Two days is just a tease in Orange – but you can still uncover some of its best wineries, accommodation and top-notch restaurants.
What to do on Friday evening
Check into The Byng Street Boutique Hotel, a stylish Federation-era manor that dates back to the 1890s and has been converted into a gorgeous home-away-from-home, right in the heart of Orange. The lobby welcomes guests with a fireplace and vast windows that frame a century-old beech tree in the courtyard. While there are three luxurious lodgings in the heritage wing, modern suites in the new section feel more spacious.
After unpacking, make your way to Charred Kitchen & Bar on New Street, a five-minute drive away, for fine dining in a relaxed setting. Head chef Liam O’Brien’s four-course set menu is based on local produce and may feature spanner crab rich with butter one day and spice-rubbed cauliflower with chickpea purée the next.
What to do on Saturday
Chase your morning coffee with a bacon and egg roll with housemade tomato relish at Groundstone. The bright Scandi-chic café is located on Byng Street, right next to Orange Regional Museum – don’t miss its long-term exhibition, Inherit: Old and New Histories, which tells lesser-known stories of the Central West region. Afterwards, spend the rest of the day exploring some of the area’s cellar doors. If you don’t have a designated driver, call Orange Wine Tours, which offers private excursions.
A great place to start is family-owned Printhie Wines. With a cellar door in Nashdale, 10 minutes west of Orange, it’s renowned for méthode traditionnelle sparklings. Be sure to visit carbon-neutral winery and vineyard Ross Hill Wines, where you can compare cool-climate chardonnays and have a casual lunch of goat’s cheese tart with Waldorf salad or chicken tagine with couscous.
Philip Shaw is the winemaker largely responsible for putting Orange’s wine scene on the map in the early 2000s. You could visit Philip Shaw Winery, now managed by his sons, but to meet the man himself, go to Hoosegg, Shaw’s winery and cellar door that looks to Mount Canobolas. The 2016 Double Happy Cabernet Sauvignon is the top pick.
Family-owned and run, Nashdale Lane Wines focuses on sustainable wine making. Visit the cellar door to learn more about their cool climate wines before enjoying an alfresco wine flight as the sun sets over the vineyard. If you're already planning your next trip to Orange – you can also glamp amongst the vines at Nashdale Lane Wines.
If boutique gin is more your thing, Parrot Distilling Co has your name written all over it. Purists will love Dry Gin made using 17 botanicals, while the adventurous should try Oriental Gin, which has a hint of chilli.
The sleepy town of Milthorpe is a 20-minute drive south but the five-course set menu at elegant fine-diner Tonic is worth it. Chef/owner Tony Worland, who’s worked with celebrity chefs like Gordon Ramsay, is famed for transforming simple produce into exceptional courses. Expect everything from baked quail with Jerusalem artichoke to lamb loin with chickpea and eggplant on the ever-changing menu.
What to do on Sunday
Gruyère soufflé with thyme cream and slow-braised lamb ragout with crisp kale aren’t your typical brunch fare. But you can order both at Byng Street Local Store – grab a spot on the verandah and sip an AllPress flat white or continue the previous day’s excess with a glass of rosé.
For a sweet finish, drop in at Spilt Milk Bar for cow-to-cone (made with local ingredients) gelatos and sorbets. The flavours range from the classic, such as chocolate and lemon, to the unconventional, like blue cheese and honey gelato using cheese from the region. Happily, there’s no limit on taste tests.
Image credits: Steve Popovich, Pablo Veiga