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Step back in time: The Orange Region

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While mini-breaks in the country were just a wistful memory a few weeks ago, restrictions have now eased to allow Canberrans to travel freely for leisure purposes across NSW.

And a mini-break to the Orange region (just two hours from Canberra) is just the pick-me-up you need. Luckily, we’ve got your ultimate guide for what to eat and drink and where to shop and stay.

Just keep in mind that some businesses may have limited hours or capacity due to COVID. Best to check a venue’s social media channels before booking, or call ahead.

Eat

The Union Bank Schoolhouse Restaurant.

Exquisite food, award-winning wines and trendy cafes—you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to eating in this pristine part of New South Wales. Here are just a few to choose from.

Tonic

Located in the beautiful historic town of Millthorpe, just a 20-minute drive from Orange, this elegant restaurant has reaped several SMH chef’s hats over the years. Serving a contemporary seasonal menu that utilises incredible local produce, it’s worth the short trip.

Corner of Pym and Victoria Streets, Millthorpe

tonicmillthorpe.com.au

Groundstone

A simple yet delicious menu, these guys take pride in sourcing quality produce that is local wherever possible. Light and airy with a Scandinavian vibe, it’s the perfect spot to sit and mingle over brunch and a cup of coffee on a sunny morning.

151a Byng Street, Orange

groundstone.com.au

The Union Bank Schoolhouse Restaurant

Housed in a State Heritage-listed building, The Union Bank delights people of all ages with food and wine experiences that pay homage to its fascinating history. Experience delicious local, seasonal cuisine and the attentiveness of a team thriving under the guidance of Rockpool-trained Head Chef, Dom Aboud.

84 Byng Street, Orange

theunionbank.com.au

Tonic.

Byng Street Local Store

Established in 2011, the café with the red door is a local favourite. Serving amazing food, coffee and local wine—not to mention service with a smile.

47 Byng Street, Orange

byngstreet.com.au

Raku Izakaya

Modern Japanese Cuisine in the main street of Orange. Although only recently established, it has quickly developed a reputation for brilliant food in a captivating space.

129 Summer Street, Orange

rakuizakaya.com.au

Sweet Sour Salt

Fun casual dining, great service, funky interiors, and local vino and brew. Expect sweet sour salty (and spice) in punchy Asian dishes with a modern twist.

179 Anson Street, Orange

sweetsoursalt.com.au

Sweet Sour Salt.

And then there’s…

Still hungry? Pull up a chair at one of these much-loved local hotspots: Omar Specialty Coffee Bar, Bills Beans East Orange, Racine, Lolli Redini Restaurant, The Sugar Mill Cafe, The Agrestic Grocer and Millthorpe Providore.

Drink

Borrodell Winery.

Because who doesn’t love a good pint or cocktail every once in a while?

Washington & Co.

Raise your glass to this one. Amazing atmosphere, top-notch staff and hard liquor… What more does one want?

This Whiskey saloon is like stepping back an era—not only does it serve up a good time but inventive cocktails, too.

243 Summer Street, Orange

facebook.com/washingtonandco

The Union Bank Schoolhouse Bar.

The Greenhouse Of Orange

This relaxing yet energetic rooftop live music destination is perfect for an afternoon beverage while you watch the world go by. You may even decide to stay and see what the nightlife has to offer—Saturday nights see resident DJs playing cool, chilled beats.

44 Sale Street, Orange

thegreenhouseoforange.com.au

Ferment, The Orange Wine Centre

With state-of-the-art Enomatic wine dispensers and a contemporary European interior that contrasts the charming, heritage listed facade, enjoy a pre-dinner drink at Ferment, a wine store and tasting room specialising in local wines, spirits and craft beers.

87 Hill Street, Orange

orangewinecentre.com.au

Ferment.

Wineries

The Orange region produces some cracking cool-climate wines across 80+ vineyards and there are more than 30 cellar doors to taste.

Be sure to visit Colmar Estate, the region’s most awarded winery, specialising in varieties from the Alsace region of France; Borrodell Vineyard Estate, for sweeping views of their Pinot Noir block and some tasty drops; and Swinging Bridge Estate, producing exceptional handcrafted cool climate wines.

Colmar Estate.

Heifer Station’s cellar door—set in a stunning old woolshed—is also worth a look. Sit back and relax with a wine in hand, enjoy a picnic package, or hire a bike and ride around the vineyard enjoying stunning views.

colmarestate.com.au

swingingbridge.com.au

borrodell.com.au

heiferstation.com

Swinging Bridge Wine.

Wine Tours

Prefer to let someone else do the driving? A range of local tour companies with brilliant local knowledge cater for groups of different sizes—we highly recommend Winery Experiences Orange. It’s a great way to get the most out of your tasting experience without the worry of needing a deso!

orange360.com.au/Wineries

Play

Carcoar River.

From pristine natural spaces to fascinating museums and galleries, there’s plenty to explore in the Orange region.

Picnic by the River

Pack a hamper or order a grazing box from The Village Grocer and enjoy a picnic under the beautiful old shady trees on the banks of the Belubula in Carcoar.

carcoar.com.au/eat/the-village-grocer

Nature Walking Tracks

The Orange district is flattered with incredible landscapes and views—serene waterways, unique rock formations and beautiful native flora and fauna. There is no shortage of walking tracks—try Federal Falls Walk, Gosling Creek Reserve, Lake Canobolas Reserve and Borenore Caves for starters.

orange360.com.au

Museums

The region’s rich history makes for some cool and interesting museums. Take a journey through time at Carcoar’s Stoke Stable Museum, Toy Museum and Hospital Museum; Millthorpe’s volunteer-run Golden Memories Museum and the Regional Museum of Orange.

orange360.com.au

Cook Park

A National Trust area, this tranquil space named after Captain James Cook embodies the seasonal colours of Orange all year round. Initially designed in 1873, much of its traditional Victorian Style is still in place.

