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Cootamundra is a picturesque country town in the Riverina, NSW, Australia. Although set within a natural environment and full of country charm, don’t believe that that means its sleepy and boring; there is certainly plenty to do and the locals are brimming full of warmth and friendliness.
Just a scenic road trip from Sydney or Melbourne and only two hours’ drive northwest of Canberra, it’s the perfect base to explore the Riverina. Its name, it is believed, was derived from the Wiradjuri word guudamang for ‘turtle’, as the town is around a low-lying marshland, the perfect turtle habitat.
Visit the Migurra Reserve in Cootamundra in July and August and you will be greeted with a sunny sea of golden yellow blooms of the Cootamundra Wattles which are native to the region. If that doesn’t satisfy your nature loving taste buds, you can enjoy rambling along one of the birdwatching trails and nature walks, visit Gardiner’s Lookout viewing place and picnic area and take the obelisk loop track at Pioneer Park; a beautiful 30 minute walk full of vegetation and, if you are lucky, you may even see some of the other locals; goannas, wombats and wallabys!
This photo of Cootamundra is courtesy of TripAdvisor
Places to Visit in and around Cootamundra
If you’re a cricket fan, then you will be delighted to know that the world’s greatest cricketer was born in Cootamundra in 1908. The cottage where Sir Donald Bradman was born is now a museum containing the batsman’s cricket memorabilia and if you venture to Jubilee Park and take the Captains Walk, you can see 42 bronze sculptures of Australian Test Cricket captains along with Unaarimim, the leading Aboriginal cricketer in the first Australian cricket team tour of England in 1868.
Cootamundra is also the former home of another Test Captain, Bill Murdoch. Entry to the museum is $3.00 for adults and children under 16 are free.
Paying tribute to some of the nation’s finest high-quality award-winning wheat crops, Cootamundra is home to beautiful fibre optic lit Milestones Sculptures which were opened in 1997 by the then Governor General William Deane. The sculptures are made from cast concrete and use patterns that represent wheat stalks cut from compressed fibrous cement and painted in a soft wheat colour. They are based in two locations – Mackay Park at Wallendbeen and in Parker Street.
A traditional agricultural show, the ‘Cootamundra Show’ is held every third weekend of October.
If the Milestones Sculptures have whetted your appetite for more heritage, culture and arts, then you are in for a treat.
Image courtesy of VisitNSW
Cootamundra Heritage Centre
Located in the former Railway Barracks and Rest House which were built in 1927, Cootamundra Heritage Centre houses a permanent collection of objects relating to Cootamundra housed in theme rooms on topics such as the history of the Cootamundra Aboriginal Girls Training Home; Railway Barracks, Horse and Harness; Home and Hearth and displays about Cootamundra’s transport history, the RAAF and aviation. Entry is by gold coin donation.
The Arts Centre
Thoughtfully restored by volunteers over the last 15 years, the old woolstore has been converted into a state-of-the-art facility for art and culture for the whole community to enjoy. The centre attracts artists in residence on a regular basis and offers workshops, performances and activities across many of the arts including music, theatre, sculpture, painting, pottery and stained glass.
Cootamundra Railway Station
Cootamundra Railway Station was first built, as a temporary structure, in 1877 comprising of a station building, goods shed and Station Master’s Residence, built to meet the rail line which had been extended from Harden. It was rebuilt in 1888 in a grand Victorian Italianate style and is still a working station today. It is considered an excellent and unusual example of a first-class station and demonstrates the importance attributed to this location during the late nineteenth century. Railway enthusiasts will also love the displays at the Cootamundra Heritage Centre as mentioned above.
Eating Out & Getting About
You are spoilt for choice in Cootamundra with plenty of tasty bakeries, cafes, coffee roasters, clubs, pubs and restaurants to choose from.
Cootamundra also has access to all the other necessities you may require with supermarkets, banks and chemists and there is a wide range of accommodation options from hotels, motels and inns to Cootamundra Caravan Park or Wallendbeen Park Farm.
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