Things to see & do
Cooma, your gateway to the Snowy Mountains
Visitors to Cooma and the Snowy Monaro Region will find plenty to see and do. Our rich and vibrant history has led to an abundance of beautiful buildings, and interesting monuments and memorials. There are parks and look-outs, and some great shopping opportunities, too.
See many of these on one of our heritage walks. There are galleries and wonderful examples of public art. There is a collection in the Cooma-Monaro Council Chambers, on the corner of Bombala and Commissioner Streets and be sure to visit of our local art galleries – the Raglan Gallery on Lambie Street and the Little Gallery on Sharp Street.
The Snowy Hydro Discovery Centre is must see. So to, is the NSW Correctional Services Gaol Museum in Vale Street.
Use Cooma as a base to explore the fascinating Monaro Plains and its quaint villages, such as Dalgety and Nimmitabel. Drive through the spectacular Snowy Mountains and the Kosciusko National Park. Go back in time and visit the historic township of Kiandra. On your way experience the beauty of the Yarrangobilly Caves.
Within easy distance of Cooma are:
Adaminaby and Lake Eucumbene
Jindabyne and Lake Jindabyne
Thredbo – in the Kosciusko National Park and closest resort to Mt Kosciusko. It is opened year round.
Cabramurra, Khancoban, Talbingo and Kiandra
For more information on things to see & do in the snowy mountains see www.visitcooma.com.au visit the snowy mountains website
Things to see in Cooma
Snowy Hydro Discovery Centre
The Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Scheme is one of the most complex integrated water and hydro-electric power schemes in the world. The Scheme took 25 years to build and was completed in 1974. More than 100,000 people from over 30 countries came to work in the mountains to make true a vision of diverting water to farms to feed a growing nation and to build power stations to generate electricity for homes and industries.
Sixteen major dams, seven power stations (two underground), a pumping station, 145kms of interconnected trans-mountain tunnels and 80kms of aqueducts were constructed. Even before the Scheme was completed, it was named as one of the civil engineering wonders of the modern world.
The Snowy Mountains Discovery Centre in Cooma showcases the amazing history of the Snowy Mountains Scheme; from the early days of construction through to how it is operated by Snowy Hydro today, including an extensive photographic collection, models, exhibits and interactive displays about the Scheme's engineering, history, water management, power generation, the National Electricity Market and the new Snowy 2.0 project. Come, see and experience firsthand an essential part of Australia’s water and power industry, engineering wonder of the world and true icon of Australia.
Cooma Corrective Services NSW Museum
Are you curious about the rich penal history of NSW? Then the Corrective Services Museum in Cooma is just the place for you to visit.
Located between Cooma Court House and the Correctional Centre in Cooma, the Museum displays a collection of objects relating to punishment and crime from the mid 19th century such as manacles and leg irons, convict and prisoner clothing, weapons and escape devices, photos and visual documentation.
The museum provides an insight into the daily routine of jails from early days through to modern times.
Inmate art and craft is also available to purchase.
Minimum security inmates are the tour guides through the museum.
Inmate arts and crafts are for sale along with Aboriginal art.
Retail therapy at Birdsnest
For any ladies staying in Cooma, one place you have to visit Birdsnest retail store.
Birdsnest is a online boutique clothing store growing from humble beginnings to a 140-strong team of local women.
Their mission: to solve women’s wardrobe dilemmas by providing personalised styling advice, express delivery, styled outfit inspiration, above-and-beyond customer service, no-hassle returns and a vast range of brands and sizes for all body shapes.
Nearly 10 years after launching online, they’re still finding ways to create a unique online shopping experience built around helping our customers find their own style.
The ability to shop by body shape, colour, personality and occasion, as well as being able to create your own style profile, receive personalised style recommendations, view items on a diverse range of model sizes and upgrade to a birdsnest changeroom is really just the tip of the iceberg!
You can visit their one and only unique birdsnest store right here in Cooma.
Another must in Cooma is the Raglan Art Gallery. The gallery has been operating for 50 years and features local and visiting artists, locally made merchandise items featured in the Gallery shop.
The Raglan Gallery and Cultural Centre showcases work by the region's established and emerging artists, from painters to ceramicists, potters, sculptors, jewellers, craftspeople and artisans. Throughout the year the Raglan holds numerous prestigious exhibitions including those for NAIDOC, Student Artscape, the Gully Gang and the annual John Briscoe Awards competition. It's growing reputation also draws artists from interstate and overseas to exhibit in Cooma.
The Raglan hosts regular art classes and workshops and stocks a range of gift items and cards.
Built in 1854 by James Hain, it was licensed as the Lord Raglan Inn. It was named after Lord Raglan who commanded in the Crimean War. It was also Cooma's first bank, a private hospital, a family home, and now an art gallery.
The Raglan still retains some of the original 100 year old gardens and is supported by the Cooma Monaro Shire, volunteers, and art lovers.
Activities in the Snowy Mountain region
Snow & Skiing
Whether you are a beginner or an expert or just there for après skiing, the Snowy’s have it all – and it is just an hour and a half from the Nebula!
Charlotte Pass – at 1760m, is the highest village in Australia and has the highest ski lift point at 1920m; trails cater for novices to advanced skiers and four lifts are on offer.
Perisher Valley, Guthega, Bluecow and Smiggin Holes form the “Perisher Blue Ski Resort”. They are connected by the Skitube, ski trail and chairlifts. The resort has more than 50 lifts, a downhill skiable area of more than 1250 hectares and 104km of cross country tails.
At Mt. Selwyn Snowfields staff are proud of their motto – Friendly, Family, Fun. Mt Selwyn has a gently progressing terrain and there are 45kms of marked Cross Country and Snow Shoe trails.
