The Koala Path is a 700 metre walking loop in Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, 45 minutes south west of Canberra city. This scenic national park has a variety of easy and hard walks, with 22 walking trails in total. There is an entry fee per car to get into the reserve and then you have all day to enjoy the walks, stop for a BBQ and if you have kids, have a play at Tidbinbilla Nature Discovery Playground at the end of the day.
The Koala Path is the perfect short walk if you have young kids, or have visitors come to stay who want to see native animals in the wild. The whole nature reserve is brimming with Australian native animals such as platypus, kangaroos, wallabies, emus, birdlife and wetland animals - however if want to see a koala in particular, then the Koala Path is a guaranteed sighting in the sanctuary area. After entering the nature reserve, follow the map to the Eucalypt Forest and walk through the gate into the koala sanctuary area. This area is often for pregnant koalas, new mothers, recovering koalas or any who may need veterinary assistance. It is here that you can get a close look at this sleepy beautiful Australian icon, before taking a walk and looking for them in the wild.
View this cute Australian icon in the sanctuary area
The walk begins to the right of the sanctuary and is a 700 metre easy loop through the bushland, with a flat concrete path that is suitable for prams and wheelchairs. Ensure you walk quietly so you can listen to the range of bird calls in the tall trees, hear the squeak of tree limbs moving in the wind and look for koalas high up in the canopy. At the start of the walk is a sign to point out the most common native animals you may see - the koala, potoroo, swamp wallaby and rock wallaby.
As soon as we had finished reading the sign a flash of black skirted along the path in front of us and the blur of a potoroo made my daughter and I gasp in excitement - we could tick the first one off the list!
The loop walk soon meets up with another trail, the 1.8 kilometre Peppermint Trail, which is a gravel trail, so if you feel like lengthening your walk you can do so at this point. We continued on however, and kept looking to the top of the treetops for koalas in the wild. Just as we were walking past a bench to have a rest, we looked up and happened to see a koala high up in a tree, swaying in the breeze and completely fast asleep. Second animal off the list - tick!
Keep your eyes to the skies - they aren't easy to spot!
The path twists and turns through the bushland and we soon came across signs at the bottom of trees to say that koalas had been sighted in them, with a date and time of the last sighting. Unfortunately the koalas had moved on, but when we stopped looking above us and started looking around us, we saw several swamp wallabies looking straight at us – their ears erect and watching our every move. These quiet animals camouflage themselves into the landscape perfectly, with their dark fur blending into the tree trunks and shadows. It is their ears that give them away - like two small radar dishes, picking up every sound.
Although Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve has many other popular short walks, the Koala Path is an easy one to fit into your day. At just 700 metres, it doesn't take long, however you can see a lot within that short time frame. Overseas visitors will be enchanted by the variety of bird and animal life and kids in particular, will delight in looking for the animals on the list. It is a lesson in staying quiet and listening for noises in the bush – it is amazing how quiet they can be if they have to!
If you are walking with kids, you can't leave Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve without having a play in the Tidbinbilla Nature Discovery Playground at the end of your day. It is conveniently located just a short way from the exit, so you – or the kids! – will see the signs on the way back. There is a flying fox, long slide, climbing frame, a water pump, play equipment for toddlers and clean toilets nearby. There is even a snake deterrent sound coming from a machine in the playground, to ward off snakes in the hotter months.
A trip to Tidbinbilla truly is, a real Aussie adventure...