Chinese Tour Group to TNR

Thursday 28 January: Escort a Chinese tour group on walks at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve – S/E .

I drove to TNR and met a bused-in group of 11 tourists.


Distance: 4.7km | Climb: 180m | Time: 11.30am-4.00pm (4hrs 30mins), at tourist enjoyment pace | Grading: S/E; E(4)


Photographs are available, where you can start a large sized slideshow.

Track Notes

I’d been contacted via the Canberra Bushwalking Club website by a member from the 1960-70s, asking if I’d escort a group of Chinese tourists on a ‘bushwalk’. That’s sort of how I got involved with the Italian-led Chinese group. Enjoying anyone who likes to get out and breathe a bit of fresh air, I had a ball. I think they did too.

I arrived early to be waved at by a TNR Ranger. It wasn’t my attractive personality, but to deliver a message that power was off, so entry was free. Had a chat with John McR, the TNR head Ranger, about a little project he has on the boil whilst waiting.

The bus arrived and after some faffing around, we drove to the Dalsetta car park to offer the ‘long drop’ toilets (other, more salubrious, facilities can only manage one flush when the electricity is out). It gave me great joy to see their excitement on alighting to immediately view kangaroos bouncing around. A perfect start.

We drove to The Sanctuary, where we did the lap. Each person had a sheet of possible-to-be-sighted birds and animals, so we were immediately able to tick off moth and dingo, courtesy of the lovely steel sculptures by the entrance. A wedge-tailed eagle, too, as we went through the sheltered area. A few trees and shrubs were identified (I’m a 3-types of trees – gum trees, pine trees and others). Black swans on the ponds and red-bellied black snakes slithering under the walkways added to the taste of Australia. No blood and guts on view as we walked past the veterinary hospital. A stop to spot the enclosed water dragons, and there were plenty of lizards and skinks running free elsewhere. A pause below where the birds are fed and a very helpful Susan (a volunteer ranger – hats off to them!) helped us identify cockatoos, purple moorhens and white-winged choughs.  A little further on we visited the brolgas. Ladies – your hearts would have melted as the Italian guides said ‘Brrolga’! Up to the viewing point above the Tidbinbilla weir and a platypus was spotted on the still waters. So back up the incline (it’s steep when you’re pushing Gay in her wheelchair) to the reception building for lunch.

I have a multicultural family, with a Pommy son-in-law and a Mexican-American daughter-in-law. But I didn’t realise that seats do not go with sushi for lunch, so we ‘bush-bashed’ a few metres to a rock slab for a sit-down-on-it meal.

Our next stop was the koala enclosure. We were greeted by a Ranger with a ute load of selected tender eucalyptus branches and the news that feeding time is a great time to visit. Indeed it was – I’ve never seen the koalas so active. This was another high point of excitement. But by the time I’d gone back to the car to get my camera, all I got was a koala bear butt. We did a 700m lap of the area to see if we could spot a less captive koala, but no joy.

Our third little walkabout was the Cascade Trail. The large bus easily negotiated the road to the Mountain Creek car park. A lovely little 2km loop with a bit of up before the down. It provided my third thrill for the day as everyone, especially the children, enjoyed the little waterfall just off the track and the magnificent tree fern.

A simple, but great, day in the company of visitors enjoying the flora and fauna of Australia. Wonderful!

The group returned to an art lesson by Judy C and here is one of the works:

Art by Amerigo

I originally refused payment for this small service. But today, when the subject again arose, I remembered the upcoming walk to raise funds for Beryl Womens Shelter. So $20 was the deal. I was most grateful when $100 was offered by the Italian tour guide, and accepted on behalf of Beryl.


12, sometimes 14, walkers.