The laid-back town of Cooma acts as a gateway to the Snowy Mountains' ski resorts and hiking trails, and it's exactly the right size for a quick stopover. Motels and quality cafes abound, and there are a few historical intrigues worth investigating.
Modern Cooma grew with the 1860s gold rush, which resulted in the fine, late-19th-century buildings dotted around town. A second boom time arrived in the mid-20th century with the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Scheme, which brought multitudes of European workers.
But the last couple of centuries are a blink of an eye in the area's human history: for more than 20,000 years the Ngarigo people thrived in the region, with some groups moving between highlands and lowlands according to seasons and ceremonies.