• Distance 3.4km
  • Altitude max 740m
  • Altitude min 681m
  • Duration .75 hours
  • Trail type Return
Two Stars

Two Stars

Meh - Take it or leave it

The Australian Hiker Experience Rating is a measure of the overall quality of a walk. It is intended to help you decide whether to walk a trail, not to measure anything objective. Consider this our personal take on the walk.

Grade Three

Grade Three

Suitable for most ages and fitness levels. Some bushwalking experience recommended. Tracks may have short steep hill sections a rough surface and many steps. Walks up to 20km.

The Australian Grading system is based on the australian standard for measuring trail hikes.

Rubbish Bins
Camping Grounds

Birrigai Time Trail ACT (3.4 km)

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve

Nearest Town


Starting Location

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve Visitor Information Centre car park

The car park at the visitor centre is paved and will take over 50 cars comfortably. The visitor centre sells snacks and has toilet facilities but if you start your walk early it may not be open so check opening times on the website

Finish Location

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve Visitor Information Centre car park

Best Time to Travel

Year round

Birrigai Time Trail Review

This is one of the heritage trails in the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve and in this case, the Birrigai Time Trail focuses on the Aboriginal inhabitation. The shelter which is your destination, was originally thought to have been occupied about 3,000 years ago but after additional study, was found to have been inhabited as far back as 21,000 years. On the day I visited, the temperature was about 8-10° Celsius colder than nearby areas which would have meant regular snow in this area in mid-winter so shelters would have been crucial for survival.

The trail head is to the left of the visitor centre and doesn’t require you to enter the park to walk it so there is no need for a permit or an entry fee unless you are planning to go deeper into the park itself. Sign in at the walking register at the trail head and follow the signs to all the way to the rock shelter.

On this walk you will cross open grass land and as usual there are kangaroos all over the place. This trail also includes some sections of walking on the management trail but this is not very long so you won’t get board. There is good interpretive signage particularly at the shelter itself that explains what you are seeing.

This is not a rock art site but rather a shelter that changes our views of Aboriginal occupation in the region. It’s hard to imagine what it would have been like 21,000 years ago. As you approach the shelter which is just to the side of the walking trail, you can look over a metal railing into the shelter itself. You can also ‘go bush’ and look through the back of the shelter as well. Before you return take a short walk up the top of the hill to get good views over the valley to the rear as well as to Gibraltar Peak. From here you can either follow the loop around and return to the trail head or you can come back the way you came, the choice is yours.

The walk will take approximately 45 minutes and is relatively easy. If you have the opportunity, spend the day and do this walk after you have done one of the longer walks within the park.

Trail head just to the left of the visitor centre

Bushwalking register at the trail head. Sign in, sign out!

Trial map at trail head

Kangaroos are in abundant supply in the whole park

Valley panorama. There are great views like most of the walks in the reserve

The trail is well formed and well marked

Gibralter Peak from the Birrigai Time Trail

Good trail signage is in place

The trail contains a lot of grassy sections

Birrigai Rock shelter

Shelter front view

Shelter rear view

There is good interpretaion signage at the shelter site

Getting There

Image from Google Maps

The trip from the centre of Canberra is approximately 45 minutes and 48 km. Once you enter the car park for the nature reserve this is where you park which means that unless you want to go further into the park you won’t need to pay the entry fee.

The Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve contains a series of walks that are closer to Canberra than those at nearby Namadgi National Park. Many of the Namadgi walks, particularly those that go into the Bimberi Wilderness Zone, are more remote requiring a higher level of skill but with it a higher degree of seclusion whereas the Tibinbilla walks are easier to access but you are unlikely to be alone on the trail.

If you do want to drive into the reserve itself, a vehicle permit is needed which ranges from a single visit at $14.50 per vehicle (with up to eight people) or $39.50 per year. If you are a keen walker it’s worth buying the annual pass as it only takes three visits over the year to make it economical.

If you have an annual pass you can enter the park via the boom gate and scan your pass from as early 7:30am and you will need to be out by 6:00pm at the latest (8:00pm in summer). If you are buying a single entry into the park you will need to wait until the visitor centre opens at 10:00am (9:00am in the summer).

Prices as at 17 August 2022

Tidbinbilla entry

Tidbinbilla Visitor Centre and boomgate

Things to Know

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve requires a pass to enter with your car (with up to eight passengers). There are a number of walks that can be done from the carpark which means you can avoid the entry fee:

  • The annual pass is $39.50 and if you plan on doing at least three visits over the year is the cheapest option
  • A day pass is $14.50
  • The reserve is accessible before the visitor centre opens so long as you walk in or have an annual pass. The visitor centre sells snacks if you need

Prices as at 17 August 2022


This walk was undertaken by the team from Australian Hiker

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