It's been years since we visited Tidbinbilla. We felt too upset to see the devastation caused by the January 2003 firestorm before this, even though I've had a few work related visits to nearby Birrigai in the intervening years.
We picked a beautiful winter day (sunny and around 15o max) last Thursday (yay for school holidays) to meet up with the kids at the Nature Discovery Playground, a short drive in from the Tidbinbilla Visitor's Centre.
It was a great opportunity too to hang out with Claire and Jodyfor a while - time to have a bit of a chat with a few extra adults around to keep a watch out for the daredevils in our group (namely Abi girl).
Ella has taught Abi to hold up one finger when you ask "how old are you?" We couldn't get her to do that today with the pressure of a much larger audience. She kept on insisting she was five (to everyone's cheers!)
In between testing out the slide, the climbing ropes and the flying fox with Ella and Ollie, Angus enjoyed being the photographer - taking lots of pics with Rob's camera.
....and finding some of the same limitations I had to work with over the past few weeks with my SLR out of action.
Mobs of Eastern Grey kangaroos have the run of the park - as do the wombats, emus, koalas and platypus(es).
After lunch (after the girls had left) we took the boys on the short walk up to Turkey Hill....
from where we could enjoy panoramic views of the valley below and those surrounding "blue hills"
.... and lots more kangaroos - looking very relaxed about us interrupting their serenity.
There are massive granite tors that appear to have been tossed randomly around this gently mounded hill by some ancient gi-normous force. The boys are instantly enthused by their size and their mysteries.
There's evidence of Aboriginal custodianship of this land for the past twenty odd thousand years. It is so easy to sense this ancient (and continuing) presence in this amazing environment. The boys are very aware of it too and start talking about and acting out ancient stories they've learnt about.
Back at the playground the emus have arrived for their afternoon "show"....
and this little fellow has learnt that humans can be an easy source of tucker. We groan when we see that the older gentleman and his child have (very kindly) given the boys some white bread to feed the kangaroo (very bad tucker for a kangaroo) but the moment is too sweet to spoil with our protests.