• Outdoor Drop Toilet
  • No pets
  • BYO firewood
  • Picnic tables
  • Lighting only (no power points)
  • Living Room
  • Wood Fire Place (heats 1 bedroom only)
  • Gas Barbecue with Side Burner
  • Untreated rainwater tank
  • Outdoor Firepit
  • Wildlife viewing
  • No Smoking
  • Outdoor furniture
  • Deck (covered)
  • Unsealed Road Access
  • Not Suitable for Caravans or Camper Trailers
  • Walk to site option
  • Wash basin with cold water
  • Cooktop / Oven (wood fire)
  • Car Parking - On Site
  • Dining Area
  • Bushwalking Trails nearby
  • Solar Power
  • Self-Service Check-in
  • Linen Not Included (BYO)


Check In: 13:00|Check Out: 10:00
Hours: Tidbinbilla Visitor Centre opening hours are 9.00am - 5.00pm on weekends and public holidays (closed Christmas Day). Tidbinbilla Visitor Centre can be contacted on 6207 7921.

- Full payment is required at the time of booking.
- Please note fees are reviewed each financial year and are subject to increase.
- Before your stay, we recommend checking alerts that may impact your visit: parks.act.gov.au/before-you-go/alerts

The historic European property, Nil Desperandum, provides a unique experience nestled in the Tidbinbilla mountain range. Nil Desperandum, which means 'No Despair', offers visitors a feeling of peaceful remoteness that is less than an hour's drive from the centre of the nation's capital, Canberra. There is solar lighting, a long drop toilet, tank water, gas BBQ, refurbished wood-fired oven and stove, 2x bunk beds, 1 x double bed, fireplace in the main bedroom, and a generous firepit outside.

Nil Desperandum provides the perfect base for bushwalking, bird watching, stargazing, reading or some peaceful relaxation. Because Nil Desperandum is located within Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, there is an abundance of things to do and explore. Tidbinbilla is a place of conservation, a place where you can learn about native wildlife, European heritage and the continuing connection of the Ngunnawal people to Country.

From the property you can take a stroll on the lovely Eric and Elsie's Loop, which showcases important aspects of Nil Desperandum's history such as the camellia garden, swimming pool and eucalyptus distillery. If you are after something a bit more adventurous, you can hike the Nil Desperandum Walking Trail down to the valley floor. It is a 13.8km return track that takes you along a mixture of management trails and single track. You'll walk through regenerating native forest, regularly enjoying fantastic views across the valley and across to Gibraltar Peak, a sight that is not to be missed.

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve supports a wide range of wildlife including, kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, emus, lyrebirds, platypus and various other mammal, bird, reptile and insect species.


Sleeping Arrangements:
Nil Desperandum can sleep up to 6 guests in two bedrooms. One room has a double bed, and the second room has two bunk beds with 4x king-single mattresses.
Camping is not permitted at the property, or in the reserve. All guests must be included in the 6 person sleeping arrangements.
We do not recommend staying overnight for small children and infants due to the potential weather extremes and historic nature of the property.

Check-in is between 1 and 4pm at the Tidbinbilla Visitor Information Centre. Please allow yourself 30 minutes to check-in and drive to the property.
Check-out is at 10am at the visitor centre. Please allow yourself enough time to get back to the visitor centre and return the keys by 10am. Late check-outs will be considered upon request by emailing naturestays@act.gov.au after booking.

What to Bring:
- Personal Locator Beacon or EPIRB (recommended)
- First Aid Kit, including snake bite kit (recommended)
- Torches
- Sunscreen and insect repellent
- Bedding (i.e. pillows, sleeping bags, bed linens and blankets)
- Cutlery, plates, tea towels and cooking utensils
- Food and drink, as the nearest shops are 30 minutes away
- Firewood, kindling and firelighters. Wood cannot be collected from within ACT parks and reserves - including Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve.
- Your own axe/hatchet to chop firewood and kindling (brought by you).
- Camera
- ACT weather can be very hot or cold, please bring appropriate clothing and bedding.
- Please note that you will be responsible to getting your belongings up there and back - this includes firewood purchases.

