Experience an idyllic weekend in Orange, embracing acclaimed wineries, Hatted restaurants and luxury accommodations.
When autumn rolls over to winter and the weather takes a cool turn, Sydneysiders say goodbye to days spent beachside eating fish and chips. Instead, we turn to our neighbouring wine regions for a dose of fresh country air and of course, vino.
Amongst our favourites is Orange, located about 3.5 hours out of Sydney taking you past the Blue Mountains and Bathurst. What we love about the small country town is its untouched nature, the cool climate that produces some of Australia’s best wines, and the calibre of dining options. We recently spend a weekend in Orange and we’re dropping the best places to eat, drink, play, and stay for your next winter getaway!
The Agrestic Grocer is a favourite amongst the locals. They offer a beautiful seasonal menu across breakfast & lunch showcasing local produce which has been handpicked by the chefs. From classics like bruschetta and smashed avocado to eggplant parmi and a ploughman’s board, everything on the plate speaks to the quality of produce found in the area, providing a wholesome and nourishing dining experience. As well as being a cafe, it’s a cellar door where you can enjoy beer and cheese tastings, and occasionally live music. Plus, the gourmet grocer section stocks all the best local cheeses, jams, and preserves so you can take a little piece of Orange home with you.
Another excellent daytime dining choice is Groundstone which has a more contemporary feel for the location. As with all Orange venues, the main aim is to support as many local producers and farmers as possible across the menu. Sweet favourites include the granola and waffles which are all made from scratch in-house, while savoury favourites are the halloumi fritters and shakshuka eggs.
Racine is your go-to for bakery goods and a quality brew. Tucked away on a side street, the place runs like a well-oiled machine with everything baked on-site daily using the best quality ingredients. You’ll be able to stock up and refuel on the essentials including organic sourdough, buttery croissants, cakes, and biscuits as well as savoury favourites like pies, sausage rolls, and sandwiches. The chefs also make take-home meals that are perfect for spending a night in by the fire. Butter chicken, lasagne, and beef & burgundy pie are just some of the options on rotation that are super nourishing and feel like a giant hug.
Turns out Hatted restaurants are also located in Orange! Charred has received two Hats and multiple awards for its extensive wine list. To help you navigate it is David Collins, the Sommelier and Restaurant Manager that greets you with a warm country welcome. While the shop front may be unassuming, what’s served on the tables is anything but. They offer a tasting menu that is innovative and doesn’t conform to trending cuisine. Be surprised and delighted by every dish, which as the name suggests, has been kissed by smoke and flames. BBQ bay lobsters with shellfish & kombu cream, pumpkin gnudi with speck and smoked bacon broth, and Ora salmon with hot English mustard and soy glaze are just some of the dishes on the current menu. The interiors feel as though you’ve stepped into a cosy cabin with wooden finishings, dim candle lighting and wines stacked on each self. Charred is a must-visit whenever you’re in Orange.
There’s a reason Orange is referred to as wine country and we started our expedition at Swinging Bridge. The family-owned winery is known for producing high-quality cool climate wines with a reputation for their Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. With a beautiful view of Mount Canobolas from the vineyard and cellar door, it’s the ideal location for a tasting experience. The ‘Savour with Swinging Bridge’ experience allows you to taste a selection of their best wines, all elegantly paired with canapes designed by the house chef and sommeliers for just $50pp. The team at Swinging Bridge is equipped with a wealth of wine knowledge and expertise, ready to answer all your questions. Among them is a skilled sommelier who has transitioned from the renowned Quay restaurant in Sydney to share their wine expertise in this regional destination.
For more than two decades, De Salis Wines has passionately crafted exceptional wines, embracing a modern approach with minimal intervention. Nestled 100 meters above sea level, their vineyard benefits from the ideal conditions for producing exquisite sparkling wines. This means trying their Blanc de Blanc, Lofty Cuvée, and sparkling rosé are a must! While sipping on these delightful creations, soak in the sweeping views of the picturesque Orange region, and bask in the winter sun as you relax on the deck, surrounded by the wine barrels.
Parrot Distilling Co. opened in 2018 has swiftly established itself as a must-visit drinking destination in Orange. Step into The Aviary, their charming cellar door located in a beautifully converted brick warehouse, which invites you to taste their exquisite range of craft gin, rum, and whisky. They shake a selection of cocktails infused with their premium spirits and because no drinking session is complete without a snack, they have an ever-evolving pizza menu that are cooked in-house using the wood-fired pizza oven.
There’s no doubt you’ll want to walk off the food on this trip! Pinnacle Lookout is a stunning walk that showcases the natural beauty of the region. You’ll be rewarded for your efforts with panoramic views of the surrounding countryside including lush vineyards and rolling hills. The walk takes about 45 minutes return with a combination of well-maintained paths and gentle inclines, making it accessible for all fitness levels.
For those seeking a more extensive adventure, the Federal Falls bushwalk awaits. This 4km loop track commences and concludes at the idyllic Federal Falls campground, guiding you through enchanting snow gum forests and towering rock formations as you descend towards the stunning Federal Falls. If you visit after rainfall, be prepared for a picturesque sight of a cascading waterfall.
Orange is also home to a bunch of boutique fashion and homeware stores with one of our favourites being The White Place. Step into the stylish boutique which as the name suggests, showcases all things in a neutral palate. Find a curated selection of trending fashion, homewares, and lifestyle products with brands like McMullin & Co stocked.
Experience the ultimate blend of retail therapy and culinary delights at The Sonic. Located within a charmingly repurposed hall, this destination offers a delightful assortment of homewares, artworks from emerging artists, and fashionable women’s clothing. Take a moment to recharge at the in-store cafe, where you can enjoy expertly brewed coffee and seasonal plates like soup and sourdough, salad bowls, and toasties.
Nestled within a cherry orchard, just a stone’s throw from Orange’s city center, Basalt offers an unparalleled retreat for those seeking pure relaxation. Set in a breathtaking rural estate, this new accommodation redefines luxury with its three meticulously designed studios. Featuring deep concrete bathrooms that swallow you whole, premium linen and beauty products, and a minibar stocked with fresh sourdough, Pepe Saya and beverages from around the region, every aspect has been carefully considered for your luxury. Bask in the warmth of the roaring fireplace by night and be delighted by the stunning sunrise over the Central Tablelands that shines through your window each morning.