Here is a complete Coonoor Travel Guide, covering everything from Places to Visit in Coonoor to What to Pack for Coonoor.
Coonoor, with its sprawling tea plantations and panoramic valleys, is the second most visited tourist place in the Nilgiris, after Ooty. Coonoor is just 17 kilometers from Ooty and is popular as a weekend getaway on its own terms or it can be clubbed with an Ooty tour.
Check out my comprehensive Coonoor travel guide here for all the information you need to plan an awesome trip.
Places to See in Coonoor
The most important places to visit are easily accessible by road and can be covered in one or two days’ time.
Established in 1874 by the then Madras mayor, J. D. Sims, Sim’s Park is a Japanese-style botanical park stretching over 30 acres of land in Upper Coonoor. The park is home to some exotic plants and trees that co-habit with native fauna. Sim’s Park is less than 3 kilometers from Coonoor Railway Station and the main bus depo. You can go boating in the lake here.
Ashley’s Tip: Sim’s Park hosts an annual vegetable show in the month of May, in which skilled artisans design and exhibit vegetable crafts in different shapes and sizes. May will be a great time to plan your trip to be part of this show.
Lamb’s Rock is a must-see spot in Coonoor with its mesmerizing views and quaint surroundings. Located just 7 kilometers from Coonoor Railway Station, and en route to Dolphin’s Nose viewpoint, Lamb’s Rock is a great place for hiking and picnicking with family.
This is the place to lose yourself to nature amidst chirping birds and playful monkeys.
After reaching the parking area, you have to buy tickets and once you enter, you have to take the paved way, twisting and turning through a pine forest, to reach the viewing point. The place is named after a certain captain Lamb who earnestly pursued paving the way to the viewpoint.
Dolphin’s Nose View Point
Dolphin’s Nose is a viewing point about 12 kilometers from Coonoor town. It is a mountain with a spectacular view of Catharine Falls on one side and several smaller water falls on the other side, facing Kotagiri. The viewing point got its unusual name on account of the elongated tip of the mountain that resembles a dolphin’s nose.
You can drive till the entrance of the viewing point, from where you need to get tickets for a nominal charge. Once inside, you get a 180-degree breathtaking panoramic view of the Nilgiris from a height of 1550 meters.
Ashley’s Tip: If you want to make the most of your visit to Dolphin’s Nose, plan to spend half a day there, carry a picnic basket and spend some quality time with your dear ones. If you are in a hurry and planning to cover major spots in Coonoor in just one day, you can avoid this place. During peak season and weekends, you can expect long lines of traffic and it could take a while to get inside. If you are in a hurry, get down somewhere on the way and click photos on the roadside. I bet you, they are going to be spectacular!
Although situated in Kotagiri, Catherine Falls can easily be made part of a Coonoor trip as it is just 22 kilometers from Coonoor Railway Station. Catherine Falls is a double-cascaded waterfall, where the upper cascade is at a height of 79 meters.
If you are pumped for hiking, drive to the Catherine Falls viewpoint parking area, and hike through the tea plantations across a local village for one kilometer to reach the viewpoint. Listen to the music of nature in the murmurs of the falls and you bet the walk will be as beautiful as the view.
Ashley’s Tip: There are no eateries in the stretch to Catherine Falls, so it is best to carry sufficient water and snacks with you, but do not leave any trash behind!
A visit to Coonoor is incomplete without a stroll through its tea plantations and an experience of tea tasting in one of its tea factories. Highfield Tea Factory is the most famous tea factory in Coonoor.
Here, you can learn about the tea-making process and taste a variety of flavored teas. In Coonoor’s tea plantations, you will most likely find a photographer who will get you dressed in the traditional attire of tea plantation laborers and get you some amazing photographs, posing and holding the traditional tea leaves basket amidst the plantations.
Other Places to Visit in Coonoor
- Rallia Dam
- Law’s Fall
- Wellington Golf Course
- Lady Canning’s Seat
Check out the best budget hotels in Coonoor for a relaxed holiday
How to Reach Coonoor
Coonoor is easily accessible by road and train. The nearest airport is Coimbatore International Airport, situated 70 kilometers from here.
Coonoor is 35 kilometers from Mettupalayam and can be reached in just over an hour (subject to traffic). From Ooty, Coonoor is a 45 minutes drive of 20 kilometers.
