Tidbinbilla offers outstanding wildlife viewing, bushwalking, great BBQ spots and fun for kids on the Discovery Playground. The nature reserve borders Namadgi National Park and is nestled between the Tidbinbilla and Gibraltar Ranges to the south of Canberra. With fourteen protected habitats including wetlands, grasslands, woodlands, wet and dry forests and sub-alpine areas, the reserve supports a wide range of wildlife.
Tidbinbilla is considered a leader in wildlife reproductive biology through its work on the Southern Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby program, other macropod species such as potoroos and wallabies and with the endangered Northern Corroboree Frog. State of the art facilities, including a fully equipped veterinary surgery and Animal Breeding Centre, support the success of the program.
Established in 1980, Birrigai is a residential outdoor and environmental education centre. Preschool to Year 12 students from both government and non-government schools have the opportunity to be engaged in outdoor and environmental education programs that aim to expand their knowledge and understanding of their interactions with the Australian environment.
Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve is an ideal destination for families and school groups. Activities available at the reserve include:
- Scenic driving through the reserve including car access to a lookout that provides panoramic views of the Tidbinbilla Valley
- Picnicking at one of several picnic spots
- Bushwalks on formed walking trails ranging from easy strolls to challenging day trips
- Bike riding on sealed roads and fire trails
- Ranger guided activities on every weekend, some week days and during school holidays.
- Overnight discovery tours in partnership between Tidbinbilla and Conservation Volunteers Australia
Tiddbinbilla also has the Nature Discovery Playground where children can pump water like a pioneer, ride a flying fox and become part of a large sun dial.
The newest attraction is the Sanctuary. Wheelchair and stroller friendly pathways link a series of exhibits that encourage visitors to experience nature, encounter wildlife and explore how plants and animals and their habitats are interconnected.
In the wetlands you can get a ‘duck’s-eye-view’ or stroll along the boardwalk. In the bushland, spot the wallaroos, parrots and meat ants. See how humans have shaped nature with fire and introduced animals, peer into a functioning vet centre and take on an Aboriginal understanding of the land.
Volunteer guides as well as parks staff are all involved in helping visitors to get the most out of their Tidbinbilla experience.
Tidbinbilla’s Visitor Centre provides a great introduction to the reserve. There are live animal and other displays to explore and staff available to help you get the best experience while visiting the reserve.
The mountains that surround Tidbinbilla are a place of spiritual significance to Aboriginal people. The name Tidbinbilla is derived from the Aboriginal word Jedbinbilla – a place where boys become men.
Tidbinbilla is recognised as a highly significant Aboriginal place with the highest density of artefacts found in the ACT. Important sites in the Reserve include:
- Birrigai Rock Shelter – the oldest known Aboriginal site in the ACT region which contains evidence of occupation dating back to the last ice-age 21,000 years ago
- Bogong Rocks – a Bogong moth resting site, this shelter contains evidence that the moth was an important seasonal food source for Aboriginal people
- Tidbinbilla Mountain – it is believed this site was used for initiation ceremonies and is sacred to the local Aboriginal people
Europeans settled the valley in the mid 1800s and the remains of early rural structures and equipment can be visited along several walking trails within the reserve. Two notable examples of European cultural heritage are the remnants of Nil Desperandum and Rock Valley Homesteads. These pise, or rammed earth, structures were built in the 1890s and remained intact until the January 2003 bushfires. Rock Valley has been partially restored and Nil Desperandum has been fully restored.
Tidbinbilla Visitor Centre, Paddy’s River Rd, Tharwa ACT | (02) 6205 1233 | firstname.lastname@example.org