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.
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
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.
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.
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
that had formed by cooling. About 30 million years ago the sedimentary
been eroded and granite was
exposed, which after
further weathering have formed the rocks we can see in Tidbinbilla
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
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 moths. by Terry Clinton via
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
Acacia plant. by dhobern via Flickr.com
Corroboree Frog and other
Animals you are likely to see include eastern grey kangaroos,
red-necked wallabies and emus.
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
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
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,
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. By Prescott via Flickr.com
The longer and more challenging bushwalks
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.
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
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