Venturing south just 40 minutes from Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory is a beautiful nature reserve called “Tinbinbilla”. Named after the aboriginal word “Jedbinbilla” for a “place where boys become men” and “Birrigai” meaning “to laugh”. It is a valley with deep Eucalyptus forests lies nestled between the Tidbinbilla and Gibraltar Mountain ranges of the Northern Australian Alps housing numerous critters and flora. Here you can find over 164 bird species, mammals, and reptiles such as the wallabies, emu, cockatoos, mountain duck, corroboree frogs, parrots, wombats, echidnas, koala, platypus, and kangaroos. As you enter the park, a greeting pay station and visitor center awaits a brief introduction to the park and its facilities. The park has forests, woodlands, wetlands, grasslands, and sub-alpine slopes. Hiking and bicycling trails abound as well as picnic areas, wildlife petting areas, and playgrounds for kids. The area is rich with Aboriginal history as was once an area where boys became men during their puberty rites. The park houses the Birrigai Rockshelte where 20,000 years ago the Ngunawal people lived. This was a meeting place for the Ngarigo, Wolgalu, Gundungurra, Yuin, and Wiradjuri clans for intiations, marriages, trading, and other ceremonies. The Bogong Rocks are where tribes came to harvest bogong moths to roast as a delicacy as well as to hold ceremonies by walking around the mountain. Today some native clans still gather for celebrations here. Once white settlers came to the area in the 1800’s, homesteads were built in the area, of whose ruins you can now see at the Rock Valley Heritage Site, Church Rock Heritage Loop, or the Nil Desperandum Homestead along the river.
The park encompasses over 52 kilometers of terrain. In 1939 a Koala sanctuary was built as well in the area. The reserve has become a leader in wildlife reproductive biology with state of the art facilities, a veterinary surgery and animal breeding center. The park often holds bushwalks. The park is also across the street from the Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex part of NASA’s Deep Space Network. Since 2008, Tinbinbilla has become part of the Australian National Heritage List.
I found the park very relaxing and breathtaking for an outdoor escape from busy Canberra. Hiking with my friend through the nature trails, the wetlands, and the preserves provided many opportunities for wildlife viewing. Definitely a place I’ll be back to on my next trip to Australia. Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5. Visited 04/24/11. Review by Thomas Baurley.
- Australian Alps: Tinbinbilla. Website referenced November 2011. www.australianalps.environment.gov.au/
- Australia.com: Tinbinbilla. Website referenced November 2011. www.australia.com.
- Canberra.com.au: Tinbinbilla. Website referenced November 2011. www.canberra.com.au.
- Tinbinbilla.com.au. Website referenced November 2011. www.tidbinbilla.com.au.
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