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Escape Trails: Cooma and the Monaro

Georgia Rossiter

Long regarded by ski tourists as a stopover on their journey to the snow, Cooma and the Monaro region have their own charms and treasures to invite the long and winding traffic to stay a little longer.

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Raglan Gallery

Click image for link

Click image for link

Located on Cooma’s Historic Lambie Street, the Raglan Gallery holds an array of pieces from local artists. The building itself has a 100-year history, dating back to 1854 as the Lord Raglan Inn. Visit Wednesdays to Saturdays and admire the artworks that revolve around the region.

Visit Wednesdays to Saturdays and admire the artworks that revolve around the region.

9 – 11 Lambie Street, Cooma | 02 6452 3377| raglangallerycooma.com

Centennial Park

In the very centre of town, Centennial Park is the ideal pit stop on your way to the snow. Let the rugrats go wild on the playground (I’d suggest a go on the swings to stretch your legs) and grab a coffee from one of the many cafes surrounding to refuel.

Sharp Street, Cooma

Birdsnest

Image: facebook.com/birdsnest.com.au

Image: facebook.com/birdsnest.com.au

Birdsnest has become its own tourist attraction as well as a store. Nationally known as the women’s online retailer, the nest’s storefront is a style experience. Meet Sandy, Liza and the other store birds as they help you find treats that you love and admire the stunning window displays. Order ahead online and select Pick-Up Cooma (Pay in Store) to try your goodies before you buy!

232 Sharp Street, Cooma | 1300 696 378| birdsnest.com.au

Snowy Hydro Discovery Centre

Learn about the Scheme that generates 32% of the Eastern mainland grid’s renewable energy and the multicultural centre it created at the Snowy Hydro Discover Centre. From early construction to the people involved to Snowy Hydro today, the Discovery Centre houses hands-on exhibits, photographic collections and models. The centre’s Café offers a hot cup of coffee at the end of the tour.

1 Monaro Highway, Cooma (One of the first buildings as you enter Cooma) | snowyhydro.com.au

Nightbird Cottage Antiques and Collectables

Image: facebook.com/NightbirdCottageAntiquesandCollectables

Image: facebook.com/NightbirdCottageAntiquesandCollectables

Nightbird Cottage is a step back in time and a collectors’ dream! Find antique phones, record players and typewriters. The store’s owner Nikki has always loved collecting history and has built up a number of Monaro based antiques that are now features of the store.

172 – 174 Sharp Street, Cooma | 0477 152 687| facebook.com/NightbirdCottageAntiquesandCollectables

Eat & Drink

Kettle and Seed

Image: facebook.com/pg/KettleandSeed

Image: facebook.com/pg/KettleandSeed

Regarded by both tourists and locals as the best coffee in town, Kettle and Seed’s reputation precedes itself. Roasting their own coffee (Snowy Mountains Coffee) and possessing the ability to create any sort of coffee variation your heart desires, this little coffee shop has a lot to offer. As an extra, you can supplement your coffee fix with art appreciation – local artist Rowena Evans has her original artworks on display until to 31 July.

47 Vale Street, Cooma | 02 6452 5882| snowymountainscoffee.com.au

Feed Café

Image: facebook.com/FeedCafeCooma

Image: facebook.com/FeedCafeCooma

Tucked away in the Hain Centre just as you’re leaving town towards Canberra, Feed Café creates hearty and delicious food. Curries, homemade pies, burgers and salads are some of the features of chef and owner Annabelle’s menu and her staff are always flat-out around midday, catering to locals visiting for a bite to eat in their lunch hour. Open weekdays 8.30am-3pm, it’s one of Cooma’s hidden gems.

Shop 2, 234 Sharp Street, Cooma | 02 6452 7569| feedcooma.com.au

Snowy Mountains Gourmet Food Cafe

Click image for link.

Click image for link.

If a humble pie is your road trip food of choice, Snowy Mountains Gourmet in Bredbo is the place for you. Whether you’re a fan of the classic meat pie, into something a little different (rabbit pie, anyone?) or you aren’t into pies at all and want something sweet, there’s something for you on your journey.

31 Cooma Street Bredbo | 02 6454 4200| facebook.com/Snowy-Mountains-Gourmet-Food

The Alpine Hotel

Image: facebook.com/alpinehotelcooma

Image: facebook.com/alpinehotelcooma

You’re always guaranteed a good steak when you visit a local country pub. At the Alpine Hotel, you’re guaranteed good steak, salad, pasta, soup, curry and dessert.

The Alpine Hotel has people visiting far and wide for their beef ribs and vegan spaghetti bolognese (they also have a weekly vegan special). Thursdays bring trivia night and the weekend always plays host to a live act or two.

Local’s tip: Book ahead for Table 10 (it’s right next to the fire!).

170 Sharp Street, Cooma | 02 6452 1466| alpinehotel.com.au

Red Thread Dessert Bar

Image: facebook.com/pg/redthreaddessertbar

Image: facebook.com/pg/redthreaddessertbar

Newly opened and quickly loved, the Red Thread Dessert Bar on the main street of Cooma is a welcome addition to the town’s retail landscape. A variety of sweet treats are going to steer you straight to dessert before dinner.

Open till 9pm, this bar would be the perfect host of a winter getaway date.

100 Sharp Street, Cooma | facebook.com/redthreaddessertbar

Stone Mill Kitchens

Image: facebook.com/pg/stonemillkitchen

Image: facebook.com/pg/stonemillkitchen

There’s nothing better than authentic Italian Pizza. Surprisingly, you can find it at the Nimmitabel Country Club on Friday nights.

Stonemill Kitchens’ Tim and his partner Maddie are hoping to expand eventually, but for now, you can find them at the country club on Friday nights making pizzas from scratch for $15. They pride themselves on using local produce, and source a lot of their ingredients from the Monaro and Canberra. Located 30 minutes out of Cooma on the way to the coast, these pizzas are worth the trip.

Lot 1, Boyd Street, Nimmitabel | 0412 727 475| facebook.com/stonemillkitchen

Stay

Ellstanmor Country Guesthouse

Image: facebook.com/Ellstanmor

Image: facebook.com/Ellstanmor

Just off the main road of Cooma, Ellstanmor Country Guesthouse is a towering three-floored Victorian bed and breakfast. Built in 1875, the house boasts a cosy parlour, a decadent dining room and a tucked away library (with a wide array of novels to choose from).

Bed and breakfast rooms are in abundance, but the house’s ground level can also be rented as an apartment with enough room for six people.

32 Massie Street, Cooma | 02 6452 2402 | ellstanmor.com.au

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Georgia Rossiter

Georgia Rossiter is an almost Canberra local, hailing from the nearby town of Cooma in the Snowy Mountains. She's currently undertaking a Journalism and International Studies Double Degree at the University of Wollongong but still visits Canberra/Cooma regularly for holidays and work. She loves Canberra not only for its’ city vibe and abundance of activities but also because she can find her way around without using her GPS too much (which she cannot say for Wollongong). In her spare time, Georgia is an avid reader and music enthusiast whose goal is to attend as many concerts as her schedule and uni student budget allows. More about the Author