Thredbo is the closest resort to Mount Kosciuszko, at an altitude of 1370m. The Kosciuszko Express Chairlift operates all year and the top station boasts Australia’s highest restaurant, Eagles Nest. Thredbo is famous for its village atmosphere and great restaurants.
There are plenty of places to explore under foot once the snow thaws including both guided walks and tracks suitable for hiking and mountain biking on your own.
Some of best locally available are the Thredbo Valley track, Summit walk at Mount Kosciusko, Illawong Walk, Wallace Creek Lookout and Pallaibo Walking track.
For more information on the walking/biking tracks in the area visit the snowy mountains website below
Touring (by car or motorbike)
There are some wonderful drives through the treeless Monaro Plains and spectacular Snowy Mountains to suit most. The Alpine Way, Kosciusko Road, the Snowy Mountains Highway and the Monaro Highway will take you north, south east or west.
You will have time to explore the region’s historic and quaint villages; time to relax and have a picnic by a river, stream or lake; time to see the variety of wild flowers and other flora in the National Park. The giant bolder fields are a must see and one cannot leave the area without experiencing the mountain scenery.
Motorcycling is popular during the warmer months along the winding Alpine Way. Many people take a circular touring route through the park, following the Alpine Way, Cabramurra-Khancoban Road, Elliott Way and Snowy Mountains Highway.
The Monaro Plains and Snowy Mountains offer some of the most magnificent bike riding experiences in Australia.
Travelling west from Cooma, the Snowy Mountains Highway provides riders with a route to either the Hume Highway and the Riverina or an alternative ride to Victoria.
You pass through Adaminaby then onto Kiandra, where you can head to Mt Selwyn and Cabramurra, the highest township in Australia, and on to Khancoban. Alternatively, from Kiandra you can head to Tumut.
Travelling west from Cooma, the Kosciuszko Road takes riders to Jindabyne and then into Kosciuszko National Park. Take a ride to Charlotte Pass travelling through the Perisher Valley and Smiggin Holes ski resorts. At the end of the road, view the Main Range of the Snowy Mountains including Mt Kosciuszko.
On returning to Jindabyne, take the Alpine Way to Thredbo. There is a spectacular road that takes you across the mountains into Victoria. It is a winding road with magnificent views of the New South Wales and Victorian Alps.
For more information on the the touring routes in the area visit the snowy mountains website below
Riding is big in this part of the world, unsurprising when you consider it’s the home of ‘The Man from Snowy River’. Guided treks through the mountains, lasting from two hours to two days or more, are a must for horse-fans.
Commercial horse treks through the Snowy Mountains date back to the 1940s. Nowadays, most start with a hearty campfire breakfast, then you saddle up and explore undoubtedly some of Australia’s most picturesque, inspiring and challenging countryside. At the end of the day, another campfire and wonderful bush meal awaits.
Both novices and expert riders should find something to suit them. Check out these local operators for lessons and horse riding information.
Towns & Villages
There are a number of towns and villages in the region that you may care to explore. Many of these include:
BREDBO – on the Monaro Highway, between Canberra and Cooma. Famous for the Bredbo Pancake Parlour, the historic Bredbo Inn, the Bredbo Pizzeria and the Christmas Barn.
DALGETY – on the banks of the Snowy River, 35km from Jindabyne, 19 km from Berridale and 50 km from Cooma. It was once an important river crossing along a stock route from Gippsland to the Snowy Mountains High Country dating back to the 1840s. Dalgety was gazetted as the site of the Nation’s Capital, missing out due to its close proximity to Victoria. There is an easy Historic Town & River Walk.
JERANGLE – on the Jerangle Road, east of Bredbo. Take a picnic and take a drive through the Peak View Jerangle district. Some delightful gardens in the Jerangle district open to the public with charming old-fashioned fair days.
MICHELAGO – located just off the Monaro Highway, not far south of Canberra. Michelago is a popular stop for travellers, offering fuel and food. The beautiful Michelago Station is occasionally open to the public.
NIMMITABEL – located approximately 30km south of Cooma on the Snowy Mountains Highway. Boasting several historic sites, specialty shops and the well-known Nimmitabel Bakery.
NUMERALLA – situated on the banks of the Numeralla River, approximately 25km east of Cooma. Renowned for its annual folk festival (held around Australia Day), Numeralla is also a great spot for fishing, camping and even panning for gold.
The Snowy Mountains region is considered to be the premier trout fishing area in the state of New South Wales.
The headwaters of the Murrumbidgee, Eucumbene and Snowy Rivers, the lakes of the Snowy Mountain Scheme; Eucumbene, Jindabyne, and Tantangara and the Three Mile Dam at Kiandra, as well as the numerous basalt streams of the Monaro, cater for all disciplines of angling in a myriad of fishing environments.
The NSW Government’s Gaden Trout Hatchery, on the Thredbo River, 10km north-west of Jindabyne, is one of Australia’s main centres for breeding and rearing cold water fish. Four species, rainbow trout, brown trout, brook trout and Atlantic salmon are produced by Industry & Investment NSW and stocked into the dams and river systems of our trout fisheries in the snowy mountains, southern highlands, the central tablelands and New England areas.
This is a great trip for all fishers – in fact a great trip for everyone!
There is no closed season on the lakes in the Snowy region; only the rivers are closed during the winter months while the fish are spawning (June to October long weekend). Trout fishing is a recreation that can be enjoyed all year. Here you will find hungry trout waiting to seize on any passing insect.
For more information on fishing in the area visit the snowy mountains website below
Cooma and its surrounding region offer so many opportunities for exciting family holidays, all year round.
FORMULA: a bit of education + a bit of outdoor activity = a great family holiday.
Here are just a few suggestions you can mix and match:
Walks through the National Park
Canoeing and Sailing