Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve is in ACT.

The reserve covers 5400 hectares north-east of Namadgi National Park only a short drive from Canberra.

Together with the neighbouring Namadgi and Kosciuszko National Parks it forms the northern part of Australian Alps. It is known as a home for many animals including the rare corroboree frog and bogong moth. The reserve was badly damaged in the 2003 Canberra bushfires, but things are back to normal now.

tidbinbilla australia
Views. By brotherlywalks via Flickr.com

Alpine Animals and 2003 Canberra Bushfires
A small part of it was set aside in 1936 as a public reserve. In 1939 a koala enclosure was built, and the area of the reserve has been since extended twice. The first wildlife displays were created in 1969 and the park was officially gazetted in 1971.

Tidbinbilla has since been an important animal refugee where captive breeding programs are run for endangered species. The devastating Canberra bushfires (2003) in destroyed 99% of the park when only one koala, six rock wallabies, five protoroos, four freckled ducks and nine black swans survived the fire. The wildlife is back now and the bushwalking tracks and facilities are open as before.

Mob of Red Kangaroo (Macropus Rufus), Tidbinbilla Reserve, New South Wales, Australia
Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to buy

Geology and Geological History
Between 500 and 450 million years ago, the area was covered by sea. The sediments that laid on the sea bottom formed sedimentary rocks that were later uplifted. Granitic magma intruded to the sedimentary rocks and quartz filled the cracks and joints that had formed by cooling. About 30 million years ago the sedimentary rocks had been eroded and granite was exposed, which after further weathering have formed the rocks we can see in Tidbinbilla today.

tidbinbilla nature reserve
Geology. By Prescott via Flickr.com

Bogong Moth - Aboriginal Food Source
Aboriginal people moved into the area about 21,000 years ago and today there is evidence of their life in the cold alpine country in Birrigai Rock Shelter, Tidbinbilla Mountain and Bogong Cave. Bogong Moths that rest in the Bogong Moth Cave were an important seasonal Aboriginal food source, and the Birrigai Rock Shelter which can be visited on the Birrigai Time Trail is the oldest known Aboriginal site in the Australian Capital Territory. Europeans were living here during the last century and left behind two historical buildings - Nil Desperandum and Rock Valley Homestead, both badly damaged in the 2003 Canberra bushfires.

bogong moth
Bogong moths. by Terry Clinton via Flickr.com

Snow Gum Forests and Alpine Vegetation

There are various types of Alpine vegetation in the reserve. The subalpine vegetation on the altitudes between 1220 and 1600m includes snow gum and various scrubs such as acacias and Leptospermum species, while the valley floor contains different eucalypt species such as black sallee and candlebark.

acacia plant
Acacia plant. by dhobern via Flickr.com

Corroboree Frog and other Alpine Animals
Animals you are likely to see include eastern grey kangaroos, swamp wallabies, red-necked wallabies and emus. Brushtail possums, ringtail possums and greater gliders also live in the reserve. The endangered Northern Corroboree Frog and Brush-tailed rock wallabies are bred in captivity. The Brush-tailed Rock Wallabies have not been seen in the wild since 1959. The northern corroboree frog is under threat of extinction, and it is endemic to Tidbinbilla and in the neighbouring Kosciuszko National Park in New South Wales.

australian kangaroos
Kangaroos. By kiifu via Flickr.com

Bushwalking Tracks and Where to Stay
There is plenty to do in Tidbinbilla today: families come here to picnic or barbeque, go for a bike ride or a scenic drive, have fun at the Nature Discovery Playground or explore the Visitor Centre displays. There are ranger guided activities, and marked walking tracks for bushwalkers.

The shortest tracks are Hanging Rock Trail (500m, 15min, Aboriginal rock shelter), Turkey Hill Geology Trail (500m, 15min; geological features), Koala Path (700m, 30min; koalas, echidnas), Peppermint Track (1.8km, 1hr; peppermint and ribbon gums), Wetlands Loop and Black Flats Dam (1.8km, 1hr, waterbirds, frogs, reptiles and platypus), Church Rock Heritage Loop (2.5km, 45min; 19th century history), Xanthorrohoea Loop Trail (2.5km, 1hr; grass trees), and Birrigai Time Trail (3km, 1hr; Aboriginal rock shelter).

emu bird
Emu bird. By Prescott via Flickr.com

The longer and more challenging bushwalks are Devils Gap Trail (6km, 2hrs; dry forest), Gibraltar Trail (5.5km, 2hrs; massive granite rocks), Fishing Gap Trail (7.7km, 3hrs; wet fern gullies and giant eucalypts), and Camel Back Trail (12.5km, 6hrs; alpine vegetation such as snow gums. The Reserve is only open between 9am and 6pm (8pm during daylight savings) and camping in the park is not allowed. The best place to stay is the close-by Canberra.

tidbinbilla science centre
Science Centre. By neeravbhatt via Flickr.com

Here's a map of Tidbinbilla - you can double-click anywhere on the map to zoom it in and see the places closer. Drag the map to move around, and if you want to see the satellite image with Google Earth, click on "Sat" in the top right hand corner.

View Larger Map

Been to Tidbinbilla?

Been to Tidbinbilla?

Share your story!!!

We all love to read about other travellers' experiences - good or bad!

Tell us where you went and what you enjoyed. Or if there was anything you didn't enjoy.

Living there? Enjoying it? Why?

You will create YOUR own page on Gondwananet!

Make it nice - you can also submit up to four photos :-)

[ ? ]

Upload 1-4 Pictures or Graphics (optional)[ ? ]


Click here to upload more images (optional)

Author Information (optional)

To receive credit as the author, enter your information below.

(first or full name)

(e.g., City, State, Country)

Submit Your Contribution

  •  submission guidelines.

(You can preview and edit on the next page)

You Are Secure!

Bookmark and Share

[?] Subscribe To This Site

follow us in feedly
Add to My Yahoo!
Add to My MSN
Subscribe with Bloglines