Greens car park, Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve
Greens car park is part of the larger adventure playground area. There is parking at Greens for about seven cars but there is ample parking a short walk away if the group is large
Greens car park, Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve
This trail is walkable year round but would be a bit exposed in mid summer
To start the walk to Nil Desperandum head to Greens car park which is one of the smaller car parks located in the main adventure playground at the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. To get to Greens take the first turn to the right just after you have entered the main reserve which is the turn off to the Nature Discovery Playground. The sign doesn’t say ‘Greens’ at this stage but once you enter the Nature Discovery Playground the car park is well signposted.
The Nature Discovery Playground is a great place to take a family for a visit particularly if you want to see wildlife such as kangaroos and emus. For some reason I have never associated Canberra with emus, I don’t know why. To start this walk park at the small Greens car park and walk 100 metres down the hill to the secluded picnic area. The sign to start this walk is over towards the right side of this area and near the river. The walk starts by crossing a small bridge before coming to the trail register.
This first 500 metres of this walk is through lush green vegetation and I had expectations that this would be the norm but this wasn’t the case. The majority of this walk is on open exposed fire trail so doing this trail in mid summer in the middle of the day is probably not the best choice.
The scenery on this trail can best be described as a nice walk in a remote area but while I enjoyed it, it wasn’t spectacular. However having said that this walk was a bit of a surprise. I was aware before starting the walk that Nil Desperandum (Don’t Despair) was a homestead but I had impressions of it being the run down dilapidated variety and that was partly due to its name. I was very surprised as I approached this lovely old homestead to find it in excellent condition and surrounded by swathes of green grass. This building was constructed in the late 1890’s however much of it was destroyed in the 2003 Canberra bushfires. It has been rebuilt and the only indication that there was ever a fire is that the vegetation is all about the same height.
The biggest surprise to me was that you could actually stay here overnight. The fees aren’t cheap at $149 per night but that’s for up to six people. Bookings can be made through the link below. Aren’t allowed to collect firewood from the surrounding area and need to bring it with you if you feel the need. I think I can do without a fire if it means carrying in 10 kg of timber. The facilities at the hut are excellent with an outside toilet as well as camp beds if you didn’t want to tent it. There is a small water tank attached to the toilet block and while the water is probably fine, I would recommend that you treat it.
We stayed here for about 30 minutes for a break and to look around before heading back and noticed that not long after we left the homestead, we had the option of going up a very steep hill that connected back with the main trail. This alternate route is steep to say the least and we opted to return the way we came which is the way the trail signs direct you. Speaking of trail signs, the trail itself is well marked and easy to follow.
This is a great walk for those history buffs or for those who want a day/overnight hike to be just a bit different. I can see my self spending a night here over the coming year with family.
The turn off to Greens car park is the first right hand turn as you enter the main part of the reserve
The adventure playground and picnic facilities at this trail head are excellent and a great place to have lunch if you start this trip early
Emu at the adventure playground
Internal sign directing you to Greens car park
Toilet facilities in the main area. There is another smaller block between the Greens and Webbs car parks
Greens car park
Follow the sign to the Greens picnic area and the trail head which is about 100metres away from the car park
Down to Greens picnic area
Head across the open grassed area to the right and follow the signs
Over the bridge
Mmmmm. Me thinks they need a new rail register!
The local mushrooms get pretty big
The first part of the trail is lush, green and shaded but it doesn’t last very long
Thi is a typical example of much of this trail. The scenery is great but open and exposed to the sun
The trail is well marked
I always love it when the moon is up during the day
Panorama view of the local scenery
Heading to the homestead
Long drop toilet at Nil Desperandum
Old farm machinery
Nil Desperandum homestead
Nil Desperadum home paddock
Back of Nil Desperandum. There is a BBQ as well as tables at the rear of this homestead
Kitchen in Nil Desperandum
Bedroom in Nil Desperandum.You can camp overnight here but there is a fee (See below)
Red Belly Black snake on the return trip
Alternate route back. You can go straight up the hill rather than turning right here but its a steep hill
Turning of the fire trail. The arrows mark the direction
Image from Google Maps
The trip from the centre of Canberra is approximately 45 minutes and 43 km. Once you enter the nature reserve itself travel to the Adventure playground carpark which is the first turn on the left. This playground is large and contains a series of smaller carparks and picnic areas with plenty of facilities. This is a good place to see emus. Follow the signs to Greens carparks to start the walk.
There are a couple of toilet facilities here. One large one near the adventure playground as well as one smaller one between the Greens and Webbs carparks. (stop here for a toilet break if you need to) then continue on the loop road taking the right branch each time you have the option.
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.
Vehicle access into the reserve requires a permit which ranges from a single visit at $11.50 per vehicle with up to eight people or $33.00 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 you pass from as early 7:30 am in the morning and you will need to be out by 6:00 pm at the latest (8:00 pm in summer). If you are buying a single entry into the park you will need to wait until the visitor centre opens at 10:00 am (9:00 am in the summer).
Entrance to Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve
Tidbinbilla Visitor Centre and boom gate. If you have an annual pass you can just swipe your card for access without having to enter the visitor centre
Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve requires a pass to enter with your car (with up to 8 passengers)
This walk was undertaken by the team from Australian Hiker