Starting from Paddys River Road, Paddys River, this walk takes you to the historic Nil Desperandum and back via Tidbinbilla Lane, Gilmores Road and Nil’s Trail tracks. A rustic European house that was built in the late 1890s, Nil Desperandum sits beautifully amidst the eucalypt trees of Tidbinbilla, near Hurdle Creek. Not really popular amongst Canberrans, this cosy, well-maintained homestead was renovated after it was mostly burnt down in the 2003 bushfires. Equipped with a kitchen, 8 stretcher beds, a fireplace and a toilet, the building also has amenities around it. And the best thing is, you can spend the night here if you want to. You have to book it beforehand and it’s not relatively cheap, but there’s a good chance that this tranquil stay will be worth it. Expect to run into kangaroos and emus throughout the journey. The Red-bellied Black Snake can also make an appearance. Although it’s an eye-catching creature, it is venomous, so try to keep your distance. Keep in mind that you’re not allowed to collect firewood in the area. The walk is pretty exposed so cover your head well if you’re going to do this walk in summer. Let us begin by acknowledging the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we travel today, and pay our respects to their Elders past and present.
Before you start any bushwalk ensure you;
• Tell someone you trust where you are going and what to do if you are overdue
• Have adequate equipment, supplies, skills & knowledge for the whole journey
• Consider the impact of weather forecasts, park/track closures & fire dangers
• Can respond to emergencies & call for help at any point
• Are healthy and fit enough for this journey
If not, change plans and stay safe. It is okay to delay and ask people for help.
Turn on to Cotter Road Offramp then drive for 410 m
Keep left and drive for another 2.1 km
Turn left onto Cotter Road and drive for another 750 m
At roundabout, take exit 2 onto Cotter Road and drive for another 8.7 km
Turn left and drive for another 235 m
Turn sharp left onto Cotter Road and drive for another 15.7 km
Turn right onto Tidbinbilla Lane and drive for another 5 m
Turn by turn instructions & maps
Getting started From Paddys River Road (405 metres south of the intersection with Discovery Drive), head towards the metal gate along the dirt path, moving directly away from the road. Head over/around the gate and join the fire trail (Tidbinbilla Lane) that’s veering left. Pass by a pond (to your left) as the trail veers right. Stay on the trail as it leads you into the woodland to continue along Nil Desperandum Track.....
Directions & comments
At the intersection of Paddys River Road & Tidbinbilla Lane Start heading along Tidbinbilla Lane (a vehicle track).
After another 1.8 km (at the intersection of Boundary Road & Tidbinbilla Lane) turn sharp left.
After another 360 m continue straight.
After another 300 m turn left, to head along Gilmores Road.
After another 1.2 km cross the ford.
After another 20 m (at the intersection of Gilmores Road & Nil's Trail) veer left, to head along Nil's Trail.
Continue another 910 m to find the end. Then turn around here and retrace the main route for 4.6 km to get back to the start.
About 60 m past the end is a toilet.
Know the Hills, grading & facilities
Nil Desperandum Track
2 h 45 min, 4 h 30 min to 2 days
Quality of track
Clear and well formed track or trail (2/6)
Short steep hills (3/6)
Clearly signposted (2/6)
Generally useful facilities (such as fenced cliffs and seats) (2/6)
No experience required (2/6)
Weather generally has little impact on safety (2/6)