With duck ponds, swings, an aviary and lattice fernery this park is a beautiful place to while away the time.

24-46 Summer Street, Orange

orange.nsw.gov.au/parks-reserves/cook-park

The Corner Store Gallery

A vibrant and artistic hub in East Orange, this small artist-run business showcases artists and designers from all across the country in a range of creative mediums. The gallery not only holds monthly exhibitions but also workshops for you to get your creative on.

382 Summer Street, Orange

cornerstoregallery.com

Stay

Byng Street Boutique Hotel.

From townhouses to cottages and boutique hotels, the Orange region boasts accommodation for all tastes and budgets.

You’re sure to find somewhere perfect to call your (temporary) home.

Glamping at Nashdale Lane Wines

Spend a luxurious night (or two) nestled amongst a stunning vineyard while you enjoy a glass of local wine and gaze upon the beautiful night sky. The perfect balance between luxury and nature.

125 Nashdale Lane, Nashdale

nashdalelane.com/pages/glamping

The Byng Street Boutique Hotel

A unique accommodation experience in the heart of Orange, this premium boutique hotel is the perfect combination of heritage meets modern.  With 22 guest rooms and suites choose from the contemporary Modern Wing or historic Heritage Wing—both of which are just delightful. Decisions, decisions…

62 Byng Street, Orange

byngstreethotel.com.au

For 2

Situated in a quaint back garden in the heart of Millthorpe, For 2 is lauded for its attention to detail and cosy atmosphere. This little studio accommodates up to two couples and is the ideal country getaway.

airbnb.com.au

The Cottage at The Old Convent

The Cottage at The Old Convent is a heritage-listed building that was once home to Australia’s only saint, Mary McKillop. While historic and quaint, it has been comfortably fitted out with luxuries that a nun could only dream of, including lush beds, a fully equipped kitchen, deep bath, king-sized bed and double bed.

307 Convent Lane, Borenore

oldconvent.com.au

Rowlee Single Vineyard Wines

As well as being home to beautiful single vineyard wines, Rowlee has its own private, luxury guesthouse set within the estate. A beautifully restored and styled cottage perfect for couples.

The guesthouse includes a master bedroom with luxurious king size bed, a freestanding stone bathtub and walk in shower, a private verandah that opens up with views across the garden all complete with log burner and a fully equipped kitchen.

19 Lake Canobolas Road, Orange

rowleewines.com.au

And then there’s…

Some more places to rest your head on a pillow around the area include: De Russie Boutique Hotel, Rosebank, The Black Sheep Inn, The White Place Home, Byng Street Cottage.

Shop

Tomolly.

Discover just how good retail therapy can be. Boutique shopping in and around Orange is a must-do.

The Sonic

Located in an 1864 Masonic Hall, this space in the heart of Orange is home to three outstanding businesses—JUMBLED, Iglou and Nimrods. Bright, colourful and fun, this concept store truly is something else.

With coffee, fashion and home, you’re bound to lose track of time here.

33-35 Sale Street, Orange

thesonic.myshopify.com

The Sonic.

The Bower Millthorpe

One of the sweetest finds in Millthorpe, The Bower is a quaint shed tucked up the end of a driveway, full to the brim with a beautifully-curated collection of antiques and time-honoured objects.

This little treasure is an old wares lovers delight.

15 Victoria Street, Millthorpe

instagram.com/thebowermillthorpe

The Bower.

Tomolly

Take the 40-minute drive to the town time forgot, Carcoar. Wander around the historic village and call in to see Belinda the Shopkeeper at Tomolly—an intricately-styled store that houses a delightful range of homewares. Be sure to check out the workshops in the lovely creative space next door.

Belubula Street, Carcoar

tomolly.com.au

Tomolly.

Orange Farmers Market

Held on the second Saturday of every month, the Orange Farmers Market began in 2002 to give local farmers and food producers an opportunity to sell their goods directly.

The market now has over 60 stallholders—all of who which love a chat and deliver your goods with a smile. A beautiful atmosphere and a wonderful way to spend your Saturday morning.

orangefarmersmarket.org.au 

The Providore Millthorpe

Housed in the old butcher’s building in Millthorpe, The Providore offers more than just good coffee. You’ll also be able to fill a basket with a range of unique cheese, dips, olives, charcuterie and smallgoods.

Stop in for breakfast, morning tea, lunch or afternoon tea and try out the seasonal menu. Or pre-order a gourmet food-filled picnic basket if you fancy soaking up some of the beautiful outdoor spaces.

25 Victoria Street, Millthorpe

instagram.com/millthorpeprovidore

The Providore.

The Collective

This space is just sensational—filled with everything from coffee to fashion to flowers.  Housing the Good Eddy, Belle Armoire and Botanica Flora, get a taste of Melbourne in downtown Orange.

187 Lords Place, Orange

goodeddy.com.au

bellearmoire.com.au

botanicaflora.com.au

More retail therapy

Borrodell Wines.

Still want more? Take yourself and your credit card to Mary and Tex Curious Emporium, The White Place, Millthorpe Blue and Hawkes General Store.

PHOTOGRAPHY Tim Bean

This article originally appeared in Magazine: Time (AW2020), available to read free online.

Read it here.

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