How to Plan that Perfect Trip to Coonoor

Photoshoot in Coonoor tea estate
Plan a perfect trip to Coonoor

A trip to Coonoor is synonymous with tranquility, incredible food and breathtaking landscapes amid misty clouds. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a food connoisseur, or someone seeking a peaceful retreat, Coonoor has something to offer for everyone. So let’s explore the must-visit places, popular eating joints, stay options, and how to plan your trip to Coonoor.

How to Reach Coonoor?

Nilgiri Mountain Railways in Coonoor
Scenic view on the Ooty-Coonoor mountain railway route

By Rail: Coonoor has its own railway station, and the Nilgiri Mountain Railway operates between Mettupalayam and Coonoor. The train, (also called toy train), journey is a memorable experience, winding through picturesque landscapes. This is a one-lifetime experience that you should not miss. Further, your journey on this UNESCO World Heritage Site assures extravagant countryside scenery that you will cherish forever! You can also book tickets in advance from IRCTC as tickets get sold out during tourist season and reservation counters get crowded.

By Road: Coonoor is well-connected by road, and the most common route is through Ooty. National Highway 181 is the main road that connects Coonoor to major cities in Tamil Nadu. Obviously, the drive is scenic, offering breathtaking views of the Nilgiri Hills. A road trip to Coonoor from bordering states of Kerala or Karnataka promises countless stretches of panoramic views, stunning waterfalls and spectacular forests.

By Air: The nearest airport is Coimbatore International Airport, approximately 79 kilometers away from Coonoor. From the airport, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to the hill station. But in our case, we took a taxi from Coimbatore to Ooty, stayed in Ooty for 2 days, and took the Nilgiri Mountain train from Ooty to Coonoor. Here is what we explored in Ooty.

What to pack for your trip to Coonoor?

You can never get enough of Coonoor
  • An umbrella or raincoat, especially during the rainy season. Also, Coonoor receives a fair share of rainfall when cyclonic rains hit the nearby coastal areas. (We visited in November 2022 when Chennai coastal area was hit by a cyclone that caused unexpected rains in Ooty and Coonoor)
  • Of course, a camera and/or Gimbal to carry your phone/camera.
  • Don’t forget to pack snacks and drinking water for a road trip to Coonoor. The route passes through forests and dense vegetation where no shops are found. It is better to be prepared, isn’t it?
  • Pack sports shoes to trek/hike the hilly terrain. But save your heels for dinner dates or dance party in cafe/clubs.
  • Warm clothes if you are visiting in winter.
  • The Nilgiri Hills authorities have imposed a blanket ban on the sale of plastic and PET bottles to make the place plastic-free. So carry your own bottles and refill them from water ATMs.
  • Also, a first aid kit with basic medicines and aid.

Best time to visit Coonoor

Tea gardens in Coonoor

The hill town of Coonoor and Ooty can be visited all year round. Summer season (March to June) is extremely pleasant and cool but crowded. Winter (October to March) gets chilly and offers beautiful misty views.

Rainy season can be tricky to visit. Though the rain-washed landscapes look lush and picturesque, it gets difficult to walk through the slushy roads. Also, it is risky to drive in the hills during rainfall.

Places to Visit in Coonoor

1. Sim’s Park

Start your exploration with Sim’s Park, a botanical garden that boasts a stunning collection of rare plants and flowers. The park is not only a treat for nature lovers but also a perfect spot for a leisurely stroll. Every nook and cranny of Sim’s Park is absolutely Instagram-able.

Entry Fee- Rs 30 for adults, Rs 15 for children upto 12 years of age. No charges for camera.

Sim's Park Coonoor
Sim’s Park in Coonoor is highly recommended to visit

2. Dolphin’s Nose Viewpoint

For panoramic views of the Nilgiri Hills and Catherine Falls, head to Dolphin’s Nose Viewpoint. The hike to this vantage point is invigorating and rewards you with breathtaking landscapes. If you visit in the rainy season, the viewpoint will be hidden beneath fog.

Entry fee- Rs 20 per person. Rs 50 is charged for camera.

3. Lamb’s Rock

A less crowded alternative to Dolphin’s Nose, Lamb’s Rock offers a serene escape with its lush greenery and uninterrupted views. It’s an ideal spot for a peaceful picnic. 7km from Coonoor on the way to Dolphin’s Nose Viewpoint, Lamb’s Rock offers serene views to soak in some peaceful time.