It is expected that you will leave the property as you found it. This includes cleaning the BBQ if you use it, sweeping the floors when you leave and taking your rubbish with you.

The water supply comes from an untreated rainwater tank, so using it for drinking or cleaning is at your own risk. We suggest boiling rainwater before consumption or brining your own water supply for your stay.

Heritage Values:
Nil Desperandum was built by a method of construction known as pise, or rammed earth. Because of this, staying at Nil Desperandum is a unique experience that takes you back in time. The walls of the property require care and damage to them may result in your being charged for repairs.


Map & Directions

Nil Desperandum, ACT, Australia, Paddys River 2620


Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve has two routes from Canberra.

From the North - Head down Cotter Road past the Cotter Dam for around 16km on Paddys River Road. Then turn right into Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve.

From the South - Exit Drakeford Drive onto Woodcock Drive, then right onto Jim Pike Avenue. Turn right onto Point Hut Road, following for 4.8km before turning right onto Tidbinbilla Road. After 10km, the road will become Paddys River Road. From there you will reach the entrance to Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve on your left and then the Visitor Information Centre, where you will pick-up the keys for access to Nil Desperandum.

Access to Nil Desperandum is via unsealed roads, strictly 4WD or AWD vehicles only. You may leave additional cars overnight during your stay at the Visitor Information Centre, or at Greens Picnic Area, if you are hiking to the property and back (13km return - 4 hours).

The Visitor Information Centre is open from 9am-5pm seven days a week except on Christmas Day.

There is no public transportation to Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve and Nil Desperandum. We do not recommend a taxi or rideshare to travel out to the reserve.

Cancellation Policy

Where changes result in a reduction of fees (excluding those identified because of a special offer) a percentage refund on a cancelled reservation may be provided subject to the cancellation policy (provided at time of booking). These terms and timeframes include:

Cancellations by you:
- A full refund will apply for cancellations made greater than 14 days of your arrival/start.
- A 90% refund will apply for cancellations made within 8 - 14 days of your arrival/start date.
- No refund will apply for cancellations made within 7 days of your arrival/start date.

Modifications to booking dates by you:
- You are entitled to change the dates of the original booking one (1) time if modification is made greater than 7 days of your arrival/start date.
- No modifications are permitted within 7 days of your arrival/start date.
- Refunds on any modified booking should it subsequently be cancelled will be treated as stated under “Cancellations by you”.
- Eligible bookings can be changed to a date within 365 days of the date the modification is requested (subject to availability). All terms and conditions still apply.
- Customers must choose a date when modifying the booking. If an alternate date is not known the booking will be cancelled as per the above cancellation terms. Bookings must be modified in their entirety.

Cancellations and modifications by ACT Parks and Conservation Service (ACT PCS):
Unforeseen operational issues and management obligations, including but not limited to extreme weather events, fire, and natural disasters, may mean that the booking cannot be provided. The booking will be cancelled and a full refund given. ACT PCS will not be liable for any other losses incurred because of this cancellation.

Important Information:
- It is a condition during your stay at Nil Desperandum that vehicle use on management roads within Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve is strictly to and from the property for check-in and check-out purposes only. Any other purpose may be considered an offence under the Nature Conservation Act (2014).
- To reduce the biosecurity risks at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, please ensure your vehicle and any other equipment is free of any dirt or seeds. This helps to keep invasive weeds and pathogens out of Tidbinbilla – thank you!

Information Privacy Statement:
The personal information collected during the booking process is provided to the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate (EPSDD) to enable the processing of your booking. If all or some of the personal information is not collected, EPSDD cannot accept/process your booking. EPSDD will not share this personal information with other government agencies or other organisations except in accordance with the Information Privacy Act 2014 or as required by another law.

The EPSDD Information Privacy Policy can be found here: www.parks.act.gov.au/privacy

The Information Privacy Policy Annex contains information in regard to what information EPSDD collects and to whom it is disclosed. The policy also contains information about how you may access or seek to correct your personal information held by EPSDD, and how you may complain about an alleged breach of the ACT Privacy Principles.