You could 'coo-ee' down the main street of Cooma in summer and not raise an eyebrow. But proximity to the snowfields keeps this little town punching above its weight during winter. It imbues the best of country town with good places to hang out, an attractive centre and a laid-back vibe.
Queanbeyan & Around
A number of NSW towns lie across the border. Around 15 minutes from Canberra along the Barton Hwy is Hall, where the Poachers Pantry is renowned for cured meats and a smokehouse cafe. Excellent wineries feature at Murrumbateman (30 minutes' drive from Canberra). Bungendore is 35km east of Canberra and bustles with visitors to its galleries and antique stores at weekends.
Tea Gardens & Hawks Nest
This tranquil pair of towns straddles the mouth of the Myall River, linked by the graceful Singing Bridge. Tea Gardens' charm is its river culture; it's older and more genteel. At Hawks Nest it’s all about the beaches. Jimmy's Beach fronts a glasslike stretch of water facing Nelson Bay, while Bennett's Beach looks to the ocean and Broughton Island.
Perisher Valley, Smiggin Holes, Mt Blue Cow and Guthega make up the massive resort of Perisher Blue. Guthega (1640m) and Mt Blue Cow (1640m) are mainly day resorts, so they're smaller and less crowded. Mt Blue Cow is accessible via the Skitube. The accessibility of the Skitube is Perisher's most underrated drawcard.
Goulburn & Around
Goulburn lays claim to being Australia's first inland city and it now pats itself on the back for being one of the faster-growing regional centres. The old town centre, studded with historic buildings, is worth a stroll. There are plenty of alfresco cafes to choose from but not many gourmet ones.
The crowds and commercial frenzy fizzle considerably 10km north of Katoomba in neat, petite Blackheath. The town measures up in the scenery stakes, and it’s an excellent base for visiting the Grose and Megalong Valleys. East of town are Evans Lookout and Govetts Leap Lookout, offering views of the highest falls in the Blue Mountains.