Tea, toast and Tumbarumba

Paddys River and bush covered mountains near Tumbarumba, New South Wales, Australia.

A few weeks ago Adam and I decided to set aside a few days in July for a little mini-break. We wanted somewhere not too far home, where we could switch off for a few days but still take advantage of amenities. We settled on Tumbarumba, a small town in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains, about an hour or so drive from Wagga Wagga. Initially we thought we might check out the town’s new rail trail and perhaps visit a few picnic grounds surrounded by bush, but as the days to our departure date inched closer it became apparent our visit was going to coincide with some wet, wintry weather and outdoor activities would be difficult, especially with a toddler.

Despite the lack of blue skies we had a really lovely time away and even managed to give Paul his first experience with snow…

Our home for four nights was the aptly named Magenta Cottage, not far from Tumbarumba’s main street. With three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a fully self-contained kitchen and a couple of separate living spaces it was more than big enough for our family of three. There were books, games and toys tucked away in cupboards and a large fenced in garden – which I’m sure must look an absolute treat in the springtime. It comfy and cozy and looking out the cottage’s windows at rain falling on the hills was really something special.

The exterior of Magenta Cottage, Tumbarumba, New South Wales, Australia.
Grey armchair beside a long tv-unit with decorative lamp.
Bed and bedside table below two framed black and white line drawings.
The garden at Magenta Cottage in Tumbarumba, New South Wales, Australia.

On our first full day in town, the forecast showers didn’t eventuate, so we took advantage. The morning started at well known local café Nest, for brunch. After a wander through town, we checked out the kids playground in town which Paul loved exploring. In the afternoon, we snuck off for a tasting at Courabyra Wines, taking in the stunning views of vineyards and rolling hills. We ended the day at Paddys River Falls, which were absolutely thundering in the winter sun.

Looking out over the vines at Courabyra Winery, Tumbarumba, New South Wales, Australia.
Paddys River Falls near Tumbarumba, New South Wales, Australia.

The following day we set out for Khancoban, a village of about 300 people, on the very western edge of Kosciuszko National Park. It’s a pretty hamlet with strong links to the Snowy Hydro Scheme (it lies on the banks of the Khancoban Pondage) and there we found the very cute Pickled Parrot Providore, a café/green-grocer/shop. The drive was beautiful- winding roads, impressive hills and enviable homesteads surrounded by healthy cattle and sheep grazing on the lush, green grass.

Rolling green countryside with wooded mountains in the distant.
Khancoban Pondage in the Snowy Mountains, New South Wales, Australia.
Interior of Pickled Parrot Providore, Khancoban, New South Wales, Australia.
Apples for sale at the Pickled Parrot Providore in Khancoban, New South Wales, Australia.

On our final full day in town, snow was forecast down to fairly low altitudes (by Australian standards!) It was sleeting in town in the morning, so we rugged up and headed towards Laurel Hill, a high point on the road which connects Tumbarumba to the region’s other major centre, Tumut. For years Laurel Hill was home to the famous Sugar Pine Walk, which Adam and I have previously visited in the snow. It was a victim of the terrible 2019/2020 bushfire season and sadly was completely burnt out. Laurel Hill still looked absolutely magical in the snow though. It was snowing quite heavily when we pulled over to take in the view and Paul tolerated the cold for about five minutes before having a bit of a meltdown (no pun intended) It wasn’t quite the lovely family experience I envisaged and he was much more content sitting in the warm car taking the view in.

Snow covered trees and bushes near Laurel Hill, New South Wales, Australia.
Snowy road and bare trees near Laurel Hill, New South Wales, Australia.

In between outings we spent a lot of time just hanging out at our cottage, drinking tea, munching on toast, reading stories and playing with Paul. It was a very laid-back few days and I’m really quite surprised at how much we did manage to fit in. This part of the world has had a really tough few years with bushfires and COVID affecting the normally thriving tourism industry, so it felt good to help inject a little money into the local economy. It really is a special part of Australia and I’m so glad it’s right on our doorstop.

What’s your favourite local getaway?

Have a wonderful week.

M. x

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