History can be hard to find in the Canberra region - without big marketing campaigns many of the historic sites of the area can be overlooked. But scratch the surface just a little and a wealth of indigenous sites, historic buildings and even the occasional abandoned gold field are just waiting to be discovered.
Cooma Cottage is one of the region's little known historic treasures. The former home of explorer Hamilton Hume, it sits on 100 beautiful acres just outside the township of Yass. The cottage, as well as stables and outbuildings, are operated by the National Trust and you can do a tour most Fridays to Sundays (although the days may be more limited over winter so check first if you're planning to make the trip from Canberra or further afield).
The gardens of Cooma Cottage, Yass
The interior of the cottage has been styled as it would have been back in the day and gives a glimpse into what life would have been like as a pioneer and pastoralist in the 1800s. For me though, the best part of Cooma Cottage isn't inside the walls - the gardens are the real showpiece. A herb and flower garden, large trees, sweeping views of the river and some friendly horses in the paddock next door make this a postcard-perfect picnic spot. With rolling lawns and shaded benches, there are enough options to please even the fussiest picnic goers.
The garden areas which are accessible to the public aren't huge but even as a few coach tours moved through, barely anyone stopped for long outside preferring to tour and run. If you're more inclined to lay on the grass, spot shapes in the clouds and daydream, Cooma Cottage on a lazy spring or summer afternoon is just the place.
As well as the house and gardens, Cooma Cottage has a surprisingly well-stocked gift shop and offers basic refreshments like drinks and ice blocks at a reasonable price, although for a more substantial meal, the DIY picnic option is the way to go.
Once your picnic basket is packed, its an easy half hour drive from Canberra to the cottage then you can step back in time (or even let time stand still!) - at least for an afternoon.