Making a Country Change to the Snowy Valleys

December 7, 2017

Making a Country Change to the Snowy Valleys

Raise your glass to a country change: Winemakers flourish in the Snowy Valleys.

After deciding to relocate back in 1983, Cathy and Brian Gairn were on their way to Newcastle, before their plans were shaken up after a one-night stopover in Tumbarumba. They instantly fell in love with the Snowy Valleys region, and it wasn’t long before they bought a block of land and decided to build.

The Snowy Valleys region is conveniently situated halfway between Melbourne and Sydney, and is only about a 5-hour drive to each city. Timber is the region’s biggest industry followed closely by agriculture and tourism. With a wide variety of cool-climate produce, including hazelnuts, blueberries, truffles and wines, Tumbarumba and the entire Snowy Valleys region has so much to offer. But that didn’t mean their move didn’t come with some concern. ‘We weren’t sure when we first moved here,’ said Cathy, ‘but it’s just going from strength to strength.’

For a pair of Vignerons like Cathy and Brian, the Snowy Valleys has proven to be the ideal home, not only for them, but also for their prospering business, Courabyra Wines. Although the couple was uncertain about their move at first, they found the local council to be incredibly encouraging in the establishment of their vineyard, right from the beginning and throughout the entire process. After more than 30 years in the Snowy Valleys, Cathy is proud to say that, ‘the council is very supportive towards much of the tourism and agriculture business in the shire.’

Not only are Cathy and Brian very fortunate to call such a beautiful and welcoming region their home, but Tumbarumba is also incredibly lucky to have them, and Courabyra Wines. Their expert knowledge and proven skill in viticulture is truly an asset to the region, and Cathy is a longstanding member of the Tumbarumba Vignerons Association. The couple also initiated Tumbafest - the annual event that combines international acts and great wine, whist showcasing the region’s output though many market stalls.

Located in the western foothills of the Snowy Mountains, picturesque Tumbarumba and neighbouring towns boast fresh mountain air, rivers and lakes, parks, forests and farms. The area is surrounded by Mount Kosciuszko in the south, and the Murray River to the west, with Wagga Wagga and Canberra also at its doorstep.

The area is ideal for outdoor activities such as bush walking, kayaking and cycling, and according to Cathy, ‘it’s a beautiful area to be living this type of lifestyle. If anyone wanted to have a country change, I would say absolutely, definitely do it.’ Family-oriented Cathy also believes The Snowy Valleys region is a great place to raise a family because, ‘as the kids grow up, they feel a real sense of place and a sense of family. It makes you really proud to be a part of this community.’ The great number of public and private schools throughout Tumut, Adelong, Batlow and Tumbarumba, ensure that Snowy Valleys children also have access to a fantastic education, in addition to a supportive community and a beautiful natural landscape to explore.

Although Cathy and Brian never intended to make the country change and end up living in Tumbarumba, they are really glad they made that stopover during their 1983 road trip to Newcastle. ‘It’s something I’d never look back on and regret doing. I don’t think we would live anywhere else.’

If you’re dreaming of life in the vibrant regions of the Riverina or Murray, visit Country Change for more information or contact us to help guide your own Country Change!

See All Posts