Cooma’s history is intertwined with the Kiandra gold rush of the 1850s and grew further in stature when it became the headquarters for the Snowy Hydro Electric Scheme. Located midway between Canberra and Bega, and the gateway to the NSW Snowy Mountains, Cooma opens the door to a wide range of activities, adventures and experiences.
The Cooma area also boasts a number of charming towns including Adaminaby, Bredbo, Michelago, Numeralla, Bombala and Nimmitabel, which sits near the top of Brown Mountain, the main access road to the Sapphire Coast.
Cooma is the largest town in the Snowy Mountains and is where you will find the Snowy Hydro Discovery Centre. It offers plenty pf fascinating information about the Snowy Mountains Scheme, as well as its next phase, Snowy Hydro 2.0. Go behind bars at the NSW
Visit the Raglan Gallery and Cultural Centre to see the amazing works by local artists, and admire the town from above at Nanny Goat Hill Lookout. Include a visit to Mount Gladstone Lookout, which is located out of town in 125 hectares of native bushland and offers lovely panoramas over the Monaro Plains.
In the surrounding areas, the Nimmitabel Heritage Walk showcases historic sites around town, while in Adaminaby, you can see the Big Trout, and enjoy trying to catch one on Lake Eucumbene. A visit to the Snowy Scheme Museum is time well spent as well.
In the great outdoors
The Cooma region has a vast array of things to do, ranging from bushwalking and mountain biking in spectacular national parks to fishing in pristine rivers and lakes. Tackle white water rafting on the Snowy River with Alpine River Adventures or slip into the saddle to further explore the high country, with multi day rides through Cochran Horse Treks, Reynella Rides and Yarramba Horse Riding.
The snow fields of Thredbo, Perisher and Charlotte Pass are around 90min away, and Cooma is the place to pick up your hire gear and tyre chains. In summer, the lakes of the region are playgrounds for canoeing, swimming, water skiing and wakeboarding, with fly fishing a great activity on beautiful rivers and streams.
Food, drink & events
The Snowy Mountains Travellers Rest, an historic inn built in 1861 by Hugh Stewart, is a collection of old buildings being brought back to life. It includes the new Restaurant 1861 (formerly Atrium Restaurant) and Bar 1861 is coming soon. While there have a Devonshire tea or coffee at Collections Reflections, then enjoy shopping through the huge range of homewares and gifts. Truffle lovers should head to Bredbo and enjoy a truffle experience at Macenmist Black Truffles and Wines.
Adaminaby is home to the Snowy Mountains Trout Festival, the thrilling Cooma Rodeo is on in February and in Nimmitabel, Steampunk at Altitude is a great event in May. The Cooma Show is held in March each year, while the Bredbo Sheep Dog Trials are held in November. The Bombala Show is on in March and highlights the region’s produce, as well as offering all the fun of a traditional country show.
Getting there & where to stay
The drive from Sydney is a little over four hours. From Canberra the drive is about 80min and from Bega on the Sapphire Coast it is 90min. You can also fly into the Snowy Mountains Airport, with Regional Express, with Qantas offering flights in the winter months. From the airport, hire a car and explore the high country. The Cooma area has a range of accommodation including motels, hotels, farmstays, remote cottages and caravan parks.