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Orange: Where Citrus Fruit and Creativity Thrive
The Central West town of Orange, New South Wales, is a regional hub for food and wine production, as well as for arts and culture. From festivals to citrus fruit picking and modern art to hiking and fishing, Orange’s visitors has plenty of activities to choose from.
While you’re here, delve into the area’s history as you stroll past churches, government buildings and private homes dating back to the 1850s. For some peace and quiet, drive to nearby Mount Canobolas or spend the day exploring Orange’s extensive botanical gardens.
A wide range of holiday rentals are available in Orange, from refurbished farmhouses to romantic cottages.
Food, Wine and Farmers Markets
The region of Orange benefits from fertile soil favourable to growing citrus fruit. (Surprisingly, the name of the town was so decided in honour of the Dutch Prince of Orange and was not related to the area’s key industry.) For a fun family day out, head to one of the orange farms close to town, where you can pick your own fruit.
Orange is also a prime cool wine producing region, with 50+ wineries just a short distance from town. Sample local chardonnay or merlot as you go for a guided vineyard tour, or make your way to some cellar doors. Many wineries have restaurants, too, where you can try regional dishes paired with the right glass of red or white. Each year, Orange hosts a Wine Festival in October, with over 90 events, including a bike ride through the vineyards.
Orange F.O.O.D. Week, in early April, is Australia’s oldest regional food and wine festival. Events are organized by the town’s cafes and restaurants, where you can watch cooking demonstrations, sample local fare, meet the area’s chefs or do some wine tasting.
History and Heritage in Orange
Orange was founded in the middle of the 19th century, and many testimonies to the town’s early days remain. Stroll down the main street to see buildings dating back to the 1850s. Step inside the Holy Trinity Church, built in 1879, visit the Orange Court House and Town Hall or wander past several Victorian era hotels. Panels at each heritage site tell its story.
To get the most out of your historic walk, follow the stops outlined as part of the Orange Heritage Trail. While you’re in Orange, you can pay your respects to Banjo Patterson, the bush poet who famously wrote Walzing Matilda. An obelisk in his honour is set next to the visitors’ centre.
Arts and Culture in Orange
Independent galleries and studio spaces grace Summer Street, nestled between chic cafes and trendy boutiques. The Orange Regional Gallery, meanwhile, hosts changing exhibits featuring modern artworks by Australian artists, including talent from the area.
To find out more about Banjo Paterson, head to a permanent exhibit dedicated to the poet. As you take a guided tour or visit the museum on your own, you will be able to gain detailed insight into the poet’s life and works.
In the evenings, catch a performance at the Orange Regional Conservatorium, which offers year-round concerts and events, including some specifically for kids.
Outdoors in Orange
Mount Canobolas, the highest peak in the Tabletops region, is just a short drive from Orange. The park is laced with trails leading to scenic lookouts. Bring your binoculars to do some bird or butterfly watching and don’t forget your hamper for a picnic.
Several waterfalls can be found within the park, including Federal Falls and Hopetoun Falls. Trails lead to the cascades, but these can be strenuous in certain places. 10 km from Orange, Lake Canobolas awaits fishing enthusiasts. This is also a popular spot for canoeing and kayaking.
Back in town, the Orange Botanical Garden showcases a variety of landscapes, native to different parts of Australia and the world. One of the garden’s trails, the Country Walk, winds past rose patches, an apple orchard and Victorian style gardens.
Getting to Orange
There are many ways to get to Orange, set 260 km from Sydney. You can drive to your holiday destination in 3.5 hours, take a direct train in under 5 hours or fly in 50 minutes. Orange Regional Airport is set just a 15-minute drive from the town centre, with direct daily flights to and from the state capital.