Jerangle is a tiny hamlet that was a more prosperous town in bygone years. The area is worth exploring for its historical buildings, and the drive there highlights some spectacular scenery.
With a population of around 200 – which includes the surrounding farms – the village of Jerangle is hardly a metropolis. It has a tiny school that celebrated its centenary in 1992 and is one of the smallest in NSW, a CWA hall, a derelict hotel and a phone box.
The village sits in rugged alpine wilderness on the doorstep of the Snowy Mountains, amongst stands of mountain ash, gums, wattle and grasslands. Native wildlife and flora are plentiful, and it’s not unusual to see deer, goats and pigs wandering the countryside.
Jerangle has two stone churches and cemeteries where you can step back in time and get a feel for some of the characters that once lived in the region.
Why you’ll love it
While there’s not much in the way of facilities in Jerangle, the drive through the Monaro region is an easy way to admire the impressive, rock-clad peaks of the Tinderry Range up close.
Much of the range is pristine, isolated NSW nature reserve. You’ll see cold climate valleys mostly farmed with sheep, interspersed with densely timbered ridges.
If you’re a fan of navigating virtually deserted dirt backroads, you might like to explore the trails in the vicinity. Just bear in mind that the area is sparsely populated and mobile phone reception is patchy if you run into trouble.
There are several more sedate but equally picturesque drives in the area, especially around the Peak View district. Michelago and Bredbo are two of the small towns that dot the area and offer somewhere to grab a meal or a coffee, and Cooma is not far away.
There are some delightful gardens in the Jerangle area open to the public on certain days.
From Canberra, head for Cooma on the Monaro Highway. Continue through Cooma until you reach Bredbo (home of the renowned Bredbo Christmas Shop). Turn left onto Jerangle Road and follow the dirt road for about 30 km.
When to go
Jerangle’s history and the diverse landscape surrounding it can be explored all year round.
However, because Jerangle sits at an altitude of 1120 metres, compared with Canberra which is around 580, its elevation means it gets quite chilly in winter. Remember to check seasonal information as some roads may be closed or impassable because of snow.
- Duration: allow 1 ½ hours to drive directly to Jerangle
- Distance from Canberra: just over 100 km south-east of the capital
- Recommended for: history buffs, nature lovers – especially fans of Australia’s high country – and those who like to truly get away from it all
- More information: Visit Cooma or Ghost Towns Australia
If you’ve spent time in the Jerangle area, we’d love to hear what you did while you were there. Any recommendations?
Header photo from Visit Cooma.