Elm Cottages is one of those magical places that feels like another world, making you forget about work and stress. Losing yourself in the moment here is quite easy. The cottages are nestled up in the majestic Goobragandra Valley overlooking the fish-rich Goobragandra River, and they’re are spread out over the privately run 62-acre farm. There are four totally unique, pet-friendly, fully self-contained cottages to choose from, and because they are all so warm and cosy it’s very hard to choose which one to stay in.
Getting to Elm Cottages is very easy; the property is only 14km and two turns from the medium-sized township of Tumut. Tumut has everything any visitor could need, from major grocery stores and tackle shops to marine outlets and everything in between. You will certainly know when you hit the Elm Cottages property as you are greeted by farm stock and wildlife that will blow the mind of any visiting city kid (and I’m sure the odd country kid as well). When I last visited the sheep had just given birth and there were lots of cute little lambies running around in amongst the cows, horses and other animals. We also spotted wallabies, rabbits, stacks of kangaroos, a fox and a wombat – and I haven’t even started on abundance of bird life in the area.
On top of the amazing wildlife and fishing, the cottages themselves are some of the best I have ever stayed in. Having stayed in hundreds of cabins and cottages over the years, this is a pretty big call. Each cottage is unique in its location, its size and its layout. No matter which one you stay in, the views overlooking the river and up the valley are spectacular to say the least.
River’s Edge is the name of the first and biggest cottage, and it’s 100 years old. Amazingly, this cottage is only 18m from the river’s edge and it is surrounded by 100-year-old elm trees and a beautiful garden. This cottage looks amazing all year round but it is especially beautiful in autumn as some of the trees throw off dark burgundies, bright yellows and magnificent deep oranges as they start to shed their leaves. It makes for a stunningly beautiful backdrop.
This cottage can easily host up to seven people, and on top of its three spacious rooms it also has its own small cabin equipped with a queen size bed. This could be very handy for parents with slightly older kids, as Mum and Dad could either send the kids to the smaller cabin or head out there themselves for their own bit of privacy.
This cottage has a fully lockable backyard for your pets, which comes in very handy whist you are off fishing, bush walking, 4WDing, shopping or touring.
River Gum is the next biggest cottage on the property and has the capacity to easily sleep six people. This cottage has three massive rooms with queen and king sized beds leading out onto the huge balcony. Amazingly there are also three bathrooms which I’m sure come in handy with bigger families. This cottage has full reverse cycle air-conditioning and boasts a large dog-safe balcony with 180° uninterrupted views of the river, hills and valley.
Red Gum is the king of luxury with its two gigantic rooms. The master bedroom houses an elegant, enormous king size bed with adjoining bathroom with spa bath. That’s right, a spa bath! The second room provides two king single beds and it also has its own en suite, and both rooms have sliding doors leading onto the balcony.
Speaking of the balcony, it boasts a 180° un-interrupted view of the river, the mountains and the valley. This cottage not only has a lockable balcony but also a large lockable yard for pets as well.
Last but certainly not least, Blue Gum is the ideal cottage for small families and couples. It is a very spacious two bedroom, one bathroom cottage, and the owners told me it has the best kitchen view in regional Australia. After taking a look myself I was inclined to agree with them, and I recommend checking it out yourself to make your own decision.
Like the other cottages that are nestled up on top of the hill, Blue Gum’s 180° uninterrupted views from its balcony are to die for, especially at sunset. Kicking back after a big day or simply relaxing doesn’t get much better than on these balconies.
As a mad keen fisho I find the only drama with this place is when you are sipping that beverage on one of the balconies late of an afternoon trying to unwind and you notice trout starting to rise in the river below. If you’re like me, this can make it hard to finish a beverage and unwind! As an angler this would be the only drama you could possibly have with the area, and if that’s the worst of your worries it’s not a bad problem to have.
All rooms have well equipped kitchens, laundry facilities, BBQs, huge TVs, DVD players and free Wi-Fi and Foxtel options. All cottages are pet friendly and safe with either lockable balconies and or lockable yards, so you won’t need to leave your favourite pet behind when you visit.
