Orange is the new… weekend getaway! If you’ve never been to this country town in the NSW Central West Tablelands, pack your overnight bag, your winter coat and some gumboots and hop in the car pronto. The colder months are actually the ideal time to explore the area in all its glory.
Just a three hour drive west of Sydney, Orange is a world away from those little things about the rat race we hate (traffic, posers, parking meters, traffic, the office, traffic) but still has the perks of big city living (shops, good coffee, amazing food and wine).
Empty wide streets, white picket fences, autumn leaves and crisp fresh air are some of the best first impressions of this picturesque part of the world.
This time of year, the skies are bright blue, the sun is out and there’s just enough chill to justify a scarf and your new winter coat. It’s an even better time of year to visit because F.O.O.D (Food Of Orange District) Week is rolling into town.
The annual 10 day festival begins on April 10 and is a celebration of local food and wine, with more than 80 events on around town and the neighbouring vineyards, farms and cellar doors. Degustations, workshops, tasting plates and roaming lunches (you’re literally roaming, right through the vineyards for Forage, the always sold-out long tasting lunch). Check it out at http://www.orangefoodweek.com.au/
If you’re in town on the weekend, make sure you check if the monthly Farmers Markets are on. The Trunky Creek Bacon and Egg stand is the spot to start your visit but bring a shopping bag to stock up on everything from freshly baked bread, free range eggs and homemade relish to salad dressings, macarons and elderflower cordial.
Get your caffeine fix at one of the cute cafes in town – the owners of Bills Beans roastery run Factory Espresso and keep the pastry counter stocked with MasterChef winner Kate Bracks’ towering lemon meringue pies and cakes. Byng St Local Store is another popular local watering hole and out-of-towners love the Paleo eggs.
The local chefs have carved out a reputation for fresh, modern dishes that showcase the best of the region’s local produce. Sampling a duck terrine at Lolli Redini or seared Mandagery Creek venison at Racine Restaurant is really like sightseeing… and a visit out to the cellar doors of Philip Shaw, Ross Hill, Printhie and Borodell winery are just extra research.
If you’re after a good old fashioned pub meal, there’s plenty of local watering holes around town. Hotel Canobolas has a brand new whiskey bar upstairs and is great if you want to settle at just one spot for the night. The historic Hotel Canobolas dates back to 1939 but is fresh from an extensive renovation – the brand new, top floor Chesterfields Whiskey and Wine Bar stocks local wines along with 60 different types of whiskey.
End the night in one of the chic suites at de Russie – the four poster bed in the Blue Room is definitely our pick.
Thinking of making the trip to Orange? We thought you might. Find out more at www.visitnsw.com