Cooma is the town on the way to the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales. It has all the services you expect and need, but it is also a regional centre, and has a fair share of attractions of interest to a visitor passing through, or staying for a while.
Most people drive to Cooma along the Monaro Highway. It's just under five hours drive from Sydney, and just over one hours drive from Canberra. The Monaro highway is a two lane road for most of its length, in good condition. If you are coming from Sydney you don't need to go through Canberra, but you can skirt around it by following the signs to Cooma is signposted off the Federal Highway. Canberra does make a good stopover on the way to the Alpine areas.
By bus (all year)
There are direct bus services to Canberra and Bairnsdale stopping at all the towns along the Monaro, including Bombala. There are connections to Sydney and Melbourne at either end. These services are run by the NSW NSW Trainlink and the Victorian Vline The services south run three times a week, and the services north run daily.
By bus (seasonal)
During the snow season (June to October inclusive), several bus companies travel between Canberra and Jindabyne passing through Cooma, sometimes up to 4 or 5 times daily.
Timetables and fares can be found on each bus companies' website, but are only listed within the snow months.
Cooma has a nice sealed airstrip and terminal at the Snowy Mountain Airport, just south of town, but there are no scheduled commercial services. The closest airport with regular service is at Canberra which is just over an hour's drive, and you can fly from there to most Australian capitals. There are also bus connections to Cooma.
Taxis are available on the national number, 131 008.
Cooma Coaches operates a town bus service, which runs a loop around Cooma three times daily. Once around 9AM, again around lunchtime, and again in the early afternoon.
- the Aviation Pioneers Memorial - a strikingly-designed geometrical monument, containing artifacts recovered from the Avro 618 Ten aircraft "Southern Cloud" that crashed on 21 March 1931 in the Australian Alps' Toolong Mountains. The wreck was found on 26 October 1958.
- Historical Train Ride. The Cooma-Monaro railway runs an historical tourist train from Cooma station on weekends, running along the railway line north for around 20km. It runs a couple of services to allow you to take a picnic to enjoy at the other end, before catching a later service back.
- New South Wales Corrective Services Museum. 12.30OM 3.30PM Tu-F. 9.30AM - 3.30PM Sat. Cooma Gaol is an historic building, that at one stage was open for tours. However, it was reopened for prisoners in 2001, and is a currently a functioning prison. The history of gaols in NSW is still on display in Cooma, at an museum run by the Department of Corrective Services. free.
- Art Gallery on Lambie Street.
- Snowy Hydro Visitors Centre.
There are large Coles and Woolworths supermarkets, and if you are heading south, Cooma is a great place to get supplies. There is also a choice of 24-hour service stations.
Renting equipment in Cooma is cheaper than at the snow, and it can be of better quality. It is also a cheaper place to rent snow chains if you are going into the national park during winter. There is also a full range of ski equipment and clothing for sale from multiple shops. Some are open 24-hours during Winter.
- Rhythm Snow Sports.
There are a few cafes and places in town that cater to traffic to and from the snow. McDonalds features prominently in town, as does KFC and a few pizza places. Cooma is really the last serious place to eat on the road from the Snowy Mountains heading north until you get to the outskirts of Canberra. If you are heading towards the snow, expect to pay much more and wait much longer for your pizza in Jindabyne than you would here.
- The Food Factory next to the visitor information centre situated next to the large park in the middle of town, is a cafe that makes huge and tasty burgers with 20 to 30 different varieties, and around $10, served quickly to cater to their market. Blackboards all over the restaurant with the menu. Pizzas too.
- East End Cafe. Bright orange, next to the second hand bookshop.
- Marlborough Inn (On the way into town from Canberra). High end motel style accommodation.
- Sovereign Inn, 35 Sharp Street.
- The Cooma Hotel, Massie St, ☎ +61 2 6452 2003. Open year round, and has a restaurant and bar on the premises open to outside guests.
|Routes through Cooma|
|Canberra ← Bredbo ←||N S||→ Bombala → Cann River|