Orange, New South Wales is one of those unsung places where the foodies’ thumb tacks are just now starting to appear on its maps.
It’s surprising it hasn’t happened sooner really.
Under four hours’ drive north-west out of Sydney, this little town is producing some unbelievable cold-climate wine and delicious food to go with it.
Because of this, it’s quickly becoming a top spot for Sydneysiders and interstate travellers to visit for weekends and weeks alike. The wineries are more spread out than other areas of Australia (yes, I’m looking at you Hunter Valley, Barossa, Swan Valley) but there are wine tour options available. These tours are great and some even offer a picnic lunch option too.
If – like me – you don’t fancy picnics, there are other eating options open to you. By the ladleful!
Thanks to our friends Pete and Rickie, who helped us discover the region, here are Mr and Mrs Romance’s top tips for Orange.
Wineries to visit in Orange:
Bloodwood Wines make a fantastic riesling and the cellar door is only 10 minutes out of town. Plan ahead for this wine experience. Have a seat at a table and have the opportunity to taste the full range of Bloodwood Wines. You need to book but it’s free!
Printhie Swift Winery have some excellent wines available – their sparkling wine is an award-winner and their MCC Shiraz is a keeper! Here’s our review of Printhie and we recommend packing a lunch to eat at their outdoor tables.
De Salis Wines is a small family-owned winery that was recommended to us by a local Orangeman (that doesn’t sound right, does it?), who was adamant it was the best. De Salis cellar door is open daily and has fantastic views as it sits on the side of Mt Canobolas. Their deck is another great spot for a picnic lunch.
Philip Shaw Winery is one of the big name wineries of Orange. The cellar door is a relaxed experience. Just choose a table or sofa and relax while you taste the wines. They kindly offered us a small snack of cheese and biccies to keep us going/cleanse our palettes. We couldn’t help but take home a bottle of the Idiot Shiraz and their ‘Characters’ range is great value.
Where to eat in Orange:
Union Bank wine bar & restaurant has recently been renovated, and has an open-air courtyard and cosy couches inside. The wine list here is expansive, with over 140 wines from Orange, across New South Wales and international vineyards. Check out our full review of the Union Bank.
Lolli Redini is a fine dining restaurant just two doors up from the Union Bank wine bar. This one-hatted restaurant is often rated as the best in town by locals and visitors alike.
If you’re after a steak, they’re good anywhere you go in Orange, but at Hotel Canobolas the steaks are especially good.
Fiorini’s is a great Italian place just out of town. From what we could gather, it’s run by two or three Italian women whose husbands work in the area. They’re food is authentically Italian and you can check out our full review of Fiorini’s here.
Racine restaurant & its bakery are a must-visit. The restaurant does 3- 5- or 7-course meals with matching wines. The bakery boasts the best sausage rolls in the land. Their selection of cakes, pies, bread and snacks will make you want to live in the shop.
The Old Convent is a remarkable place. Far from being the abode of nuns, this old settlement sits in the hills outside Orange and is only open for breakfast/brunch/lunch on Sundays.
The menu at the Old Convent is whatever they’ve decided to cook that Sunday, but don’t worry, you will not be disappointed, believe me! Check out our full review of the Old Convent brunch here. You can also stay at the Old Convent, which leads us on to the next section…
Where to stay in Orange:
Without a doubt, the most highly recommended accommodation is the De Russie Suites.
We’ve also stayed in Cottage 79, a beautiful house in the middle of town that’s homely yet spacious and even has a beautiful garden where you can relax.
Events in Orange:
Try and time your visit to coincide with the Orange Farmers’ Market. The markets are on the second Saturday of the month. There are two possible venues. Northcourt, behind the Orange Art Gallery and the library, on the corner of March & Peisley Streets if it’s dry.
If it’s raining, the markets will be in Orange Showground Agricultural Pavilion on Leeds Parade. If you’re at the markets, make sure you have a Trunky Creek bacon roll. Best you’ll have!
Orange Food Week this year is on 4-13 April but it doesn’t mean you’ll be eating nothing but carrots and pumpkin all week.
Orange F.O.O.D. (Food of Orange District) Week is an annual week-long festival that brings the best eats to the party, showcasing some of the incredible local produce Orange and its denizens have to offer. Book early as it’s a popular time to visit.
The inaugural Orange Apple Festival will be held over a weekend in May this year with many restaurants offering signature apple dishes.
What are your best tips for a trip to Orange? Tell us in the comments!