Distance: 600 metres
Average Gradient: 6%
Elevation gained: 38 metres
Here is a link to the Strava segment here:
When you’re heading down the Mount Dandenong Tourist Road heading towards the Devil’s Elbow. There’s a great little detour you can do up One Tree Hill Road and down Churchill Drive. Whilst not a long or hard climb. One Tree Hill gives you that little extra bit of climbing to your ride. As a bonus you avoid the heavy traffic of the Mount Dandenong Tourist Road. And the descent down Churchill Drive (1 km @ 10%) is fast, furious & fun. This stretch of road is easily my favorite detours in the Dandeong Ranges.
One Tree Hill
The name “One Tree Hill” is a bit deceptive. You’ll notice straight away that there are in fact thousands of trees in the area. Back in the 1860’s the forest around this region was cleared except one solitary tree which was left as a survey marker. One Tree Hill once supplied navigational assistance to boats sailing up to Port Philip Bay. The trees around One Tree Hill were cut down to make it possible to see Western Port and Port Phillip bays from its peak. This is where One Tree got its name.
The forest has since regrown and One Tree Hill is now part of the Ferntree Gully National Park which occupies almost 600 hactares of land. The area experiences high rainfall and due to its geography its forests and fern gullies remains lush all year round making it one of the most scenic roads to ride in the Dandenong’s.
KOKODA TRACK MEMORIAL WALK (1,000 steps)
One Tree Hill’s most popular attraction is the Kokoda Track memorial walk “aka the 1,000 steps. It’s always a running joke that there aren’t actually 1,000 steps. If you want to know the exact number you’ll have to go and count them yourself. Plaques along the trail depict the lives of the soldiers who fought and died on the real Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea. During World War II and the area has historical significance.
The walk was created in the early 1900’s and goes from Ferntree Gully to the top of One Tree Hill. The path was originally made from the trunks of tree ferns laid along the wetter areas of the track. In order to make the climb a little easier. Concrete steps were installed in 1950. The walk is incredibly challenging and continues to get steeper and steeper as you get to the top . It is one of the most popular walking tracks around Melbourne and isn’t for the feint hearted. Averaging a whopping 25% in gradient. The 1,000 steps continue all the way to the top of One Tree Hill.
How to get there
The Dandenong Ranges are located approximately 45 km east of Melbourne. One Tree Hill Road is located just of the Mount Dandenong Tourist Road.