The gateway to the Snowy Mountains, the gold rush town of Cooma is the largest in the region, and a popular stop for snow lovers on their way to the ski fields. You can also fish for trout in crystal clear mountain streams and explore the beautiful alpine countryside.
Things to do around town
Cooma is home to the Snowy Mountains Hydro Discovery Centre where you can explore the fascinating history of hydro-electric power. Learn about the famous Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme, one of the engineering wonders of the modern world and a leading example of Australian innovation and ingenuity. You can also find out about Snowy 2.0, the next phase of the scheme focusing on renewable energy.
Visit the NSW State Correctional Gaol Museum for a fascinating insight into the 200-year penal history of NSW prisons, from convict days to the present. Join a guided tour for stories of prison life, along with exhibits of prison artefacts. Find out more about the rich history of Cooma on the Lambie Town Walk, a self-guided trail through heritage and scenic areas, including Centennial Park and Nanny Goat Hill Lookout.
To check out local artists, visit the Raglan Gallery and Cultural Centre, which showcases work by established and emerging artists of the region. Once the Lord Raglan Inn, built in 1854, the historic building retains some of the original 100-year-old gardens.
Winter means snow in the high country. With the ski fields of Thredbo, Perisher and Charlotte Pass all within easy reach, skiers and snowboarders often opt to stopover in Cooma rather than drive straight through from Sydney. You can also hire ski gear and snow chains for your tyres if you’re heading to the slopes.
In the summertime, try your hand fishing in the pristine mountain rivers and lakes or learn how to fly fish on a guided tour with Snowy Monaro Fly Fishing. Experience the thrill of white water rafting down the Snowy River with Alpine River Adventures and explore scenic mountain trails dotted with wildflowers on foot or mountain bike.
See historic huts, weathered snow gums and rock formations on the Mount Kosciuszko Summit walk from Charlotte Pass to the top of Australia’s highest peak. For an authentic Man From Snowy River alpine adventure, explore the high country on horseback with Reynella Rides or Cochran Horse Treks.
Food, wine & events
For superb dishes featuring locally sourced produce head to Restaurant 1861 at the Snowy Mountains Travellers Rest. Explore the collection of historic buildings being lovingly restored, including a heritage inn built during the gold rush in 1861. Enjoy a Devonshire tea or barista-made coffee and browse the huge range of homewares, collectibles, and gifts.
Check out the CMR Fresh Produce Markets, run monthly trackside at the historic Cooma Monaro Railway Station, for delicious local fare. In Centennial Park, the Cooma Rotary Market has something for everyone with a variety of stalls, activities for the kids as well as the popular Country Roots & Blues music event each November.
Cooma’s event calendar is jam-packed throughout the year. Don’t miss the Cooma Show, a traditional country show held each March since 1870. There’s thrills and spills galore at the Cooma Rodeo in February, while the Bredbo Sheep Dog Trials are held in November. Car enthusiasts will love all things motorised at Cooma Motorfest, while the Cooma Multicultural Festival offers live music, performances and food stalls.
Getting there & where to stay
The drive from Sydney to Cooma is a little over four hours, from Canberra it’s about 80 mins and from Bega on the Sapphire Coast it’s 90 mins. You can fly into Snowy Mountains Airport and hire a car and explore the High Country. Cooma has a range of accommodation including motels, hotels, farm stays, cottages and caravan parks.