4th May 2014, a usual sunny Sunday filled the Australian Capital city of Canberra. It was a deserved recreational period for the weeklong hustle of work and university. A five-minute planning decided the course of the day. We decided to make a day trip to Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve.
It was a smooth 50 minutes drive on the lovely Canberra highway. The journey was filled with GPS sounds and Dzongkha songs in the background yet we could find the ears and mouth to discuss our thoughts. Canberra is a unique capital city of small leafy suburbs and scatter of not-very tall buildings, where some are office buildings and others are mostly town centers of respective suburbs. As the journey gained momentum, the yonder hills beckoned a nostalgic feeling of home and even the road seemed like driving down a Bhutanese highway (except for the smoothness though). The vast stretch of greenery on the sides of the road was breathtaking. We could see countless sheep mulching the juicy grasses and I wondered how in the world could one recognize his sheep as every single sheep looked like the other. The occasional brooks and farmhouses were a great treat.
As we were thoroughly enjoying the drive, we encountered our first wildlife and it was none other than the country’s iconic animal, Kangaroo. It was also my first close encounter with the animal who was talked of and signposted everywhere. Indeed, the Kangaroo is a beautiful being. The most interesting of its view was the (assumed) pose it gave when we readied our cameras.
Then, we reached our destination at 11.30 A.M. We had to get a ticket for $10 per car (I thought it was very cheap for the treat we expected). Whilst waiting for the formalities, we got a chance to see few animals that were preserved in the visitor’s center. The diamond-back python and another type of python were kept alive in a glass box. The sight of these reptiles gave in to some discussions of our beliefs wherein we have a stereotyped belief that the sight of a python is considered ill omened. Yet, I found them so gentle and attractive. A Myna’s description was also an interesting as I learnt that the bird that is so common in Bhutan, was an “introduced” species here and considered a threatened species. Another funny incidence was when I thought the Shingleback lizard was a plastic one on my first view and on a closer observation it winked at me.
We finally got our ticket to the park and so we started our 16 Km drive into the ring road of the reserve. As we entered the gates of the park, we could feel calmness and a strongly felt similarity in the air. The roads and trails were so well designed and we could access the area with ease and comfort. With our car safely parked, we walked the trails and admired the way they maintained the paths and the other amenities. The Kangaroos were in abundance as we walked through. Then we reached many ponds where we could see a variety of water birds. It was an enticing adventure and we expected an animal sighting on every curve. We were rewarded with few Wallabies, many kangaroos, assorted cranes and birds and three sleeping Koalas. The Koalas were very cute to see especially their black tip nose and the way they curl to sleep so soundly. The Koala path showed tips for us to encounter some Koalas but in vain and I thought the Bush fires might have claimed these cute animals. I also wanted to see a Lyrebird but could only see it in the photos. The walk in the sanctuary lasted for about two hours. We took a quick lunch and resumed.
Though the park offered more (as seen in the guide), we couldn’t get everything of it. So, we drove back, tired yet rewarded. The trip was an indeed a well-deserved break. It was a sumptuous treat to our daily felt homesickness and a fulfilled recreation. The journey also reminded the human-wildlife coexistence. At least on this trip, we had free minds where we forgot our work pressures and the assignments too. It was a perfect incidence of Nature’s healing.
Thank you Tidbinbilla, You provided me a Sanctuary in the midst of my busy days!
Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve is Canberra’s leading ecotourism attraction. It is a comfortable hour’s drive from the city. The Reserve offers wildlife and nature based experiences in a natural setting as well as opportunities to discover the conservation initiatives. The sanctuary protects wetlands, grasslands, woodlands and eucalypt forest habitats and more (Discover Tidbinbilla Brochure, 2014)
|Brush tailed Wallaby|