The Australian High Country is jam-packed with history and interesting surprises including significant Ngarigo and colonial sites. The alpine huts dotted throughout NSW and Victoria each have their own unique stories and many of them can be accessed fairly easily during the warmer months.
Coolamine Homestead, located off Long Plain Road in the Kosciuszko National Park between Cooma and Tumut, dates back to the late 1800s and was restored in the 1980s after falling into disrepair. Originally a pastoral property, the homestead and surrounding buildings including the Cheese Hut give a glimpse into the hard life of the High Country pioneers although the bucolic scenes are the perfect backdrop for a weekend picnic set among alpine grasslands and twisted snow gums.
Coolamine Homestead is located near the beautiful Blue Water Holes and there are camping and BBQ facilities dotted throughout the area which are free to use. There are also basic toilet facilities at some of the campgrounds. The dirt road to the homestead and Blue Water Holes can get rough so if you can, use a four-wheel drive, particularly if you are planning to explore side trails.
While you explore the Coolamine Homestead, Long Plain Road and the Koscisuszko National Park in general, keep your eyes peeled for another (controversial) star of Australia's High Country heritage - the 'wild bush horses' referred to in Banjo Patterson's classic 'The Man from Snowy River.' A glimpse of the brumbies in their natural habitat is a real thrill - they have a self-assured beauty and power which can be mesmerising to take in. Impressive though they are, the brumbies have been the subject of the recent controversy with debate on whether they should be culled or cherished because of the devastating impact of their hooves and appetites on the delicate alpine environment.
A trip to Coolamine is a great spring or summer weekend trip, especially if you like camping, four-wheel driving or experiencing Australia's pioneer history first hand. Long Plain Road is reached via the Snowy Mountains Highway in the Kosciuszko National Park and the road is subject to closure between the June and October long weekends. Long Plain Road may also be closed during adverse weather conditions so if you are travelling a long way to visit the area, it's best to check the conditions ahead.