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 Trainlink and the Victorian Vline The services south run three times a week, and the services north run daily.
There are connections to the New South Wales South Coast towns such as Bega, Merimbula, and Eden with a daily NSW Trainlink coach service.
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.
- Greyhound -
- Murrays -
- Transborder Alpine Express -
Cooma–Snowy Mountains AirportCooma has a nice sealed airstrip and terminal. Regional Express has flights from Sydney
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 RideThe Cooma-Monaro railway runs an historical tourist train from Cooma station on weekends, running along the railway line north for around 20 km. 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 MuseumCooma Gaol is an historic building that at one stage was open for tours. However, it has been functioning again as a prison since 2001. The history of gaols in NSW is still on display in Cooma, at an museum run by the Department of Corrective Services.
Art Gallery on Lambie Street
Snowy Hydro Visitors Centre
Glidingaddress: Banyan FieldExperience gliding with the Canberra Gliding Club most weekends (weather permitting).
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.
During the warmer months, there is a large park and picnic tables in the centre of town, with a playground and a few bakeries to get take-away food.
- 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.
Snowstophas a KFC, Subway, and McDonalds
A number of pubs line the main street.
Snow Season Motor InnHigh end motel style accommodation.
Sovereign Innaddress: 35 Sharp Street
phone: +61 2 6452 2003address: 79 Massie StOpen year round, and has a restaurant and bar on the premises open to outside guests.
The Snowy Mountains are an hour or so away. You can base yourself in Cooma as an alternative to Jindabyne when skiing, and maybe save some money on accommodation and food.
If you're not skiing, you can explore the mountains, or the Snowy Mountains Scheme lakes and tunnels.