Are you thinking about moving to regional NSW? When we look back on the last two years the world has faced, it’s no wonder we have been seeing an influx of home-buyers vacating their long term residences in the city and moving out into the countryside.
Being cooped up inside a city like Sydney, with little greenery and a lack of fresh air, has been hard for many, many people. Since the pandemic started in 2019, we have seen a significant increase in people looking for properties in and around the countryside of NSW, and it is easy to understand why.
People are craving a sense of normality. They are craving a deep immersion into nature. They are craving copious amounts of space and fresh air to breathe again. And, people want to switch to a more outdoorsy way of life.
Moving to the countryside might be the first thing on your 2022 (and beyond) bucket list. If it is, we have a unique location for you to consider: New South Wales Snowy Monaro Region.
Here’s what you need to know if you plan to move to the Snowy Monaro Region, including its location, average housing prices throughout the main townships, things to do within the region, and what it is like living there.
Where is the Snowy Monaro Region?
If you have ever wanted to take a step away from the hustle and bustle of city life and move to somewhere both stunning and remote, the Snowy Monaro might be the perfect escape into the regional NSW.
If you are unsure where it is, that’s probably because the Snowy Monaro is a quiet, laid back kind of place located in the southern region of New South Wales. It sits straddling the Victoria and ACT borders right in the heart of the Snowy Mountains.
The region is surprisingly quite large, covering over 15,000 square km and containing very few urban areas. It is full of rolling hills and mountain ranges, including the Kosciuszko National Park, home to Australia’s largest mountain, Mount Kosciuszko.
Although there are many other quaint, small towns scattered around the LGA, Cooma and Jindabyne are the two main areas within the region, just one hour in driving distance from one another. From here, you’ll have a 5-6 hour drive to Sydney or 6-7 hour drive to Melbourne or a 1-2 hour drive from the nearest city, Canberra. To give you a sense of the size, there are a little over 10,000 people between the two towns, so you will really be living the laidback small-town life if you get to call this region home.
What it’s like living in the Snowy Monaro Region
It's one thing to visit, even a few times a year, and another to make this place your permanent home. You come to appreciate the surroundings on a much more intimate level when living here. Every day, the sunsets and sunrises will amaze you; every day, the weather shows up and makes the landscapes dance in the sun or the storms.
If there’s one thing to know about calling the Snowy Monaro region home, it’s that the way of life is dependent largely upon the season. While winter is full of snow, crisp, frosty mornings, and endless snow sports and back-country hiking, the other seasons provide locals with the perfect backdrop for hiking, biking, and water sports.
Jindabyne and Cooma are primarily seasonal towns, often seeing an influx of visitors and seasonal workers during the winter months because of their proximity to the Snowy Mountains. But, this doesn’t mean that living there is dependent on being a seasonal worker or winter lover.
Many people permanently call the region home because of its slower pace of life during Summer, Autumn, and Spring. There are little to no shops. There are no traffic lights or bustling streets. Instead, you’ll find easy access only to the essentials. The ultimate goal of living in either location is to get outside, walk, and explore your town by foot or bike.
The people are always friendly too. Going for walks around the town will introduce you to the smiling locals, who are all warm and welcoming. The area is small, so it isn’t hard to feel as though you are a part of a community. You’ll get to know your local baristas, you’ll have a more personal experience with your local doctor and chemist, you’ll get to know all of your neighbours and your local school teachers. Anyone who lives in the area finds a comfortable and safe environment.
For families looking to take the leap and move to the region, there are many excellent schools that prioritise an outdoorsy lifestyle. In winter, children often have the option to participate in winter sports. In summer, they have the opportunity to do the same for hiking and mountain biking.
When it comes to living in the Snowy Monaro, the only catch is that finding affordable homes to live in can be something of a rarity, depending on your budget.
The median price to buy a house in Jindabyne is around the $900,000 mark, with the market currently popular with established couples and families.
The highlight is that houses in the region don’t come small. In Jindabyne, they are often elegant multi-bedroom, double-storey homes with views over the Snowy Mountains or the famous Jindabyne Lake. In Cooma, although you might find more simplistic, affordable housing, the benefit of living there is that you have access to a slightly bigger town with more shops and businesses available.
Demand for houses in the region has grown immensely since 2019 due to so many people wanting to escape city life and retreat to a more natural, quiet pace of life.
Because of this, it is not uncommon for the locals to rent out their downstairs areas, granny flats, or spare bedrooms during the winter months when Jindabyne and Cooma have an influx of seasonal visitors. Many homeowners make double, sometimes triple, their weekly mortgage repayments from renting out the extra space, which can be great for additional cash flow.
Things to do in the Snowy Monaro
A massive highlight of living within the Snowy Monaro Region is its accessibility to the outdoors. It is a fantastic place to live, with an abundance of things to do in each season of the year.
The area is known most commonly for its easy access to the Snowy Mountains. The Snowy Mountains is Australia’s most extensive alpine region, including the Thredbo Ski Resort; Perisher Ski Resort (with Mount Perisher, Blue Cow, Smiggins Hole, and Guthega); the secluded and unique Charlotte Pass Ski Resort, and Selwyn Snowfields, the perfect place for beginners and children. You can spend weekends skiing and snowboarding, back-country hiking, Nordic skiing, and snow-shoeing across the hundreds of alpine trails, and evenings sipping hot chocolate around the glistening lakes or under the stars breathing in the fresh alpine air.
Into the Spring and Summer, the pressure is on Mother Nature for the bike trails to dry out so mountain bike fever can take over the region. Everywhere you look during the warmer months, you see cars filled with bikes on top and the rear, and anywhere else they'll fit, bringing families of biking fans to explore the ever-growing number of trails in the region. Thredbo has the best setup for biking trails. You can hire bikes from the resort or bring your own, and you can hook them onto the back of the chairlift to go up and down the endless trails.
The hiking trails are also famous around the region, with summer being a popular time to tackle Australia’s tallest peaks. You can hike all the way to Mount Kosciuszko, a 13.5km round trip on a relatively gentle slope, and continue to tackle the hikes all around the Main Range. There are also plenty of other places to explore at lower elevations like Rainbow Lake, Pallaibo Trail, the expansive Thredbo River track, which contains numerous starting points, lookouts, and unique trails, the Waterfall Walk out of Sawpit Creek, or Yarrangobilly Caves where you can swim in a natural thermal pool.
There is more than just hiking, biking, and skiing, though. Horse riding, trout fishing, kayaking and chasing rabbits around the endless paddocks are popular things families partake in over the warmer months. The crystal-clear water and sandy, tree-lined banks of Lake Jindabyne make it a haven for families who enjoy water sports. On weekends throughout the warmer months, you’ll often see the residents of Jindabyne pull up a base at a secluded beach, then swim, paddleboard, kayak, windsurf or sail your way around the many islands, caves and rock formations.
Animals are abundant within the region, with kangaroos, emus, wombats, echidnas, deer, stags, wild brumby, and countless other animals being a near-daily sight when driving around. It is also a region hugely popular for Platypus watching, with Bombala having one of the highest populations of Platypus in the country. It is pretty common to see people huddled quietly around the alcoves of the lakes and rivers searching for platypus.