Weekender's guide to Orange, NSW

May 18, 2019 / By Ailsa Kemp

Getaway to Orange?
Distance from Sydney: 3.5 hours' drive
Population: Approximately 40,000
Known for: Wineries, botanic gardens and country getaways.
Information Centre: Byng Street, Orange
Traditional owners: the Wiradjuri people

It doesn't take long to understand how Orange got its name when you see the sun burn the landscape in the afternoons. Orange is a gorgeous town all-year round but especially picturesque in autumn when the trees begin to turn colour. While you're there, you can enjoy a country atmosphere along with some large town sophistication. Orange is also one of Australia's best wine regions, thanks to its soil being settled next to an extinct volcano, Mount Canobolas. 

Foodies flock to Orange every year in April for the F.O.O.D (Food of Orange District) Week, the nation's longest-running food festival. This showcases the best produce and cool climate wines that the region has to offer. Beyond that, it also gets the community heavily involved with many local restaurants, chefs and cooks participating to entertain and delight travellers. Want to focus more on wines? Make sure you put the Orange Wine Festival in your October diary. It runs over two weeks and brings together the local vineyards, many of whom have won international recognition. 

If you miss these festivals, there are still plenty of other reasons for you to travel to Orange. Many tours run throughout the year to show off the area's numerous wineries and you can learn what it takes to master cool climate vintages. There are great local restaurants and regular markets on the weekends, selling everything from fruits and vegetables to handmade crafts and souvenirs.

Orange also has some of the prettiest parks around, with nature being a huge theme to the city. Cook Park is a breathtaking park right in the centre of town and is home to hothouses, aviaries, playgrounds and historic trees dating back to the 1800s, the perfect place to lose a few hours in the afternoon. The Orange Botanic Gardens is another excellent choice where you can explore its peaceful pathways that intersect with modern sculptures. Kids will get a kick out of the Orange Adventure Playground, an immersive timber built extravaganza that includes slides, swings, tunnels, sway bridges and even large chess boards.

If you feel like taking a walk, you can explore the park around Mount Canobolas. The trail is known for birdwatching, bushwalking and pretty picnic areas that make it a worthwhile car trip from the city. Also a short drive from Orange is Ophir, an important site where Australia's gold panning history was formed. With a pan, a steady hand and a dose of luck, you could still find some specs of gold floating in its fields. 

One visit won't be enough to explore all of Orange's secrets and you'll definitely want to venture back again. 

We think you should know: The Weekender's travel guides are independently written by real travellers. We do not receive any money from, or have a sponsorship arrangement with, any of the entities listed in, or referred to in this article.

So much more to explore - Orange & surrounds