4. Highfield Tea Estate

Coonoor boasts verdant tea estates which you can explore through the winding roads. The misty skylines meet the green tea estate plants, creating surreal views like in a painting. Highland Tea Estate is among the largest and the oldest estates (50 years old), where you can closely watch the tea plants growing and also know the process of tea production.

Entry fee- Rs 10 per person. No camera fee is charged.

Coonoor's Highland Tea Estate
The unmissable tea estates of Coonoor

5. Benchmark Tea Factory

Coonoor is known for its tea estates, and a visit to the Highfield Tea Factory is a must for those curious about the tea-making process. You can witness the journey from leaf to cup and, of course, sample some freshly brewed tea. We tasted 5 varieties of tea, all with different medicinal properties.

Benchmark Tea Factory in Coonoor
Benchmark Tea Factory in Coonoor

You can shop for authentic tea, coffee and essential oils from the factory outlet at reasonable price. Avoid shops outside the tea factory since they have products priced higher than factory rates. We bought Heena Oil and Green Tea from the factory outlet.

Entry fee- A nominal fee of Rs 15. No camera fee.

5. Catherine Falls

Nature’s beauty is showcased at its best at Catherine Falls, a double-cascading waterfall surrounded by dense forests. The drive to the falls is as enchanting as the destination itself.

During our visit in November, the falls had dried up, so we decided to skip this place.

Catherine Falls – Pic Credit- Sandip Bhattacharya from Wikimedia Commons

6. Pasteur Institute

Explore the serene surroundings of the Pasteur Institute, known for its beautiful gardens and peaceful ambiance. The institute is one a kind that specializes in research and production of anti rabies vaccine. Though the place does not appear in the list of usual tourist attractions, it’s a great place to enjoy a leisurely walk and connect with nature.

Where to eat in Coonoor?

Your trip to Coonoor will not be complete without tasting the heavenly cakes and bakery delights. Dig in at the cozy cafes and bakeries on Sim’s Park Road. We treated our taste buds to moist banana cake and aromatic ghee cake in Cake World, a spacious cafe on Sim’s Park Road. Needless to mention, the place was super pocket friendly. Authentic Tamil food options are also available at a number of restaurants near Coonoor Bus Stop. A full course lunch thali costed us only Rs 130. Overall, the food in Coonoor is quite cost-effective.

Economical lunch thaali in Coonoor

A handful of microbreweries serving craft beers will also delight you. Enjoy a laid-back evening at Brewberry’s, known for its beers and a menu that complements the brews perfectly. The outdoor seating area adds to the charm, creating a relaxed atmosphere.

Accommodation options in Coonoor

Coonoor offers a range of accommodations to suit different budgets. From luxurious resorts to budget hotels and homestays, there is one for every traveler. Here are some options:

Budget stays:
  • Orchid Square Boutique Hotel
  • The Tryst
  • Hotel Vivek (We stayed here, but we do not recommend this hotel. The property looks nice, is huge and has great food too. However, the rooms are congested, dim lit, rooms have no closet, bathrooms do not have geyser hence hot water is available at fixed time, besides many more reasons to avoid this hotel)
  • MGM Hill Worth Resorts
  • Kurumba Village Resort
  • Sunvalley Homestay


  • Taj Gateway Hotel
  • The Gateway Hotel Church Road
  • Kurumba Village Resort

How many days are enough in Coonoor?

While the exact duration depends on personal preferences and the pace at which you want to explore, a 3 to 4-day trip is generally sufficient to cover the major attractions and soak in the serene ambiance of Coonoor. Hence, this allows for a relaxed itinerary, ensuring you have ample time to explore the town at your own pace. Having said that, you can never get enough of this pretty hill town and the limited number of days might not be enough.

Coonoor in a nutshell

Coonoor, with its captivating landscapes, diverse culinary experiences, and a blend of tranquility, is a destination that promises a rejuvenating getaway. Whether you’re an adventure seeker or someone seeking solace in nature, Coonoor welcomes you with open arms. We hope our tips help you plan your trip well as you immerse yourself in the beauty of this quaint hill station.

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