As a soldier with the Australian Army, Hiddins did two deployments in South Vietnam between 1966 and 1968, the first as a forward scout in the infantry. In 1980, he was awarded a Defence Fellowship to research survival in northern Australia. He was the principal author of the Australian Army’s military Survival manual (1987) and was awarded Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 1987.
This research turned into the TV series The Bush Tucker Man. The series involves Hiddins driving around in a Land Rover Perentie, then in later episodes a County 110 with his trademark hat, finding and describing native Australian bush food or “bush tucker”. Hiddins appeared in two ABC TV series of Bush Tucker Man, and the series Bush Tucker Man – Stories of Survival. He also appeared in the TV documentaries Pandora – in the Wake of the Bounty and The Batavia. His other publications are Bush Tucker Man – Stories of Exploration and Survival (1996), Bush Tucker Man – Tarnished Heroes (1997), Explore Wild Australia with the Bush Tucker Man (1999), Bush Tucker Fieldguide (2002). In 2000 Hiddins published four books specifically for children: The Coral Coast, The Top End, The Tropical Rainforest, and The Living Desert. He has released three CD-ROMs, From the Rainforest to Cape York Peninsula and From Arnhem Land to the Kimberley Ranges as well as Stories of Survival. The National Museum of Australia in Canberra has a Bush Tucker Man display with some of his original bush gear.
As part of this research, Hiddins was introduced to the Kakadu plum (Terminalia ferdinandiana) by the Aborigines, who had used the plant for thousands of years. He sent the fruit to be analysed, and it was found to have the highest concentration of Vitamin C of any known natural substance in the world.
Hiddins retired from the Australian Regular Army (ARA) in 1989 with the rank of Major but continued to serve with the Army Reserve (ARES) until 2001, working with Indigenous Australian communities in northern Australia.
Since 2001, Hiddins has been at the forefront of establishing wilderness retreats for war Veterans. “Pandanus Park”, the flagship for these retreats, is a parcel of Normanby River frontage on “Kalpowar Station”, adjoining Lakefield National Park in Cape York Peninsula.