Orange, NSW, travel guide and things to do: Nine must-do highlights


Orange is one of Australia's foremost boutique wine regions, with a wealth of cellar doors to visit. But if you're time is limited, or if you're after an overview of the region's top drops before heading out to the vineyards themselves, make for Ferment, plonked right in the middle of town. Housed in a beautifully-preserved and swishly decked-out heritage building in Hill Street, you can, for a fee and with a booking, taste a wide selection of local wines poured by experts. See


On the near outskirts of Orange is The Agrestic Grocer, a true gastronomic gem. A combined grocer and cafe, both showcasing the outstanding local produce, it's built inside a rustic old structure from which integrity oozes between the cracks in the walls and floors. You can stock up here on supplies and fill up on food for the drive home. See


It may not be in the most salubrious spot in town (read: supermarket car park behind the main street) but it doesn't deter locals from flocking to the tiny Racine Bakery specialising in artisan sourdoughs, cakes, pastries and pies. Stayed tuned for the opening of the new Racine restaurant, following its move from La Colline Winery, right next door to the bakery. See


Food and drink at Tonic Restaurant, Milthorpe.

Tonic Restaurant, Milthorpe. Photo: Destination NSW

Orange is one of NSW's most attractive and civic-minded towns but if you want quaint (and who doesn't?) head to Millthorpe, a gorgeous historic village, a mere 20 minutes to the south east. Its shops and cafes are perfect for a wander, especially on a less frenetic weekday, with Millthorpe also home to Tonic, a Good Food Guide stalwart, located inside an attractive glass-front old shopfront. See;



There really was gold in them there hills, just a short drive, in fact, from central Orange. Australia's earliest gold rush site Orphir was the first place where a payable version of the precious metal was discovered. Nearly 170 years later, the ruins of Orphir are scattered around a peaceful scenic riverside reserve, perfect for camping, fishing, fossicking or merely a pleasant destination for a drive from Orange. See


The venerable, one-hatted Lolli Redini has been the definitive Orange eatery. However, at last word, you'll need to settle for takeaway with the restaurant closed for dining in until further notice. But don't do your lolli: there's some good news with the Lolli Redini team set to open a cool new bar, BIRDIE, on the corner of Summer and Sale streets, not far from the existing restaurant See


Even with Orange being a wee bit on the frigid side itself in the winter months, we're still crying for joy over Spilt Milk Bar. In any season, take your pick of inventive gelato or sorbet flavours, served in a slickly-designed and smartly-styled space, and lick-in or lick-out. There's even a welcome, though wicked, chocolate fountain for those who dare to embellish their frozen moment. See


There is a sneaking trend, of sorts, for motels to pose as hotels, with The Oriana a case, albeit a superior one, in point, But, really, we're not quibbling as a lot of effort has gone into upgrading this erstwhile motel, named after the legendary cruise ship and, from a distance, resembling it with its all white eminence. There are a couple of somewhat superior stays in Orange but they can be damnably hard to secure a booking and the Oriana is a good alternative. And we did forget how much we loved the convenience of driving right up to our room door?See


Mount Canobolas.

Mount Canobolas. Photo: Orange City Council

At nearly 1400 metres,  Mount Canobolas is reputedly the tallest mountain between it and the African continent, which probably tells you more about Australia than Africa. An ancient volcano, it's also a wonderful natural playground for locals and visitors,  especially the wooded reserve beside the tranquil Lake Canobolas, built in 1918 to supply water to Orange. See


Orange has proved an extremely popular destination during the pandemic. Consider visiting during weekdays, if you can manage, as you'll stand a better chance of securing your preferred accommodation and restaurants than at weekends.

Anthony Dennis travelled at his own expense.