A mere four hour drive West of Sydney you’ll find one of NSW’s best food and wine experiences. Orange is one of the friendliest thriving regional cities in Australia. Whether you’re visiting during wine harvest, or in town for a cosy winter experience, each season brings a new delight. Orange has quickly become famous for its extensive food and wine scene, trendy cafes and bars. However, there are many more things to do in Orange than what meets the eye. So what are you waiting for?
Getting to Orange is easy! You can drive, take a train or fly to the small town airport. We decided to drive in order to have freedom over the weekend. There’s nothing I enjoy more than a weekend roadtrip from Sydney. Witness the passing suburbia as you travel up through the mountains where the fabulous scenery turns into winding roads, tall trees and colourful views. There are plenty of places to stop along the way: Katoomba, Blackheath and Bathurst.
Where to stay:
We had the pleasure of staying with Quest Orange in their luxurious apartments located on Kite street in the heart of Orange. Quest Orange is within walking distance of the CBD, Orange train station and bars/restaurants. We felt right at home in our one bedroom apartment with plenty of space to move about, a seperate bedroom with a king sized bed, TV and a wardrobe. The relaxed and beautifully furnished living area provided privacy and comfort. A spacious work area was provided, meeting the needs for business travellers as well as tourists. The bathroom offered full laundry facilities with a washing machine and dryer, whilst the kitchen was fully equipped with a hob, an oven and a full sized fridge and freezer.
Quest apartments also feature a communal rooftop area, perfect for BBQ’s and a fully functioning gym for you gym bunnies. What more could you ask for? One of the things I loved most about Quest Orange Apartments is that they support local. The tea provided was from remymax.com.au, a local brand and our breakfast hamper featured local produce from the Orange region aswell. They even went as far as providing an extensive pillow menu to cater for a good nights sleep.
I could not recommend Quest Orange and Quest Apartments enough. The staff were warm and friendly, they went above and beyond to make our stay as comfortable as possible. If you are travelling to Orange in search of somewhere centrally located, affordable and luxurious, look no further than Quest Orange!
What to do:
Orange has a popular, growing wine industry with over 30 cellar doors in the area, making it a promising vacation! The wineries are however well spread out, making a car essential. Be it an Uber (which are few and far between) or a taxi, you will have to plan ahead.
The cool climate city is renowned for its vast array of Chardonnay, Shiraz and Sauvignon Blanc. All of the wineries offer different style tours with varying inclusions. We visited 3 wineries in total.
Nashdale Lane Wines: A proudly Australian family owned and operated business. They have built a winery that is shaped around ethical practices and respect for the land. Situated almost 900m above sea level, visitors can enjoy the refreshing mountain air. Positioned at the foot of Mount Canobolas with unobstructed views and a wood fire, you have everything you need to enjoy tasting varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Chardonnay and Shiraz. They also provide luxurious glamping amongst the vines for a fresh distinct getaway.
Printhie Wines: Printhie wines is another family owned vineyard with four different elevations in order to produce the finest fruit for their wines. Set next to their winery, printhie cellar door is a cosy space to relax and sample sparkling wines. The staff were super friendly and informative, educating us about their new topography range. Their sparkling wines picked up awards for the last two years in a row.
Heifer Station: Heifer station wines is a small family owned and operated single vineyard tasting room in one of oranges most picturesque areas. It’s located on the volcanic basalt slope of Mount Canabolas. We enjoyed a wine tasting in a 100 year old shearing shed. The woodshed is normally reserved for wine tastings only. They offer intimate vineyard tours for groups of 5 or 6. My favourite part of the station was the petting zoo. You can feed the chooks, pet the ponies and watch the pig bathe in mud and chase the chooks! This was without a doubt my favourite winery. It oozes authenticity with a fantastic selection of wines and hospitality to boot.
It is not all food and wine; there’s plenty of other things to do in Orange!
Lake Canobolas: Near the foot of Mt Canobolas lies a beautiful, tranquil lake which welcomes locals and visitors. It supports a range of activities throughout each season: dragon boating to cycling, swimming and triathlons.
Pinnacle Lookout: Take the Pinnacle walk all the way to the lookout for mesmerising views over the World Heritage listed area (Border Ranges National Park). A short walk providing spectacular 360 degree views all the way to the coastline. I only wish we got up to witness it at sunrise. The views from the top are quentessentially Orange, with its beautiful colours and vast vineyards. Beware, the climb does include steps, sturdy footwear is essential.
Millthorpe Village: Escape to the fantastic little village of Millthorpe, a 20 minute drive South East of Orange. Take a step back into the 1900’s with a contemporary edge. Browse the many boutiques and vintage collectables, follow one of the many village walks or visit the Golden Memories Millthorpe Museum.
Where to eat and drink:
Bring your appetite and be prepared to work up a thirst. A weekend in Orange is not complete without good food, fantastic wine and the great outdoors. Coffee addicts can be assured knowing that cafes and good coffee is somewhat of an obsession in Orange. There are plenty of cafes and coffee roasters to choose from: Bills Beans, Factory Espresso and Mad Hatter. Mad Hatter Drinks Lab was recommended by quite a few people. Is it a cafe? Is it a distillery? Is it a winery? Truth is, it is all of the above! The drinks lab has become one of the go to coffee spots for visitors and locals alike. It serves typical takeaway breakfast food from a funky, yet grungy industrial space. They also produce their own wines and pre mixed cocktails under the Mad Hatter Wine Co.
The Union Bank: has a great reputation as one of the regions highly sought after dining institutions. The Union Bank has an emphasis on showcasing everything wonderful about Orange by sourcing all ingredients locally. Championing local food produce and celebrating the cool climate wines of Orange, this wine bar restaurant should definitely be on the top of your list. We were adventurous and tried octopus for the first time. It was delicious.
Washington and Co. Whiskey Saloon: set in the middle of town along Summer street sits the popular Washing and Co. whiskey saloon. This cosy space is adorned with mounted deer heads, vintage artwork and dimmed lighting. We could have been in the heart of Surry Hills. The vibe energetic, the music electric and the cocktails 10/10. With the current covid-19 restrictions they’re only taking walk ins. Do yourself a favour and head down early!
Orange is a gorgeous getaway in the countryside surrounded by friendly people and clean fresh air. Discover award-winning restaurants, boutique shops, beautiful gardens and bustling markets, all set in the shadow of a striking ancient volcano. Go on, book your trip now, you won’t regret it!