The best means of transportation to Coonoor is definitely via toy train on the picturesque Nilgiri Mountain Railway. The train timings and fare details are given in the table below:
Read my detailed article on Nilgiri Mountain Railway
Best Time to Visit Coonoor
Coonoor is a year-round tourist destination, but October to March is considered the best time to visit. Check out here what each season will feel like in Coonoor.
March to June
The summer months of March, April, May, and June are considered peak seasons in Coonoor. This is because
- The schools close for summer vacations during these months,
- Sim’s Park hosts an annual vegetable show in the month of May, attracting a huge crowd from across Tamil Nadu
- Tourists in the plains throng to hill stations to escape the extreme heat in the summer months
During the summer months, Coonoor stays warm at a temperature between 25 °C to 37 °C.
Ashley’s Tip: While this is peak season, there have been instances of drought and water shortage in March in recent years. It will be best to look up any water-shortage news about Coonoor before you visit in the summer months.
July to October
July is the beginning of the monsoon season in Coonoor which peaks in September. During this time Coonoor gets quite slushy. If you want to avoid the crowd or intent to spend most of your trip in a tea plantation or a resort with in-house activities, this might be the best time as hotel charges are the cheapest during the monsoon season.
Post-monsoon, when the rains get lighter in October, you can see the lakes and waterfalls at their mightiest. The valleys turn green with the spurt of new fauna making it a spectacular time to visit.
November to February
This is the time when the rains start making way for chilly and misty weather in the Nilgiri hills. Coonoor is only mildly cold at a temperature ranging between 10 °C to 20 °C making your trip a pleasant one.
How to Get Around in Coonoor
Hiring a private car, bike, or auto rickshaw is the best way to get around and visit all major attractions. You can contact your hotel to arrange a vehicle for you. If you are on a one-day visit and arrive by train, you can hire a taxi or auto rickshaw just outside the station to take you on a day trip.
Ashley’s Tip: Put your haggling skills to best use when hiring a vehicle in Coonoor.
Where to Eat in Coonoor
Compared to Ooty, Coonoor has fewer options for restaurants. I have listed some of the best restaurants in Coonoor here.
Café: Open Kitchen, Third Wave Coffee, Cafe Koffi Bean, Cafe Fully Loaded
South Indian: Sri Ramachandra Lunch Home, Coonoor Railway Station Food Court
North Indian: Khana Khazana Pure Veg Indian Restaurant,
Asian: Bagaicha Restaurant (Chinese, near Sims Park)
Continental: Café Diem (Reservation required), La Belle Vie, Hopscotch
Where to Shop in Coonoor
Coonoor is a great place to shop for tea, chocolates, and cheese. You can also buy spices, Toda handicrafts, and woolen wear here.
Coonoor Main Bazaar: Woolens, trinkets, spices, and handicrafts (unleash your haggling skills to get great discounts)
Green Shop, Coonoor: Organic honey, chocolates, souvenirs, essential oils, organic soaps and self-care products, Toda-embroidered shawls, and runners.
Highfield Tea Estate: Tea powder, chocolate, cheese
What to Pack for Coonoor
Coonoor being a winter destination, you will need to pack accordingly. If you are planning a long trip to the Nilgiris, covering Ooty, Coonoor, and Kotagiri, here is a two-week winter packing list. The must pack items for Coonoor are listed here:
Clothing: If traveling in the winter months from November to February, carry heavy woolens; at any other time of the year, light woolens will do.
Footwear: Carry comfortable sneakers as there will be lots of walking over uneven and slippery surfaces.
Umbrella or Raincoat: If visiting in the monsoon months from July to September, a raincoat is a must. Nilgiris receive rain in 9 months a year, so it is best to carry an umbrella with you for any unanticipated rain.
Lifestyle: Carry sunscreens and use them even if it is not so sunny, as you are exposed to a higher level of UV rays on hill stations due to their altitude. Don’t forget to throw your moisturizer and lip care cream into your toiletries bag during the winter months to avoid dry skin and chapped lips!
Did you find this article useful in planning your trip? How was your Coonoor trip? Did you find or experience anything that I should mention here? Let me know in the comments section below. I would love to hear from you.
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