Ten Things to do at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve
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Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve
was gazetted as a nature reserve and national park in 1971 and continues to be an important conservation space in the Canberra Region. The Reserve provides an opportunity to see the local animals in their natural habitats, experience the Ngunnawal culture and take a walk on the wild side.
Learn About Ngunnawal Culture and Heritage
Tidbinbilla is a place of historical and ongoing significance to the Ngunnawal people, the Traditional Custodians of the Canberra region. Visitors can learn about culture and history by joining a cultural tour with one of the Aboriginal rangers. There are also significant men's and women's sites including geographical formations including a rock that looks like a perched eagle (Maliyan) the creator spirit of the Tidbinbilla dreaming story and rock shelters dating back to the ice age.
Visit the Nature Discovery Playground
This playground has something for little explorers of all ages. Older kids can test their bravery on the flying fox, take a slide or see if they can conquer the climbing rope frame. For the little kids, there's a water pump, bouncy toys and other fun activities. A bird's nest swing is suitable for very young children and people with limited mobility. The park's design is inspired by the Tidbinbilla Valley and there is the added bonus of some Eastern Grey Kangaroos who are standing by to help out with supervision.
Spot Some Animals at the Sanctuary
The Sanctuary is a large wetland surrounded by bushland that is home to platypuses, a variety of birds, Cunningham's skinks, as well as long-nosed potoroos, southern brown bandicoots and brush-tailed rock-wallabies. To get the most out of this area of the Reserve, stroll along the 2.1km wheelchair-accessible pathway past the interconnected ponds and streams and see who can spot the most animals.
You can peek inside the Vet Centre, where floor to ceiling windows give you a chance to see the Vet doing health checks on the local animals. On weekends, public holidays and during the school holidays, the Tidbinbilla VisitorAssist Volunteers are available and happy to share their local knowledge.
Wander Through the Eucalypt Forest
The Eucalyptus Forest is a 17-hectare Sclerophyll forest and home to a free-ranging population of threatened long-nosed potoroos and both breeding and free-ranging populations of koalas.
There are two walk options in the Eucalypt Forest, the fully accessible 700m Koala Path where you can keep a lookout for koalas, potoroos and wallabies and the longer 1.8km Peppermint Trail where you'll be fully immersed in the sights and sounds of the forest. The Koala Path is suitable for young kids and has some bridge crossings and giant boulders to explore as well as seating if you need a break along the way.
Hit Your Stride on One of the 22 Walking Trails
If you want to really get out and see the beauty of this area, there are 22 walking trails, ranging from easy 500m strolls through to 14km hikes. Depending on which trail you choose, you can see wildlife, rivers, historic buildings, aboriginal sites and granite tors. Some of the walks are difficult, so know your capabilities, be prepared for all conditions, take plenty of water, don't rely on a mobile phone, avoid walking alone and let a reliable person know your plans and approximate return time. You can pick up a copy of the Reserve Map and Visitor Guide at the Tidbinbilla Visitor Centre to help plan your walk.
Test your compass reading and navigation skills or race your family and friends at one of Tidbinbilla's orienteering courses. They all start from a marker just below the Nature Discovery Playground and you can grab a map from the Visitor Centre.
Join a Ranger Guided Activity
Available for groups of up to 30 (or larger groups by arrangement), you can join a Ranger or Wildlife Officer to learn more about the reserve, its heritage and cultural connections, and about the plants and animals. Some of the activities include learning about Australian Plants and Animals; Wetlands and Waterbirds; Fire Ecology and Aboriginal Culture and Heritage. Programs are available on Tuesdays and Thursdays outside of the school holidays and bookings are essential.
Enjoy a BBQ or Picnic
Bring your own supplies and settle in for a long lunch at one of the many BBQ and picnic areas. From family friendly to secluded and serene, you'll find the perfect place for your outdoor feast. There are both gas and wood BBQs available (you can BYO wood or pick some up at the visitor centre) and plenty of tables and sheltered seating areas.
Stay a Little Longer
Fancy extending your stay? There are a few options where you can tuck in for the night right near the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. The Nil Desperandum (Never Despair) homestead is nestled into the bushland and can be booked here
. The homestead includes camp beds (BYO sleeping bags) two bedrooms, a kitchen with wood stove, veranda, solar lighting, a long drop toilet, rainwater to the kitchen, outside gas BBQ and a fire pit. The accommodation isn't five stars by any stretch but you get the million star milky way views and a location that is hard to beat. A night at Nil Desperandum includes access to Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. You can also camp at the nearby Woods Reserve and Cotter campgrounds.
If you want to get more hands-on, there are many ways to volunteer at Tidbinbilla. You can become a Park Care Visitor Assist volunteer and help provide information to visitors or join the Friends of Tidbinbilla to help out with the Waterwatch program and work with Rangers on conservation projects and maintenance work.
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