If you are looking to get away from the crowd and the heat of Bengaluru then a quick escape to the hills of Coonoor might be your best bet. The town located in Nilgiri hills is a heaven for bird watching with numerous varieties of birds ranging from thrushes to skylarks and parakeets.
The town is populated in a reverse bell shape, with bus station, train station and market area right at the bottom, and Sim’s Park (a point of interest) right at the top. You’ll find some nice hotels and restaurants in between as you’ll take the winding road to the top.
I suggest to skip hotels for your stay in Coonoor and instead choose a homestay close to the nature. Several of these home stays are located further away from the town and amidst the pretty settings of tea gardens and green hills.
Here’s a list of top Coonoor attractions and best things to do in Coonoor:
Coonoor Sight Seeing
Thronged by thousands of tourists daily, the beautiful, well maintained garden is located in the upper Conoor.
In order to get here take the bus from the Coonoor bus stand. The ticket cost is mere 5 rupees and the travel time is around 10 minutes. You can also walk from the bus station to the Sim’s Park but the trek is bit challenging due to continuous uphill walk; the trek requires one to be in a good shape.
High Field Tea Factory
Perhaps the most popular and easily accessible tea factory in the Coonoor area, which makes for a perfect backdrop for your holiday pictures. There are two ways to reach the factory. One is to walk on the small road which goes left from the Sim’s Park circle, ask any vendor for direction and he/ she will be able to guide you to the correct road. The total distance between the Highfield Tea factory and the Sim’s Park is two kilometers and one can easily complete the walk in about twenty minutes. The walk goes through a jungle and there are bungalows on the either side making you wonder about those privileged people.
The other option is to take the bus from the circle which goes straight toward Mettupalayam. Simply, ask the conductor to drop you at the High Field factory turn. From the turn it takes about five minutes to walk to the High Field Tea Garden. Along the way you will find a lot of home stays, stands out among those is the High Field home stay.
I would recommend you go by the bus and take the walk while coming back.
The whole area is unrestricted and you can take pictures to your heart contents. You can even walk in the tea garden and take pictures. You can take a tour of the tea factory for free, you’ll find a guide (who’s is actually just a factory worker) near the factory. He will show you the entire lifecycle of tea production from processing tea leaves to the final product, tea granules. You can leave a small tip to the person as a courtesy.
There are couple of small shops located in the tea garden area. These shops sell the tea from the tea garden, various spices grown locally and a myriad of essential oils. You can taste the tea before purchasing them. I’d highly recommend Ginger Tea, and Chocolate tea is quite unique as well.
Tiger Hill Cemetery
The old cemetery from the British era is located near the TAN Tea Factory. The TAN tea factory is a Tamilnadu government run tea production plant. To get to the cemetery take the walk which goes around the tea factory and you will be rewarded with splendid view of Tea garden growing in the valley below.
There’s not much to do or see in the cemetery itself. The gate certainly looks interesting and adds a shadow of eeriness to the whole environment. Many of the graves are quite old and belong to British era officials while some of them are recent ones belonging to local people. You are also likely to encounter bunch of young people playing cards, don’t be alarmed, they won’t engage with you.
Dolphin’s nose viewpoint
Visit Dolphin’s nose only if you have run out of options of things to do in Conoor. It is located at around a distance of 10 km from the town and offers some good views of the valley
Ooty trip from Coonoor
Due to the proximity of Coonoor and Ooty you can combine the two into one itinerary. You can either visit Ooty as a day trip from Coonoor or vice-versa. Check my Ooty travel guide for more details.
Trip to Wellington from Coonoor
Town of Wellington is an army area and has a very beautiful golf course located down in the valley. Wellington also has a train station through which the famous Ooty- Mettupalayam train passes.