A weekend away in Orange, NSW

With regional travel back on the agenda this December in NSW, it’s time to head inland where the activities are plentiful and a weekend festival will reignite your soul.

Cool-climate dining in Orange, NSW. Photo: Rowlee Wines

Skip the summer heatwaves and opt for a weekend jaunt to the high-altitude Orange region, a cool alternative to over-crowded coastal towns. Less than four hours’ drive west of Sydney through the picturesque Blue Mountains, this regional city is brimming with hatted restaurants, vineyards and lush walking trails. Here’s what you can enjoy, savour and discover on your next weekend getaway.

Cool-climate wineries

The drawcard of Orange is its impressive array of local boutique wineries, from Nashdale Lane to Ross Hill and Swinging bridge, to special gems like Word of Mouth and Brangayne. The town’s altitude combined with its continental location creates the perfect conditions to produce flavoursome cool-climate wines. Visit a vineyard and sip glasses of delicate chardonnay and sauvignon blanc, or fine-boned, fruit-driven shiraz and pinot noir. Red, white, bubbles or whatever your preference, each is a top drop.

Celebrate Orange360 festival

Plan your visit around Celebrate Orange360 (9-12 December), a spectacular four-day festival to mark the reopening of regional travel. The summer festival will feature ticketed performances, late-night shopping, Carols by Candlelight, a sparkling lunch and a Christmas artisan market. For the tipple lovers, add signature events such as a night market and the Wine Show Public Tasting to your itinerary.

The great outdoors

Discover the undulating landscape and dramatic views across the Orange region, in Wiradjuri traditional country, on foot or by bicycle. Kickstart the morning with an invigorating mountain hike up Mount Canobolas and cool off midday at a hidden swimming hole. The foot of the mountain is a picturesque picnic spot to while away the day by swimming, canoeing or – for the more adventurous – sailing. Here, languid afternoons give way to balmy evenings and cicada harmonies.

Best-in-class dining

The region isn’t dubbed ‘Australia’s food basket’ for no reason. The local gastronomic scene features the best of both worlds, offering visitors the chance to sample local flavours at farmers’ markets and farmgates, or indulge in one of the several hatted restaurants dotted throughout the region – from Charred Kitchen & Bar to Lolli Redini. A slew of restaurants abide by a paddock-to-plate philosophy to highlight the best seasonal produce in innovative ways – whether it be shared plates in an intimate bar, or honest country cooking in a classic heritage homestead.

Venture to vintage villages

What sets Orange apart from other holiday destinations is the abundance of vintage villages scattered across the countryside, each with their own character and culture. You’ll uncover everything from local galleries and vintage and antique dealers to rustic cellar doors and meandering country lanes. For an unforgettable experience, go hot air ballooning in Canowindra or berry picking at an orchard farmgate in Nashdale.

Celebrate Orange360 between 9-12 December.

Brought to you by Orange 360.

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