Arancia Bed and Breakfast, Orange: A most tasteful retreat

Arancia's views.
Arancia's views. 

Read our writer's views on this property below

Bruce Elder steps into a smart B&B minutes from a culinary treasure trove.

The setting is sublime: on a hillside with uninterrupted views over rolling, fertile hills and small dams, with Mount Canobolas on the south-western horizon and, further west, on most evenings, blazing sunsets. Just five minutes drive from the main street of Orange, Arancia Bed and Breakfast is reached by driving through a small orchard and beef cattle pasture (cooked apples from the orchard are offered at breakfast the next morning).

This is a smart bed and breakfast. We are greeted warmly by Annette and David Buckland, who created the B&B by buying an existing modern home, developing a beautiful garden (with seats strategically placed so visitors can enjoy the views across to Mount Canobolas as well as more intimate vistas) and adding five rooms. The rooms are built along a ridge so that all have views, and all are large, comfortable and decorated with discreet care and attention.

We book the spa room at the end of the building. The room is huge, with a real sense of privacy, and we score a bonus - a small private garden with table and four chairs.

The room has elegant, dark furniture (a desk, two low cupboards), a king-size bed, large bathroom with both a substantial spa bath and a shower; a large and comfortable two-seater lounge and a lounge chair. A bowl of local fruit, chocolates beside the bed and a range of magazines and CDs are at hand.

And then we ate We phone Arancia to book our stay and Annette asks if we have plans for evening meals, then provides brilliant suggestions and makes the bookings. On the first night, we dine at Lolli Redini, awarded a hat in the Good Food Guide 2012. Here chef Simon Hawke offers locally sourced cuisine at prices Sydney foodies can only dream about. We opt for the three-course menu for a reasonable $80. Two courses are $65. The entree, again on Annette's recommendation, is the restaurant's signature dish: a sublime twice-baked Heidi Gruyere cheese souffle with spinach chiffonade, pear and toasted hazelnut salad and a local chardonnay dressing. We have mains of slow-roasted Belubula pork belly on a bed of sweet potato puree with the sweetest caramelised granny smith apples and, pure indulgence, a side order of truffle Paris mash. Out of sheer foolhardiness we finish with raspberry, pistachio, nougat and Turkish delight vacherin with strawberry sorbet. Orange being a food-lovers' heaven, the second night, again with the suggestion and booking courtesy of Arancia, we head for Sweet Sour Salt, which has a modern Asian menu. We opt for son-in-law eggs: soft-shell mud crabs with green papaya and chilli salt squid. Asian cooking beyond the Great Dividing Range surely doesn't get any better than this. It almost seems unnecessary, after so much good food, to point out that breakfast at Arancia is excellent. Each hot meal is individually cooked using local produce (the eggs are positively golden, the bacon sublime, there's as much sourdough toast as you can eat) and the jams and fruit compotes come from surrounding orchards.

The deal maker Arancia B&B is both homey and sophisticated, offering genuine old-style B&B friendliness and intimacy.

Stepping out We opt to explore Ophir, about 29 kilometres from Orange, where the first payable gold was discovered in Australia in 1851. Ophir has two excellent walks past old goldmines. Orange itself has the best regional garden park in the state at Cooks Park, as well as vineyards and heritage drives .

VISITORS' BOOK

Address 69 Wrights Lane, Orange.

The verdict A modern, well-run B&B overlooking rolling hills.

Price A king-suite double with breakfast for two costs $240 a night; $465 for two nights midweek; $575 for a minimum two-night stay at weekends.

Bookings Phone 6365 3305; see arancia.com.au.

Getting there Orange is about a 3½-hour drive from Sydney. From Summer Street (Bathurst Road/Mitchell Highway), turn left at Woodward Street, right at Racecourse Road, then follow Canobolas Road and turn into Mount Pleasant Lane. Arancia is on the right.

Perfect for A quiet escape while visiting the central west.

Wheelchair access Yes.

While you're there Have a picnic lunch or wander through Orange's exquisite Cook Park. Play golf at Duntryleague.

Weekends Away are reviewed anonymously and paid for by Traveller.