My plan for the day had been to do a short walk in the Cotter/Tidbinbilla area and a slightly longer one (9kms) in the northern part of the Namadgi National Park stopping for an early lunch in the Café at the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve Visitor Centre.
Two problems were encountered. Firstly, the weather closed in and a mist/drizzle descended in the northern Namadgi area which meant that, while we could have walked to Square Rock there was no point as we would have seen nothing. Easily fixed Square Rock was taken of the plan and a couple of short walk were added in Tidbinbilla. Secondly, we found the Cafe Tidbinbilla, the Visitor Centre, to be no more – and replaced by a coffee/drinks kiosk.
In planning on Café Tidbinbilla I had discounted one about 15kms away just outside the Namadgi Park entrance and close to where we would park for the Square Rock walk, on the basis that I feared it might not have been open. Faced with no options apart from heading back into Canberra and aborting our walking we had to check out the café in Corin Forest Mountain Retreat. I am glad we took this option. Should you wish to visit take note of the limited opening hours as detailed below.
The café is part of small winter sports centre in the Tidbinbilla Range nestled between the Nature Reserve and Namadgi National Park which operates as a picnic area with an alpine slide with “ snowplay and tobogganing daily (snow conditions permitting)” during winter months.
The first thing that attracted me to the cafe was smoke coming out of the chimney. This translated into a lovely open fire in the main café area. The weather was a bit on the damp and miserable side to sit out on a balcony to the rear of the café though it does have a pleasant vista towards the mountains and overlooking a small pond.
The café blackboard menu presented a limited and rather uninspiring offering – a burger, a goats cheese tart, nachos, a ham and cheese toastie, scones, ice-cream and biscuits with an assortment of non alcoholic drinks including coffee.
Looking out the window, we could see what looked like a pretty new pizza oven and that is exactly what it was and it was in operation. Thankfully, a number of reasonably interesting looking pizza combinations were also offered on a separate menu. We choose two to share between three of us and settled down for a bit of a look around and chat in front of the open fire while we watched the pizzas being made outside and awaited their arrival.
When they arrived, they were great – much tastier than I had anticipated. Judging by the fact nearly everyone else eating here was also ordering pizza it is likely, or at least I am hopeful, that they will remain a permanent feature on the menu. The coffee was good too.
I will certainly be back on future visits to the area and certainly a better eating option than the café in the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex though the Complex itself is well worth visiting.
Cafe Opening hours
Weekends, Public Holidays and ACT School Holidays
10:00AM – 5:00PM
Favorite Dish: Pizza
Address: 1268 Corin Road, Tidbinbilla Range, ACT
Directions: About 15 kms for Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve Visitor Centre – about 12kms along the Corin Road.
This blog entry is the last of my entries (loop) on Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve.