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Tumbarumba, NSW

Quiet, charming rural town on the southern slopes of the Snowy Mountains.

Tumbarumba is a small, attractive town nestled on the southern slopes of the Snowy Mountains. Historically it has always been a sleepy little town having been by-passed by both the Hume Highway and the major railway line between Sydney and Melbourne.  Consequently it has a kind of "held in aspic" old-style charm with a number of beautifully preserved old buildings. Today the town is sustained by the timber, blueberries, raspberries, truffles, olives, sheep and cattle.


Tumbarumba is located 471 km south-west of Sydney via the Hume Freeway and Motorway, 701 metres above sea level, and 473 km north-east of Melbourne.


Origin of Name

Tumbarumba is in Ngarigo country and the word reputedly means "sounding ground". There is a suggestion that there are places in the district where, if the ground is hit with a stick, there is a distinct and unusual hollow sound. There is an alternative explanation that it is a corruption of the Ngarigo "dhamba dhamba" meaning "soft" or "soft ground" and a local Ngarigo Elder (see Comments) has explained that the term actually means "place of large trees".


Things to See and Do

The Court House
The only building in town of real interest is the Court House which is located in Bridge Street. It was constructed in the 1880s and has a certain gracious elegance and charm.

Tumbarumba-Rosewood Rail Trail
This 21 km trail claims to be the first rail trail in New South Wales. It was opened in 2020. The excellent website (see https://www.railtrails.org.au/trails/tumbarumba-to-rosewood-riverina-highlands-rail-trail) explains that it is:
* NSW’s first true rail trail on a government rail corridor passes through beautiful subalpine countryside and farmland.
* The trail is sealed and family friendly, suitable for most types of bicycles, scooters, mobility scooters and prams.
* Interpretative signs along the trail explain the history of the rail line and the region.
There is a detailed review of the experience at https://www.traveller.com.au/the-tumbarumba-to-rosewood-rail-trail-review-nsw-states-first-rail-trail-is-a-gentle-ride-h20vsw which explains that it "is itself a ride of gentle inclines and declines – the tame gradients that are one of the universal pleasures of rail trails." The starting point is at the old Tumbarumba Railway Station in Figures Street. 

Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail
The Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail is a public collection of over 35 sculptures in seven locations across the Snowy Valleys. Sculptures by artists from across Australia and the world are being installed in the towns of Adelong, Batlow, Tumbarumba, the hamlet of Tooma and the Tumbarumba wine region cellar doors at Courabyra Wines, Johansen Wines and Obsession Wines. The sculptures will be installed in three phases: 5 May, 2022, late 2022 and April 2023. 
Over 20 sculptures were installed by 5 May, 2022 including: 
• Adelong Creek Walk – ten sculptures
• Batlow – four sculptures and two shop art projects on Pioneer Street 
• Courabyra Wines – two sculptures
• Johansen Wines – two sculptures 
• Tumbarumba – six sculptures (including three sculptures installed in December 2021 gifted by the Friendship Society of Denmark, Australia and New Zealand) and one shop art project on The Parade 
• Obsession Wines – one sculpture 
• Tooma – one sculpture 
The sculptures to be installed in phases two and three are being made specifically for the Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail following visits to the area by artists. 

Tumbarumba Wines and Cellar Doors
Tumbarumba is a cool climate wine growing area where grapes have been grown since the early 1980s. There are approximately 330 ha of vineyards in the district which produce around  3000 tonnes of grapes each year. The signature wines are Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. In recent years the newer plantings include Merlot, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Shiraz and Viognier. The latter varieties helped by the warm dry seasons experienced in the past few years. The majority of grapes produced in the region are sold on to the major wine companies. There are four cellar doors in the district:
Glenburnie Cellar Door, Black Range Road, Tumbarumba . Open every day 10.00 am - 6.00 pm, tel: (02) 6948 2570.
Mannus Wines, 79 Glenroy Hills Road, Tumbarumba. Open weekends noon - 4.00pm, tel: (02) 6948 8481.
Upper Murray Estate, 8792 Murray River Road, Walwa, Open 10.00 am - 5.00 pm, Thursday to Monday, tel: (02) 6037 1577.
Tumbarumba Wines Escape, 3446 Jingellic Road, Tumbarumba, Open 11.00 am - 4.00 pm Saturday and Sunday, tel: (02) 6948 5254.
Courabyra Wines, 805 Courabyra Road, Tumbarumba, Open 11.00 am - 5.00 pm except Tuesdays, tel: (02) 6948 2462.


Other Attractions in the Area

Hume and Hovell Walking Track - Henry Angel Trackhead
The Hume and Hovell Walking Track stretches for 440 km from Yass to Albury and traces the route taken by Hamilton Hume and William Hovell on their epic exploration in 1824 which led to the establishment of an overland route between Sydney and the present-day site of Melbourne.
The section of the track which runs from Henry Angel Trackhead to Tumbarumba Creek is a pleasant (easy to moderate grading) walk from the Henry Angel Campsite 7 km south of Tumbarumba on the Tumbarumba-Tooma road. It is a 12 km walk which should take about 5-6 hours. The walk is along the Burra Creek and includes a tunnel built during the gold mining days, a number of waterfalls, and the place where Hume and Hovell first sighted the Snowy Mountains. The track is named after Henry Angel, one of the six assigned convicts to accompany Hume and Hovell. Check out https://www.humeandhovelltrack.com.au/#hume-and-hovell-track

Paddy's River Falls
Paddy's River Flats and Paddy's River Falls are a major attraction in the district. The falls, which are 60 metres high, are located 14 km south of Tumbarumba on the Tooma-Khancoban Road. There is a track to the base of the falls. Nearby is Paddy's River Flats with toilets, camping and picnic facilities. Check out http://www.tumbarumbansw.com/paddy's-river-falls-tumbarumba.html for more details.



* Prior to the arrival of Europeans the area around Tumbarumba had been Ngarigo country for at least 20,000 years.

* The first Europeans into the area were the explorers Hamilton Hume and William Hovell who passed through in 1824 on their way overland from Yass to Port Phillip.

* By the 1830s settlers had moved into the area.

* The first settler in the tiny settlement arrived in the early 1840s.

* Gold was discovered in the Tumbarumba district in 1855 and the Tumbarumba Gold Field was proclaimed in 1866.

* The township was surveyed in 1859 and land lots were officially sold in 1860.

* The Post Office opened in 1860.

* On 24 July 1864 the bushranger 'Mad Dog' Morgan shot and killed Sergeant David Maginnity on the road between Tumbarumba and Coppabella. Morgan approached two policemen and shot Maginnity. The other, Trooper Churchley, fled and was later dismissed for cowardice. After the killing the government put a reward of £1000 on Morgan's head.

* In 1921 a branch railway line reached the town.

* The Tumbarumba goldfields were still productive in the 1930s.

* The railway was closed by the 1970s.

* Today the town is a service centre for the surrounding district where vineyards, blueberries and timber are the dominant agriculture.


Visitor Information

The Tumbarumba Visitor Information Centre, 10 Bridge Street, is open seven days, tel: (02) 6948 3333.


Useful Websites

There's a local website. Check out https://visitsnowyvalleys.com.au.

Got something to add?

Have we missed something or got a top tip for this town? Have your say below.

11 suggestions
  • Tumbarumba is in Ngarigo country, not Wiradjuri or Walgalu as stated. Walgalu is a curse that was put on the Ngarigo people by Murray Jack a Wiradjuri katarchi man who put the Walgalu curse on whole Ngarigo families, hence Walgalu people (Toomaroombah) means “mother earth is talking”. Tumbarumba means place of large trees according to the old original Aboriginal Ngarigo men, old Diamond & Charlie Wilkie senior. These stories were handed down through our family. Tindale & other white man stories are all ‘goona’ we can tell our own stories that was handed down to us for generations.

    Ganje jargiar, proud Ngarigo elder.
    • Do you have free or donation camping in the vicinity of Tumbarumba…am heading that way in March with a caravan and little dog..
      I married a local shearer in 1966 but passed in 1977. I haven’t been back to this town for at least 45yrs. Wasn’t a local gal..

      Jeannie Simpson
    • i would really love to hear of more of what you have to say.. mother earth talking is just so beautiful i love it!!! i plan on moving to tumba

      rochelle barton
    • wow i would really really love to hear more that is sooo beautiful mother earth is talking… how beautiful!!!!!

    • Thank you Ganje jargiar.
      I would also like to hear more about the history of the Ngarigo Peoples prior to being evicted from their land (for that I am truly sorry). We need to hear more narrative handed down through generations so that it can be recorded in writing for the non-indigenous residents to appreciate the true history of the Ngarigo People.
      There is very little information available.
      Thank you for your comments.

  • I was born in Tumbarumba at Mrs Greenhalghs clinic in February 1936 . My father was a teacher at Union Jack and he boarded with Mrs Pheobe Egan ( nee Kelly } and he married her daughter Eileen. I have two sisters Patricia and Bernice. I was related to the Cuskey family as well.

    PeterT Connolly
  • My great grandmother Mary Jane Donaldson (Nee Waring) had a licence to grow grapes for wine production here, her address or business address was Parade St, Tumbarumba, during 1912 era. Mary’s husband John Walter Donaldson was a bricklayer and perhaps an engineer. He built buildings throughout Victoria. They are descendants of pioneers from the 1840’s. They also had land at Rocky Point, Norong, Rutherglen region, Koo Wee Rup, & Yallock where their children attended school.

    Amanda Jane Donaldson
  • Hi there. Thanks for your great website. Regarding wineries and cellar doors, might want to add Courabyra Wines at 805 Courabyra Rd, Tumbarumba. Beautiful location, yummy restaurant, and Cathy is a fabulous host.

    Janine Becker
  • I don’t like seeing rail-trails replace rail tracks. I think that they should think about building the cycleway beside the heritage rail line instead of ripping it up. An idea to run as either tourist trains/ride trikes or if the decide to return to normal passenger train run. I don’t like the idea of bus travel that tends to be awkward.
    I believe it’s a good idea to have a cycleway that’s not a problem. I am deeply concerned that it will ruin the railway heritage. 
    Tumbarumba should have a dedicated rail track for trike rides as well as a Tumut line.

    Paul Vonwiller
  • I grew up here and it was beautiful. The high school has such supporting teachers that encourage you to do your best. They even helped with work experience out of state. The community in Tumbarumba is inviting, which instantly brightens ones mood. Tumbarumba has local cafes and restaurants that have many food options. If you decide to visit, I’m sure that you will enjoy your time here.

    Kiki Wilson