Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve

By Karen Young 7 January 2015
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Hike through bushland, get close to wildlife, learn about heritage or join special day/night tours

THE TIDBINBILLA NATURE RESERVE, 50 minutes south of Canberra, is an easy day trip or weekend-long escape offering a variety of activities including scenic drives, bushwalking, wildlife viewing, bike riding, picnicking and playgrounds.

Derived from the Ngunnawal word Jedbinbilla the area was known indigenously as ‘a place where boys were made men’.

The nature reserve is a year-round destination for family fun. On offer are habitats including wetlands, grasslands, forests and woodlands, harbouring a variety of native wildlife from reptiles to birds and mammals.

The reserve plays a significant role in the protection and management of endangered species through breeding programs.

Tidbinbilla has history, relaxation, recreation and research… something for everyone, even the mobility impaired, thanks to the all-terrain wheelchair ‘Trailrider’.


Bushwalking: Choose from 21 suggested walks ranging from easy to hard including 14 short (15-90 minutes return) and seven long (2-8 hours return) walks.

Alternatively, design your own exploratory track or join a reserve Ranger. All-terrain wheelchair ‘Trailrider’ bookings can be made at the Visitor Centre.

Sanctuary and playground: Get close to wallabies, kangaroos, koalas, platypus, reptiles and wetland birds in the predator-proofed Sanctuary.

The wheelchair accessible sanctuary includes a vet centre, boardwalks and lookouts.

Further family fun can be had at the Nature Discovery Playground and picnic areas.

Tours: Experience the reserve after dark on a five-hour wildlife spotlighting tour. Or get behind the scenes on an overnight two-day tour package.

With a range of tours to choose from participants can visit otherwise off-limit areas, have close encounters with special wildlife and contribute to the work of the reserve.

The essentials

Location: A 50-minute, 45km drive southwest of Canberra along Tourist Route 5. Enter from Paddy’s River Road. Entry fees per car: day pass (at most $10), annual pass (at most $30).

Accommodation: Onsite, book the historic homestead Nil Desperandum.

Offsite, camp in Woods Reserve or choose from motels/B&Bs in nearby Kambah.

Food/drink: Café Tidbinbilla offers food/drinks below $20. Or bring your own food and use the picnic spots. Catering included on overnight tours/experiences.

Points of interest: Nearby on Tourist Route 5: Deep Space Communication Complex, Mt Stromlo Observatory, Gibraltar Falls, Namadgi NP and more.

More info: www.tidbinbilla.com.au