• 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: The Tidbinbilla Visitor Information Centre is closed until further notice. Visitor centre staff can still be contacted on 6207 7921 from 9:00am to 5:00pm.

CONDITIONS: Full payment on booking | Fees may apply for changes or cancellations

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 fire pit outside.

Nil Desperandum provides the perfect base for bush walking, 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 Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. All guests must be included in the 6 people 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.

On your check-in day, you will need to pick up the keys from a key safe outside the Tidbinbilla Visitor Information Centre before continuing to Nil Desperandum. You may pick up the keys anytime from 1pm.
Check-out is at 10am at the Visitor Information Centre. Please allow yourself enough time to get back to the visitor centre to return the keys to the key safe by 10am.
We are unable to accommodate late check-outs.

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 - this includes Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. Please note: Bags of firewood are no longer available to purchase at the Tidbinbilla Visitor Centre while it is indefinitely closed. Please come prepared and bring your own firewood. If you are picking up a PLB at Namadgi National Park Visitor Centre, they also have firewood for sale.
- 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 Nil Desperandum 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 at Nil Desperandum comes from a rainwater tank. Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve does not treat the water from the rainwater tank at Nil Desperandum, so using it for drinking or cleaning is at your own risk. You might want to boil the rainwater before consumption or bring your own water supply when you come to stay.

Heritage Values:
Nil Desperandum was originally 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 you being ch


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 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 in the visitor centre, or at Greens Picnic Area, during your stay if you are hiking to the property and back (13km return - 4 hours).

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

All booking fees are non-refundable.

Fees may apply for cancellations or reservation changes. Fees incurred due to changes to your reservation are payable at the time of the change. 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 be made for any part of the reservation you cancel 15 days or more from the arrival date.
- A 90% refund will be made for any part of the reservation you cancel 8 - 14 days from the arrival date.
- No refund will be made for cancellations 7 days or less from the arrival date.

Changes to dates (transfers) by you:
- You are entitled to transfer the dates of the original reservation one (1) time if transfer is made 8 days or more from the arrival date.
- No transfers are permitted 7 days or less from the arrival date.
- Refunds on any transferred reservation should it subsequently be cancelled will be treated as stated under “Cancellations by you”.
- Eligible reservations can be transferred to a date within 365 days of the date the transfer is requested (subject to availability). All terms and conditions still apply.
- Customers must choose a date when transferring the reservation. If an alternate date is not known the reservation will be cancelled as per the above cancellation terms. Reservations must be transferred in their entirety.

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, we request that you ensure your vehicle is free of excessive mud or dirt from other areas.
- The ACT Government values your privacy and is firmly committed to protecting the personal information it collects. We do not collect, use or disclose personal information other than the information you choose to provide. We adhere to the Information Privacy Act 2014 and its principles and associated policies. More information can be read by either clicking (or cutting and pasting into a new browser tab/window) the following URL: www.parks.act.gov.au/privacy