There’s that old joke about being happy to camp under the stars, as long as its five stars, for those of us who aren’t terribly keen on pitching a tent in a paddock somewhere.
Now Canberrans will have the opportunity to do both with a unique experience being offered by Wildfest, an adventure luxury travel company, and Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve.
From September 28, 2018, to October 13, coinciding with the ACT school holidays, families can book an overnight stay which includes not only glamping tent accommodation but a behind-the-scenes look at the nature reserve.
There’ll be fireside dreamtime stories, ranger walks and educational talks, alongside a night’s camping which includes a gourmet dinner and breakfast.
“There’ll also be the chance to wear infrared goggles at night looking for animals in the dark and we’ll head down to the veterinary centre and look at the Northern Corroboree Frogs,” says Michelle Vernon, nature stays manager with the ACT Parks and Conservation Service.
Ms Vernon said the collaboration with Wildfest enables ACT Parks to open up Tidbinbilla for new experiences.
“We want more people to experience the wonders of nature we have here,” she says.
“If we don’t engage people with nature we might lose it.”
Ten luxury bell tents will be pitched in the Flints picnic area, accommodating about 36 people. Each tent includes mattress on bed bases, floor rugs, a welcome mat along with sheets, pillow cases, a warm doona, a warm throw and cushion. Toilet amenities are already available and showers will be brought in.
Wildfest founder Amanda Fry said the Southern Highlands-based company had been looking for a way to break into the Canberra market for a few years now.
“The whole reason for setting up Wildfest, the whole purpose of Wildfest, is to create experiences in nature,” Ms Fry said.
“All of our experiences have an element of the outdoors and what’s fantastic about Tidbinbilla is it’s a wildlife sanctuary, you get to see the animals the way nature intended.
“Being able to combine that experience of being in a place where you will definitely get to see the animals the way you should see them and being able to stay the night seemed to be a wonderful opportunity to create a family product that is fun and entertaining and ultimately educational.”
She said the ACT Parks team at Tidbinbilla had worked hard to produce a behind the scenes program to suit all ages.
“They are so enthusiastic and so proud of what they do it’s an absolute pleasure to combine our expertise in accommodation with their expertise in park management to provide this opportunity.
“Tidbinbilla is the real hero here.”
Situated about 40km south-west of central Canberra, Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve is home to more than 160 bird species, 30 reptile species and 34 mammal species and is committed to conserving endangered species through breeding programs, including the Eastern Bettong.
During Wildfest at Tidbinbilla, on October 4, which is World Animal Day, Brian the Bettong will make a special appearance.
“I think Brian is the east coast’s answer to the quokka selfie,” she says.
“He’s a pretty happy looking chap that we know the kids will love.”
For more information head to wildfest.com.au/tidbinbilla. Prices are $195 for children and $295 for adults which includes the overnight stay and all activities.
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