Orange, NSW is a place well-known to foodies and wine aficionados, but one many of us are still discovering. Only four hours from Sydney, Orange is the perfect weekend getaway with plenty happening all the time. Here’s our Essential Guide to Orange, NSW.
With incredible fresh produce and the fact that it’s the only wine region in Australia defined by altitude, Orange a unique gastronomic destination.
Surrounding the town, the rolling hills and crumbling cake of Mount Canobolas show off this cool-climate high-altitude appellation.
Hiding amongst the landscape pretty wineries offer tastings or even extravagant romantic picnics like this one at Heifer Station Winery. And fascinating restaurants like the Old Convent or the ever-Instagrammable Agrestic Grocer tempt us away to the outskirts of town.
Meanwhile in Orange itself there are more cafes, restaurants, pubs and bars than you’d think possible or likely for a country town this size. It just shows how excited the locals are about good food and drink.
To put all this together, here’s our Essential Guide for Orange, NSW.
Wineries to visit in Orange:
Book a tasting with Steve and Rhonda Doyle for a wine experience you’re not likely to forget. And if you ask nicely, they’ll take you on a quick tour too. Our top tip is the Cabernet Franc/Malbec and their sparkling.
De Salis was recommended to us by a local, who was adamant it was the best. I don’t know about that, but this one’s worthy of any itinerary.
Heifer Station, set on an old cattle farm, is absolutely stunning. Their Chardonnay is excellent as is their Merlot, but taking a bottle with you to your private picnic amongst the vines is one of the most magical experiences Orange has to offer.
Check out our video of our Heifer Station picnic here.
With incredible views of Mount Canobolas through the cellar door windows, this pretty winery really gives you all of Orange. Their experimental range – especially the cloudy #003 ‘Amber’ Rosé – is brilliant.
We were worried that Brangayne – named after a Wagner opera – might be a bit pretentious, but we were very wrong. Down-to-earth folk with beautiful honest Orange wine set amidst the rolling vines of the vineyard. Perfect.
High on the hill overlooking the vines, Stockman’s Ridge is a beautiful winery that’s crafted some exquisite wines. And if you get the chance, say hello to our little mate Peanut, the cellar door Dachshund!
This is one of the big name wineries of Orange. The cellar door is nice – especially as you can have a seat while you taste the wines. We indulged in a bottle of the excellently named Idiot Shiraz.
Set amidst a beautifully landscaped garden overlooking much of the region, Patina is owned by the wonderfully friendly Gerald and Anji Naef. Their Reserve Chardonnay and monster Cabernet Merlot – The Jezza – are to die for.
A pretty winery in a beautiful part of the Orange countryside, Printhie’s sparkling wine is an award-winner and their MCC Shiraz is a keeper. Here’s our review of Printhie.
Positioned right within the vines, this farmhouse cellar door and its owners Kathy and Richard Thomas make for a very welcoming wine experience. Their Riesling and Cabernet is superb.
Owners Bill and Jane Shrapnel have built their wine empire at one of the highest points of the Orange appellation, and their bright breezy Sauvignon Blanc is testament to the cool temps up there.
You can check out our winery recommendations here or even book a winery tour of Orange here, where a guide will take you to some of the best local secrets.
Where to eat in Orange:
Union Bank wine bar & restaurant is a real institution and has a very nice courtyard. The wine list here is expansive, though only features wines from Orange and around New South Wales. Here’s our review on the Union Bank wine bar.
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 with other great pub classics available too.
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.
We were very impressed with the breakfast offerings of Groundstone Cafe, on the grounds of the art gallery. Definitely come here if you’re hungry!
For one of the best dinners in Orange, try Charred Kitchen and Bar. Not only does it have dedicated vegetarian, pescatarian and vegan menus, the wine list here is off the charts. If you’re feeling carnivorous, the coal-cooked steak is remarkable. And remember to leave room for dessert!
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 Sunday brunch here. You can also stay at the Old Convent, which leads us on to the next section…
Where to stay in Orange:
Cottage 79 is a great option if you want your own little house right in the centre of town. This charming little 1880s cottage is perfect for a romantic getaway without being too far from all the town’s action.
De Russie Suites offers high quality hotel-style accommodation that seems rare in Orange. There are plenty of B&Bs and motel options but no chain hotels.
Central Caleula Lodge is a motel that’s been well renovated and has a good bar and kitchen attached… but is still a motel at the end of it. Comfortable, convenient, clean and secure, it ticks all the most important boxes.
Events in Orange:
Orange Food Week – aka Orange F.O.O.D. (Food of Orange District) Week – is an annual week-long festival that brings the best eats to the party.
The festival showcases some of the incredible local produce Orange and its denizens have to offer. Book early as it’s a popular time to visit.
Orange Wine Festival should be a major date for your event calendar and usually runs around October each year. You can read about what we got up to at the Wine Festival here or – even better – watch our video of Orange Wine Festival here:
Also 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!
Also, the Banjo Patterson Festival runs for 10 days in February each year celebrating the life and works of the great Australian bush poet.
What are your best tips for a trip to Orange? Tell us in the comments!
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