit than you. THIS is where you will find them, so it's a great place to go to feel good about yourself. Yay!
[Below] This bird was a psycho. There's a picnic ground at the bottom of the track, and as I was walking back to my car, this bird suddenly swooped on a family sitting at a picnic table. It was pretty funny - for me, not them.
Fear not, you can also get there by public transport. Take the Belgrave Metro Train Line to Upper Ferntree Gully Railway Station then walk about 1 km east along Burwood Highway (look for the signs along the way). Yes, it's more walking, but if you don't like walking you're in the wrong place.