19 August 2017

Canberra Day Trips: Nimmitabel

| Canberra Day Trips
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Nimmitabel Canberra Day Trips

The historic town of Nimmitabel lies near the Monaro Plains. Home to intriguing sites from a pivotal time in Australian settlement history, it’s less than two hours from Canberra. Here’s what you need to know to plan your visit.

A day trip to Nimmitabel promises an insightful day of historical sightseeing, inviting the visitor to step into the past.

Originally home to the Ngarigo people, the area was later settled by graziers in the 1840s, and flourished in the late 19th century as a stopover destination for miners travelling to the Kiandra goldfields from the coast.

Today, visitors are spoilt for choice when it comes to charming buildings from Nimmitabel’s past, including the Old Flour Mill, Geldmacher House Museum, the Royal Arms Guesthouse and more.


Why you’ll love it

The sleepy village of Nimmitabel is a history lover’s dream.

A great way to see the township is to take the Heritage Walk Trail, which covers many noteworthy sites. To find out more about the trail, pick up a Nimmitabel visitor guide from the Cooma Visitor Information Centre.

Whether you choose to walk the trail or not, be sure to check out the old flour mill, built in the mid 1800s by German settler John Geldmacher.

It is one of the only two wind-powered flour mills still standing in Australia, however historians aren’t sure that the mill was ever actually powered by wind. Because of its proximity to the public road when it was first built, the mill’s fans were seen as a hazard that could scare horses – and it wasn’t long before Geldmacher converted the mill to run on horsepower instead.

The Geldmacher House Museum is another must-see. Built in 1863, the building was originally a general store, later bought by John Geldmacher. Today it is a museum that displays artefacts and information from Nimmitabel’s past.

Ever watched the 1959 Hollywood film, The Sundowners? If yes, you’ve already seen Nimmitabel’s Royal Arms Guesthouse. Formerly known as the Royal Oak Hotel, the stone cottage was built around 1850, and has housed travellers (and film crews!) ever since.

Aside from historic sites, Nimmitabel also offers great spots for mountain biking and fishing. It’s also worth refuelling at the Nimmitabel Bakery (look for the giant elephant statue out the front).


Getting there

From Civic, Nimmitabel is just under a two-hour drive south. To get there, take the Monaro Highway to Cooma, and continue on to the Snowy Mountains Highway for 35.7 kilometres. Once you reach Tom Groggin Road, turn left and continue for just under 9km until you reach Nimmitabel.

When to go

Nimmitabel is enjoyable to visit any time of year. Its 1070 metres above sea level, which means the winters are cold and sometimes snowy. Summers are generally warm.


Key details

  • Distance from Canberra: 160 km
  • Recommended for: history buffs
  • More information: Go to the Aussie Towns website

Have you explored the sites at historic Nimmitabel? Let us know your favourite activities below.

Header photo: Nimmitabel Old Flour Mill, from Aussie Towns.

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