Snowy Mountains hospitality venue offers multiple business opportunities

The Travellers Rest in Cooma is on the market with a price guide of $3 million.  Picture:
The Travellers Rest in Cooma is on the market with a price guide of $3 million. Picture:

Local and metropolitan buyers are showing their interest in a hospitality venue in the Snowy Mountains with several income streams.

Travellers Rest in Cooma, almost 100km east of Mt Kosciuszko, features several buildings on 1.16ha including a licenced restaurant plus an antiques store with a cafe.

A function room, chapel and bridal suite are ideal for weddings and other events and a separate five-bedroom home allows the new owners to enjoy accommodation revenue, or provides an on-site residence for a manger.

Connected to the restaurant is a 1861-built building with a new whiskey bar and private dining rooms and the gardens include a tennis court.

Inside the function room at Travellers Rest Cooma showing comfortable antique furnishings, a bar and cow hide rugs

The property has a large function room, which flows out to a grassed courtyard and the separate chapel. Picture:

The property took in $103,000 in revenue between February-April this year and based on current short-term rental accommodation rates in Cooma and nearby areas, the residential property could add $4,000-$6,500 per week to this figure.

With a price guide of $3 million, Travellers Rest is being offered via expressions of interest by JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group and One Agency Cooma, with the campaign closing at 4pm on July 7.

Rare income combination attracts local and city buyers

One Agency Cooma director Craig Schofield said Travellers Rest was appealing to both local and city buyers, with the majority keen to leave the property unchanged.

“There are local breweries in Cooma and towards the mountains and the owners of these places have shown interest in this property, along with people in Canberra and Sydney,” Mr Schofield said.

“There are not many places like this in the Snowy Mountains that have everything combined on one site from a restaurant to a cafe and even an on-site chapel.”

Mr Schofield added that the property was “pretty rundown” when he sold it to its current owners in 2018.

Since then however, the local family has considerably updated the venue, including changing the interior of the original inn, which the Snowy Monaro Regional Council has listed as a place of local heritage significance. The property is covered by the area’s local environmental plan for conservation purposes.

Bed and chairs inside the renovated bridal suite at the Travellers Rest Cooma

The property has a bridal suite with a renovated bedroom and bathroom. Picture:

These updates have assisted Travellers Rest to host 18 weddings in the past 12 months, with a further five weddings booked between now and the start of the next financial year.

Mr Schofield said the council had heritage consultants available if the new owners wanted to make any changes to the building and they were amenable to most renovations; however, the building couldn’t be demolished.

“You do need to keep the facade the same or similar to its original outlook so in this way, you have to fall in line with its history but the current owners have already made some changes to the building,” he said.

The property also featured on an episode of Farmer Wants a Wife in 2021.

Excellent location adds to appeal

The property’s position on the Snowy Mountains Highway, just over a one hour drive east of the major ski resorts of Perisher, Thredbo, Charlottes Pass and Selwyn, makes it an ideal option for hospitality, accommodation and events.

Cooma is also experiencing something of a tourism boom at the moment, due to the pandemic-induced increase in domestic travel and the early start to this year’s snow season, Mr Schofield said.

“They opened the resorts a week early this year because of the amount of snow we had and visitors have been flooding in ever since,” he said.

“This early dump of snow boosted the confidence around town as well.”

Tourism Snowy Mountains’ marketing and communications manager Christie Hampton concurred, saying this winter’s “bounce back” to pre-Covid visitation numbers had been fantastic for local businesses despite staff shortages.

“Due to the heavy snowfalls at the start of winter, it has been one of the busiest starts to a snow season ever,” Ms Hampton said.

Lounge area inside separate accommodation building at Travellers Rest in Cooma

Standing separate to the rest of the buildings is a modern two-storey, five-bedroom house. It could provide further accommodation revenue or be used as living quarters for the owners or a manager. Picture:

Real Capital Analytics shows the alpine region has also experienced some strong accommodation sales this financial year, from the purchase of The Royal Hotel in Adelong for $1,001,000 in November 2021 to that of Tumut Valley Motel for $2.425 million in December.

PropTrack economist Anne Flaherty said the most popular regional areas for commercial investors were always those that enjoyed high numbers of tourists while also being within a two-hour drive from a capital city.

“Throughout the pandemic, many regions saw an increase in the number of buyers looking to invest in these areas and the Snowy Mountains definitely fits the bill,” she said.

Golden start for Travellers Rest

Travellers Rest has its own rich history, with the gold rush-era inn built in 1861 by Irish settler, Hugh Stewart, who hoped to attract gold miners travelling from Cooma to the now abandoned mining town of Kiandra.

The inn also housed bullock teams as they travelled from Kiandra’s goldfields to Cooma for supplies before becoming the Pine Valley Hotel in 1874 and remaining so until 1924.

Since then, the property has featured a brewery and museum and its current owners have transformed an old shearing shed into an antiques store with a cafe. The restaurant also now features a conservatory-style rotunda area and a central open fireplace.