That was a quick run-down on the cottages but trust me – it doesn’t even come close to expressing how nice these cottages really are. I strongly recommend you get onto the Elm website and take a look at the cottages individually. The site provides detailed descriptions along with a heap of top quality pictures of the rooms so that you can get a pretty good feel of what they are really like.
The site also has a heap of info on other attractions in the area, as there’s more on offer than just sensational fishing. There are countless scenic drives and rides, a heap of different walks you can do from small scenic walks all the way through to massive treks, an unbelievable amount of 4WDing treks, and a heap of different cave, historic and lookout tours you can do – and that’s just scratching the surface of what’s on offer in the area.
Other notable special events and festivals are on the site as well so you can plan your entire trip well ahead of time. It sure makes life easy.
On top of the kind words and reviews written and spoken about Elm cottages from many other newspapers, magazines and even TV shows, they have also won countless tourism and accommodation awards which helps to prove just how good this place really is. The views from the balconies, especially at sunset, are as gorgeous as you are ever likely to see, and this alone would warrant a visit.
From an angler’s point of view there are so many fishing options nearby that it wouldn’t matter what time of the year you stayed as there – there would always be a good fishing option somewhere close by. However, if you specifically want to fish the kilometres of Goobragandra River on the property you will have to visit during the trout season between the long weekend in October and the long weekend in June.
Before I finish I must mention the owners of this magnificent set-up, Dave and Deb Sheldon, are two of the friendliest, nicest people you are ever likely to meet. On top of being very welcoming and full of information they totally understand and respect people’s privacy.
So as you can see, this unique set-up and its location has so much to offer and not just to the keen fisho, so getting the family to agree on a trip should be no dramas at all. I’m sure you’ll enjoy your stay there as much as I enjoyed mine.
FISHING IN THE AREA
The Goobragandra River, both on the Elm Cottages property and above and below, offers sensational rainbow and brown trout fishing. As well as good numbers of fish, there are some real trophy specimens to be encountered as well. I currently hold the ANSA ‘Length only’ rainbow trout record fish and I caught this fish in the Goobragandra River just above the Elm Cottages property, so there are certainly big fish about at times.
Other notable trout locations nearby include the infamous Tumut Rver, which is literally teeming with both rainbow and brown trout. There is also an abundance of small trout streams in the area that hold good to very good numbers of fish, including the Nimbo Creek, Yarrongobilly Creek, Gilmore Creek, Adelong Creek and Jounama Creek to name but a few.
There are also plenty of trout lakes within a short drive of the cottages, including Jounama Dam, Talbingo Dam, Tantangra Dam, 3 Mile Dam and Lake Eucumbene. So no matter what time of the year you stay there will be a trout option of some sort to choose from, even if the season is closed on the creeks and rivers.
If natives are more your thing, don’t despair – there are just as many native options within a short drive as well.
One of Australia’s freshwater icons, Blowering Dam, is only just up the road and holds good numbers of Murray cod and golden perch which attain enormous sizes at times. This lake is also full of redfin which is always good as a back-up when nothing else is biting.
Jounama Dam just above Blowering Dam is not renowned for its native fishing but it does hold good numbers of both Murray cod and golden perch, and it also has good sized trout and redfin.
The Murrumbidgee River is also within a short scenic drive from the cottages and offers some sensational Murray cod and golden perch fishing with the outside chance of hooking one of the highly valued and vulnerable trout cod.
On Saturday 15 November from 10am-4pm Elm Cottage will be holding the ‘Excite’ spring mountain fair. Elm Cottages turns 10 in 2014 and would like to not only showcase what the lovely farm and cottages have to offer but also showcase everything that is exciting about the Snowy mountains in spring.
There will be a host of beautiful fresh produce, gourmet delights, cool climate wines, a farmers market, family picnic areas, cooking demos with celebrity chefs, trout fishing demos, bush tucker tastings around the campfire, indigenous activities and education from National Park guides, stockman displays, children’s activities and much more.
Excite sounds like a great day and would be a great way to check out what Elm Cottages has to offer whilst enjoying a great day out. To find out more about Excite and/or the Cottages check out the website at www.elmcottage.com.au.