Cooma

For a change of pace I recently decided to try my hand at skiing in the Snowy Mountains (Australian naming of Geographical Landmarks never ceases to entertain). Going to the snow in Australia is usually an expensive prospect as most of the snowfields are in a specific region and run by monopolies.

Seeking to not drive myself broke, I looked outside the standard gamut of alpine settlements and settled on the town of Cooma as my base for the trip. Sometimes called the “Gateway to the Snowys” it was a great location for it’s short drive to the Thredbo (about 45 minutes).

When I wasn’t tumbling down beginner rated ski runs I aimed to better acquaint myself with Cooma. Having only passed through on previous occasions I sought to see what sights were on offer. Straight away I became aware of the prevalence of snowman cutouts around the town, especially on the main street. For a simple seasonal decoration the snowman took on a seemingly sinister light as the sun set.

Moving off the main street, I paid a visit the faithful Mount Gladstone Lookout on the edge of town towards Jindabyne. One of those “blink and you’ll miss it” turn offs the views on offer are second to none. Despite the relatively short stature of the Australian Alps they take on an imposing quality when seen from a height at this perspective.

After a constructive day on the snow where I was able to get moving but not maneuverable on ski’s I came across another fascinating perspective of the town. Right in the centre of everything is the unassuming Nanny Goat Hill.

Why the name? I have no idea, but it seems the locals have imortalised the name with a cast iron sculpture of said goat whose gaze is forever fixed on the main street. Before I knew it I found myself watching the sunset from here. The fading light from behind the Alps really made the surrounding plains light up as the contrast between the heavens and earth became well defined.

I can’t recommend Cooma enough if your seeking an affordable alternative to Jindabyne and Thredbo/Perisher for accommodation. Only about four and half hours drive from Sydney on established highways (Hume, Federal, Monaro) it’s an easy run to carry out.

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