Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve currently has free entry for the rest of the year, meaning it’ll cost you zilch to tackle this epic peak-bagging day hike.
- Sweeping views of The Pimple, and Namadgi National Park out to Bendora Dam
- Beautiful high country vegetation and exposed granite tors
- Challenging yet rewarding climb with a scenic bench just when you need it
Paying Respects to Tidbinbilla
This hallowed walk probably won’t be seen in any guide books or pamphlets, but is a highlight for seasoned bush walkers of Canberra. We recognise that Tidbinbilla Valley is a vitally important site for Ngunnawal people.
The name ‘Tidbinbilla’ is an anglicised version of ‘Jedbinbilla’, Ngunnawal for ‘where boys become men’. As adventurers, we can appreciate that we are not exploring so much as walking through an intimately known cultural landscape.
With restless legs and an appetite for an adventure, four friends departed Mountain Creek campground onto Lyrebird trail. Taking an indistinct footpad off the trail, we began our ascent.
With only brief respite for water, calf cramps and track identification, we climbed and climbed and climbed. The crisp mountain air was insurmountable against the heat and sweat of our exerted bodies.
About halfway up, we were pleasantly surprised to reach a scenic bench and table. For a few moments we sat comfortably in complete admiration and thanks to the group that had dragged it up all this way.
Despite cairns marking a false peak, we traversed a small saddle and finally summited. Our efforts were rewarded with sweeping views across Namadgi National Park, sombered only by the scarring of the summer fires.
Bendora Dam was also visible through mist to our south. As we were all gloveless, the exposed icy winds accelerated our descent towards Tidbinbilla Peak.
Traversing above the treeline, we navigated the robust alpine vegetation. Although predominantly sparse, the shrubs showed no mercy towards bare ankles or shins. The knoll between Tidbinbilla and John’s Peak provided spectacular views of the valley towards Camel’s Hump. Looking out to our left was the best-looking zit you’ll ever see, The Pimple.
The initial rocky descent was soon replaced by lush forest as we dipped below the harsh altitude. The track became increasingly distinct and eventually we joined with the popular Camel’s Hump firetrail. We enjoyed the smooth descent back to the car, in awe of the peaks that now loomed far above us.
- Day pack
- 2L water
- Map and compass
- Trousers (or gaiters!)
- Layer up if you’re going in winter, the temperature drops sharply above ~1300m and both peaks are exposed to icy winds blowing from Namadgi.
How To Get There
Make your way to Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, just 40-50 minute outside of Canberra. From the Visitors Centre you’ll then have to make your way to Mountain Creek car park, a drive of about 15 minutes. The road is well signposted and tarred the whole way.
- Staring in awe at the view
Moderate to strong navigation skills are required as most of the route is indistinct, following cairns or bits of tape.
The initial climb up Tidbinbilla Mountain is not for the faint of heart, the 500m+ of gain in the first 2km will have your blood pumping. In saying this, there are plenty of opportunities for rest, and after this initial climb the remainder is not too strenuous on the heart or knees.
Distance Covered / Elevation Gain / Duration
~13km / 800m elevation gain / 5-6 hours