PARKS AND RESERVES
Canberra Nature Park
Canberra is often called 'The Bush Capital' and the Canberra Nature Park encourages this name. Canberra Nature Park comprises 30 separate areas, which range from bushland hills to lowland native grasslands, and includes many of the hills and ridges around Canberra, as well as parts of the Murrumbidgee Corridor.
The Canberra Nature Park reserves also contain Yellow Box-Red Gum Grassy Woodland; an endangered ecological community in Australia. The reserves are habitats for a number of threatened species including the Hooded Robin, Striped Legless Lizard and the Button Wrinklewort. Canberra Nature Park is used by the ACT's residents for recreational activities.
Googong Foreshores is situated 10 km south of Queanbeyan. It is a managed water catchment area, recreation area, and a significant wildlife refuge for native plants and animals, including a number of threatened species.
The Queanbeyan River, within Googong, is home to one of the few remaining wild populations of the threatened Macquarie Perch. The Pink-tailed Worm Lizard, listed as vulnerable in NSW, inhabits Googong’s native grasslands. Also listed as vulnerable in NSW, Rosenberg’s Monitor is a Googong resident, laying its eggs in termite mounds. The Hooded Robin, Diamond Firetail, Brown Treecreeper and Speckled Warbler are all listed as vulnerable in NSW and are also found at Googong. A number of endangered plant species, such as the Silky Swainson-pea are also found here.
Located right in the centre of Canberra on the edge of Lake Burley Griffin, the Jerrabomberra Wetlands are the largest wetlands in the ACT. They are home to a large range of waterbirds, particularly when inland Australia is in drought. Some of these birds found here migrate from as far away as Japan and China. The wetlands are also home to a variety of other animals, including platypus and water rats.
Namadgi National Park
Named after the Aboriginal word for the mountains to the south-west of Canberra, Namadgi National Park was declared in 1984 and covers 105,900 ha.
Namadgi is the most northern part of the Australian Alps national parks. Alpine environments are rare in Australia and cover only 0.15% of the Australian continent. Fed by melting snow from Australia's highest mountains, the continent's major rivers are born. Plants and animals found in Namadgi are found nowhere else in Australia.
There is much variety in the park, with habitats ranging from grassy plains to snowgum woodlands and alpine meadows on the mountain peaks distinguished by their bold outcrops of granite.
Namadgi also has a rich heritage of human history. Evidence of local Indigenous people, including quarry sites where stone was gathered for tool making, ceremonial stone arrangements on the high peaks, campsites and rock art all feature in the park. Aboriginal people retain a strong link with Namadgi.
Pastoralists settled in the southern end of the park in the 1830s and the remains of fences, huts, their homesteads and yards can still be found.
During the early 1960s to the early 1980s space tracking stations operated at Honeysuckle Creek and Orroral Valley. They were instrumental in monitoring the Apollo space program; the Honeysuckle Creek station providing the first pictures of man walking on the moon.
There are many recreational opportunities in Namadgi National Park. These include bushwalking, camping, cycling, rock climbing and abseiling. Namadgi also supplies up to 95% of Canberra's and Queanbeyan's water.
Murrumbidgee River Corridor
The Murrumbidgee River flows for 1600 km from its headwaters in Kosciuszko National Park to its junction with the Murray River near Balranald in NSW. The river and its catchment - part of the Murray-Darling Basin - supplies water for people, agriculture and wildlife.
Some 66 km of the river lies in the ACT, from Angle Crossing in the south to Uriarra Crossing in the north. The river and a narrow strip of land on either side are managed as the Murrumbidgee River Corridor (MRC), which includes several nature reserves, recreation reserves, a European heritage conservation zone and rural leases. The MRC also provides easily accessible opportunities for nature-based recreation close to Canberra.
Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve
Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, located between the Tidbinbilla and Gibraltar Ranges, is a 40 minute drive from the Canberra city centre along Tourist Drive 5. The Reserve borders Namadgi National Park in the south east of the ACT and covers an area of approximately 5,500 ha, and comprises a large valley floor, the Tidbinbilla mountain range and the Gibraltar range. The lower slopes and partly cleared valley floor reflect the history of Aboriginal and European use of the area, whereas ecosystems on the heavily forested and steep sides of the Tidbinbilla Valley are relatively undisturbed.
Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve and Namadgi National Park adjoin the northern section of Kosciusko National Park in NSW, and together these parks and reserves form the northern part of the Australian Alps national parks. Tidbinbilla also has boundaries with ACT forests, rural leases and the Birrigai Outdoor Education Centre.
Tidbinbilla provides a habitat for a wide range of native flora and fauna including 164 bird species, a variety of reptiles, fish and amphibians, and a diverse range of mammals, including several bat species. Broad habitats include wetlands, dry forests, wet forests and sub-alpine. Tidbinbilla also includes a site that serves as a shelter, or staging site, for the Bogong Moth in October and November.
Tidbinbilla is recognised as a highly significant Aboriginal place with the highest density of artefacts found in the ACT. Evidence of Aboriginal occupation in Tidbinbilla includes open artefact scatters, prehistoric rock shelters and other sites of significance. The most important sites are Birrigai Rock Shelter, Bogong Cave and Tidbinbilla Mountain.