On New Year’s Day, my husband and I decided to go for a walk at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. The reserve, located about 11 miles from our home, is 34 square miles of protected land on the north edge of Namadgi National Park. It’s also part of the Australian Alps, a series of parks and reserves spanning south-eastern Australia. Full of wildlife, nature trails, and picnic areas, our first Tidbinbilla excursion was a perfect way to kick off a healthy and adventurous 2018.
Aboriginal people say they have had a continuous association with the land around Tidbinbilla for more than 20,000 years. The word Tidbinbilla is said to derive from “Jedbinbilla,” a mountaintop ceremony where Aboriginal boys become men.
Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve is the Canberra region’s major ecotourism attraction, comprising valleys, sub-alpine forests, and, at lower elevations, grasslands, wetlands, and Eucalyptus forest woodlands. There are about 20 different walking and hiking trails for outdoor enthusiasts of all abilities.
Less than two weeks after having foot surgery, and still desperately needing back surgery, let’s say my ambulatory abilities were fairly poor. However, slowly but surely, I moseyed my way around The Sanctuary and Eucalypt Forest trails for a few hours before succumbing and returning to the air-conditioned car.
Additionally, the reserve has a robust conservation program, breeding endangered Australian animals like the southern brush-tailed rock wallaby and northern corroboree frogs.
For us, seeing some local animals was a major driving force to finally get out there. We saw koalas (including a baby koala), an Australian pelican, a platypus, wallabies and kangaroos, bettongs, a kookaburra, an *extremely* poisonous snake, and a bunch of different birds.
Since the day pass was $12 AUD ($9.75 USD), we went ahead and bought an annual pass for $30 AUD ($28.40 USD) instead. That allows us to scan in and drive through the park anytime it’s open, with up to six other passengers. (Not that we could really sit eight people in our thirteen year old Nissan Murano, but I digress.)
The speed limit throughout the reserve is capped at a rollicking 21 mph, in order to avoid injuries to wildlife.
If you head out to Tidbinbilla, be sure to grab a trail map at the Visitor Centre, and bring your bug spray. During the 3-4 hours we visited, we had to douse ourselves with bug spray at least once an hour to keep the maniacal biting flies away, and it was worse near water. Also, camping is not permitted, and there are no rubbish bins, so pack it in, pack it out.
We will be back to Tidbinbilla, many times over!