Natural, Indigenous and European history in one place
The natural world surrounding Canberra is home to Australian flora and fauna, rich indigenous history and strong links to European settlement. Tidbinbilla national park was set up in 1971 to protect the area and provide locals and tourists with a stunning and educational natural attraction.
The park is home to thousands of kangaroos, emus, lyrebirds, platypus, wombats and other native animals. The reserve - which forms part of the Australian Alps - is also host to the endangered species breeding program for the rare Brush-tailed Rock-Wallaby and Northern Corroboree Frog. They take in relocated animals too. Most recently a very rare albino echidna has come under their protection.
I know it's a cliche but this park really does offer something for everyone.
Adventurers For those keen to head off the beaten track their are various harder walks ranging from one to eight hours. These walks take you through untamed wildlife and thick forest land to stunning places like Gibraltar Peak, panoramic ridge lines, cascading rivers and old homesteads. There are easier and shorter walks too. Details for all the walks can be found here.
Not enough? how about a two day trek then. Booking the overnight trek takes you deep into the heart of areas no one else can go. After close encounters and even assisting in endangered animal preservation you get to camp out under the stars with a fire at Nil Desperadum homestead. Now that is an experience like no other!
Indigenous History Tidbinbilla is the traditional home of the Ngunnawal people. It was a place where young boys would go to become men as well as a meeting place for neighbouring tribes. Indigenous people also used to flock here to harvest and eat the bogon moth... which apparently tastes like peanut butter.
Indigenous guides can take you through the park to show you what they used native plants for, where they gathered and how they hunted. You can also take a self-guided walk along the Birrigai Time Trail to one of the oldest rock shelters in the region.
From the 1800s Europeans started turning the park lands into profit. Farming lands, bougainvillea plantations and even eucalyptus oil distilleries started operating in the ranges and you can still see evidence of this today.
There are a few rammed earth cottages dating back over 100 years in the park. None are more idyllic than Nil Desperadum. Sitting perched on top of a hill this old cottage is surrounded by mountains, tall forest and a river. The cottage is available for short term stays, something I can't recommend highly enough.
Family/kids If you're not too keen on being stuck in the wilderness with kids for hours there are more child friendly options too. The visitor centre has a walk through tour with all the interesting info you need as well as a few live reptile enclosures.
And then there is the playground and picnic area. Many people that come to Tidbinbilla do so just for the playground. It is epic, easily one of the most fun playgrounds I've seen. The large slides and climbing frames are surrounded by a peaceful grassed BBQ and picnic area. And of course there is all the cute and fluffy native wildlife to admire.
So there you go, convinced Tidbinbilla has something for everyone now? It really is a place you can visit time and time again and discover something new every step of the way. From the walks to the history everything about Tidbinbilla is quite simply inspiring.