Cooma

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Gfrey nomads happy with Cooma
Cooma has warm welcome for grey nomads

The inland New South Wales town of Cooma is best known for being the gateway to the Snowy Mountains, and every year an estimated one million people pass through on their way to the ski fields.

The vast majority don’t stop for long as they hurry on to the pleasures of the piste … but  grey nomads are increasingly not making the same mistake.

The history of this attractive community, situated 70 kilometres south of Canberra on the Monaro Highway, is genuinely fascinating, and the welcome is genuinely warm. The tourist brochure tells us that Cooma is set amongst  ‘rolling plains, legendary rivers and snow capped peaks’  and, having been settled by graziers in the mid 19th century, boomed following the discovery of gold and the arrival of the railway.

However, it was really the mighty Snowy Scheme which put the town on the map as thousands of workers from post war Europe flooded into the area. Started in 1949, Australia’s biggest single engineering project required the construction of several dams and powers station, as well as hundreds of kilometres of tunnels and pipelines, and it took 25 years  to complete.

Grey nomads seeking to understand the sheer scale of the plan to collect water from the snow and rain in the Snowy Mountains  can learn more at the Snowy Hydro Discovery Centre, courtesy of some amazing  exhibits, displays and photographs.

One of the town’s other top attractions is the NSW Correctional Services Gaol Museum which highlights the long and sometimes brutal  history of incarceration in the state. Exhibits include manacles, leg irons, clothing, weapons and escape devices.

As the capital of the Snowy Mountains region, Cooma has no shortage of cafes, restaurants, specialty retail shops, art galleries … and a caravan park … to cater to the needs of the modern traveller, but the town’s history is inescapable. The Lambie Town Walk is a 5-kilometre self-guided stroll which will take you past old-fashioned cottages, the Cooma Cenotaph , and the granite Cooma Courthouse,  which was built in the 1860s and is still in use today. Cooma also boasts some gorgeous parks including Centennial Park and Frank Norris Park, which sits beside Cooma Creek.

To get an overview of Cooma – which has a population of around 6,000 – a short drive or walk up to Nanny Goat Hill Lookout , which offers superb views over the entire area, is recommended.

With so much to see and do, the Cooma-Monaro Shire Council is specifically appealing to grey nomads not to make the same mistake as the skiers in rushing through. Under a new marketing strategy using the slogan ‘So Much to Love’, streetscapes, facilities and signage have all been upgraded, and plans are afoot to develop more grey nomad friendly events such as food festivals.

See you there?

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