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A great alternative to walking up the 1000 steps, is the much quieter and physically harder, Belveiw Terrace Track.
Begin at the Ferntree Gully picnic ground car park ( where the 1000 steps walk begins) but instead of heading towards the 1000steps/ playground/ cafe take the track going in the opposite direction (west) which will take you to the start of Belview Terrace Track.
From this point it is all up hill, and with a pram and two children in it, it's a real workout. The track is an open fire trail with coarse gravel and with many water run off's, making a tiny relief from the constant pushing uphill, though the downhill part of the run off just gives you more to push out of on the other side.
This walk really gets the lungs burning and the heart pumping at maximum. My only saviour was knowing the track is only 3.3 km to the top and it can't last for ever.
The view is nice and has outlooks at certain parts of the walk. The track is completely surrounded by big gum trees and smaller native shrubs. Unlike the 1000 steps which is quite damp and slippery in sections, this track is extremely dry and slightly dusty.
Roughly half way up you will pass the water tanks, this is where it flattens off a little and gives you a breather before it kicks back upwards again. A little further up the track you will see a sign with 800 meters to the top of One Tree Hill, this will seem like the longest 800 meters of your life. All of a sudden a house will appear and it's was exciting to see the finish is near, cross the road and head to the top of One Tree Hill. You are there, with a mix of relief and excitement as the adrenalin kicks in you may even feel invincible and decide to do it again.
However if you have a pram, you will find going down is just as hard if not harder than going up. The weight of the pram and slippery gravel make it a challenge, and gives your arms and abbs a great workout. My tip though is not to go with the momentum of the pram, this will cause you to gain too much speed and lose control. ( I have previously crashed the pram into shrubs on this walk to slow it down)
When you get to the bottom of the walk you will feel great, although a little sore, but it's a great feeling.
When we did this walk the Ferntree Gully Picnic Ground was overflowing with cars and people trying to cram onto the 1000 steps walk, however the Belview Track was very quiet, with only a few people on it (one of which was training for the Kokoda trail in Papua New Guinea, and another on his mountain bike.)