There’s something about the fresh country air – crisp, always with the hint of sizzling bacon and a crisp white wine. Oh wait, that might just be the air in Orange.
Arguably the most fashionable, foodie town in NSW, Orange is a four hour drive from Sydney and worth every minute of the scenic trip out to the Central Tablelands.
The Orange Region Farmers Markets are held once a month and almost the entire town turns out to stock up on fresh local produce. Well, the town members who aren’t manning a stall. The line for Trunkey Creek Bacon and Egg rolls is always long but grab a coffee first and expect to be drooling by the time your overloaded roll is ready. Spend some time sampling local olive oils, jams, relish, nuts and some seriously good fudge.
The locals have all stocked up on the bountiful produce at the markets – and so have the restaurants. Fresh produce is the hero of menus around town and has definitely played a big part in the awards and accolades local restaurants receive. Lolli Redini and Racine Restaurant are well-known fine dining institutions. Save them for a special occasion. For a more casual night out, start off with a cheese plate and a glass of wine at the Union Bank Wine Bar and Wine Store. The heritage listed former bank has a great selection of local wines available by the glass and has a strong commitment to using produce from its kitchen garden. Stay on for fresh salads, hearty lamb pot pies and delicate lemon tarts.
Orange is well known for its Sauvignon Blanc – the terrior and elevation brings out ripe, floral vintages – but you’ll also find superb Chardonnay and pinor noirs at the more than 30 cellar doors dotted around. Big names include Philip Shaw and Ross Hill. Pick up a scenic wine trail map from the Visitor Information Centre and pace yourself.
The wide country streets of Orange are home to plenty of different types of accommodation – from cute B&B’s to motels. The de Russie Suites are luxury boutique – there’s no twee here, just chic and sophisticated. Expect four poster beds, soft furnishings and heavy drapes. If you are after a bit of country charm, check into the Duntryleague Guesthouse. This grand old manor house is attached to the Duntryleague Country Club so you can play golf or stroll the gardens.
Tip: on your way home make a quick detour into the quaint town of Millthorpe. The Old Mill Café’s towering pancakes will keep you full the whole way back to Sydney.