The tiny town of Michelago, a stone’s throw from Canberra, is just off the Monaro Highway on the road to Cooma. It’s a popular residential area because of its proximity to Canberra, with steady demand for its lifestyle blocks and larger properties. It’s also a popular stop for travellers, offering fuel, food and a country welcome.
Established in the 1820s, Michelago is nestled in a picturesque valley between two chains of mountains – the Tinderry Range to the east and Clear Range to the west.
According to folklore, Michelago is home to an abandoned house that has earned an unwanted reputation for being haunted. It was built in the 1800s and operated as the Hibernian Inn, but the building is now on private property and not open to visitors.
However, there are several other beautiful old homes and buildings in the village. St Patrick’s Catholic Church dates back to the mid-1860s, and there are a pub and general store that cater to passing visitors.
“Nestled beneath the Tinderry Mountains on the ACT’s fringe you’ll find Michelago, a scenic rural village within an easy commute to Canberra… now is the time to explore this increasingly popular destination” – Domain.
Why you’ll love it
With a population that can be counted in the hundreds, Michelago is a small community. But what it lacks in size it makes up for with its country feel and warm community vibe.
If you’re heading to or from the Snowy Mountains region – or anywhere else in the area – you’ll receive a friendly greeting if you stop for a break in Michelago. Take a moment to admire the imposing ranges and soak up the open rural environment.
Michelago has an active residents association and several sporting groups. The pony club holds regular gymkhanas where you can see the best young riders from the region competing. There’s also a paintball facility nearby.
The beautiful Michelago railway station is occasionally open to the public. Michelago is part of the of the main Cooma branch line and was a major station until the demise of the train service in the 1980s, but the historic station remains.
Getting to Michelago is a breeze. It’s less than 20 minutes by car from the southern edge of Canberra’s suburbs on the Monaro Highway. The turnoff to the village is well signposted.
When to go
Much like Canberra, Michelago’s weather ranges from chilly in winter to very hot in summer. If you’re spending time wandering around the town, it’s best to avoid extremes of temperature.
If you’re passing by on a driving trip, anytime is the right time to stop in at Michelago for a warming cuppa or a refreshing drink to sustain you on your journey.
- Duration: less than an hour’s drive from the city
- Distance from Canberra: approximately 55 km south of the city centre
- Recommended for: people seeking a pleasant break from a road trip, railway buffs, and those with an interest in history
- More information: Go to the Visit Cooma website
Do you know of other places to visit on a day trip from Canberra? We’d love to hear more about where you think the best places to stop for a break are.
Header image from Australia for Everyone.