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It’s the gateway to Australia’s highest mountains, and you’ve probably driven through the Cooma region in winter on the way to hit the slopes. But the towns of Cooma, Bredbo, Michelago and Nimmitabel are also home to a vibrant regional community, from farmers and fourth generation locals, to those who have chased a tree-change.
The area is smack-bang in the middle of a huge natural playground, and in the warmer months, there are plenty of opportunities for fishing, cycling, mountain biking, hiking, horse riding or even just enjoying the vast rural landscape - you may even see a wild brumby or two. During winter, it’s common to get a dumping of snow in the area, and it’s an easy drive to the Snowy Mountains ski slopes.
The Cooma region is home to the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme - one of the engineering wonders of the modern world. The Discovery Centre is a state-of-the-art visitor facility which showcases the incredible story of the Snowy Mountains Scheme, from the early construction through to its role in Australia today, with a range of fun interactive displays and exhibits.
Located in the centre of town in Cooma, the leafy Centennial Park is home to the Avenue of Flags, representing the 27 nations of the workers on the Snowy Mountains Scheme, and the Cooma-Monaro Time Walk, a series of mosaics depicting the history of the Monaro, created by a local artist and students. Take along a picnic to enjoy under one of the shady trees.
A unique experience in Eucumbene, 40 kilometres from Cooma, this family-friendly trout farm is where you can visit, catch your own trout, and even take it home with you. They can prepare your freshly-caught trout ready for cooking on the on-site barbeque, served with chips or salad, or you can take it away to enjoy later.
One of Australia’s biggest success stories, Birdsnest is an online women’s fashion retailer, and their one and only bricks and mortar store is in Cooma. The website is impressive in itself, allowing users to shop by body shape, colour, personality or occasion, and even get personalised style recommendations. But the store is well and truly worth a visit, even if just to try out their changerooms, which make the most of the latest technology for a customised experience.
In the small town of Bredbo, there’s a place where it’s Christmas all year. Open from June until the big day in December, the Christmas Barn stocks an unbelievably large collection of all things Christmas. Wander through their quality wonderland of wreaths, trees, garlands, decorations, Santas and other Christmassy goods.
Established back in 1836, Bredbo Inn has one of the longest running licenses in New South Wales and is one of the country’s oldest pubs. The bistro restaurant serves up good quality, hearty pub fare - think steak, lamb cutlets, burgers or schnitty - with impressive views over the nearby mountain ranges. For the full experience you can also stay the night at their bed and breakfast.
Whether you’re a local or just driving through town, The Lott Cafe in Cooma is the place to stop by for friendly service and really good coffee. Open for breakfast and lunch seven days a week, you can dig into casual eats or sweets, and even pick up some preserves and other gourmet delights to take home with you.
It’s hard to drive through the area and not stop off at Nimmitabel Bakery. But why would you want to miss this rural gem? The glass cabinets are stocked with their range of famous pies, bread, cakes and sweet treats, all baked fresh daily on-site.
Enjoy genuine home-cooked Lebanese food at Rose’s Lebanese Restaurant. A local favourite for more than 13 years, the relaxed eatery uses locally grown, organic produce, so you know what’s on your plate is virtually fresh from the farm.
With plenty of wide open space, the Cooma region is filled with big rural properties, beautiful historical homes, cosy family houses, or bush retreats. The friendly community is made up of those who have swapped city life for a tree-change, farmers, and locals whose families have been in the area for up to four generations.
By Zango Team