Orange, New South Wales
Visited by Caroline Wilkinson in August, 2020
Who says the current travel restrictions mean we can’t keep exploring? Not us.. Orange is a great base for a few days escape from Sydney. It’s just a short 3 1/2 hour drive and is now regarded as one of Australia’s most prominent and sophisticated food and wine destinations. Visit in winter and you might just be treated to a dusting of snow too!
Leaving Sydney, you can take either the Great Western Highway over the Blue Mountains, or the Bells Line of Road via Kurrajong and Bilpin. Taking the Bells Line, sadly is a reminder of the summer bush fires which are still clearly evident. Although rejuvenation has started, there is a long way to go yet.
Where to stop on the way?
Between Bathurst and Orange, there are two country towns that are well worth a visit. The first is National Trust listed Carcoar. First settled in 1821 it’s been dubbed “the town time forgot” and is a true historic gem. The setting is magic on the banks of the Belubula River with rolling hills all around. Stop here for a stroll around town, a lazy lunch in the well regarded Italian restaurant and to pick up some homewares at the gorgeous store in town. Shhhhh.. don’t tell anyone..
The other lovely town is Millthorpe, another picturesque National Trust classified town with charming heritage buildings, as well as one of the best restaurants in the district, Tonic. You’ll need to book well in advance here, especially if visiting over the weekend..
Orange is a great base from which to explore the region. Wineries, boutiques, galleries, cafes and great dining can be found and a couple of days is perfect to explore everything on offer.
Orange is located at quite a high altitude contributing to its’ highly regarded cool climate wines (and the fact you may get snow when visiting in winter). If you’re a wine lover, no trip to Orange would be complete without indulging in some wine tasting. There are over 35 cellar doors in the region to choose from and with Covid restrictions in place it is essential that you book beforehand as capacity is greatly reduced right now. Some wineries also have restaurants – like Borrodell’s Sisters Rock, so it’s possible to combine your visit with lunch or dinner.
Don’t forget to also visit Fermet, a bar and cellar door in town that showcases small regional wineries. Some are lesser known and don’t have their own cellar door.
Where to stay?
And when you visit, you’ll need somewhere fabulous to stay. For us it was the Byng Street Boutique Hotel located just a short stroll from town. This hotel only opened in 2019 and has just 22 rooms (including 3 gorgeous suites in the old building). Beautifully restored and with a modern extension to the rear that houses the rest of the accommodation, it’s warm and friendly and oozes contemporary style. It really seems to be the most hotly desired accommodation in Orange right now.
Orange is a prosperous rural centre and after you’ve finished at the wineries there are some wonderful shops, galleries and boutiques to explore. One of my favourites and the first stop strolling into town along Byng Street, is The White Place. It’s a gorgeous store filled with furniture, homewares, beautiful bed linens and more displayed through its’ many rooms.
Talk to us
Ask us about custom designing an itinerary especially for you. Let us know your interests and we’ll use our local knowledge and expertise to ensure that you experience the best of the Orange district.