Autumn: Orange F.O.O.D Week
Against a backdrop of changing leaves, the Orange F.O.O.D Week programme of more than 70 events highlights the quality and diversity of the region’s produce and wine through lunches, dinners, farm-gate tours, cellar door masterclasses and more.
When: April 5-14
Winter: Orange Fire Festival
Woodpiles are set alight under starry night skies and inside the hearths of restaurants and pubs for the Orange Winter Fire Festival, encouraging gathering around the blazes with good food, company and warming wines. The weekend kicks off with a night market in the historic Millthorpe village.
When: August 3-5
Spring: Orange Wine Festival
When the days get longer and milder, and everything starts to bloom, Orange Wine Festival tempts with almost 100 events showcasing the region’s new-release wines and spring harvest.
When: October 18-27
While you’re there…Eat: Racine Restaurant and Bakery are regional favourites for flaky croissants, a garden lunch or afternoon sweet treats. For fantastic coffee, brunch and food souvenirs, you can’t go past The Agrestic Grocer (which also stocks some of the region’s best wines and beers) and Groundstone Cafe. Sweet Sour Salt is in a heritage house that has undergone a colourful conversion inside, and it’s great for a dinner of south-east Asian flavours. For a nice night out, check out Orange stalwart and hatted restaurant Lolli Redini.
Drink: In addition to the region’s cool wines, there are some excellent brewers, with 1859 Brewing Co. (at The Beekeepers Inn, which offers the triple threat of honey, scones and beer) and Badlands Brewery both based here. The extensive wine list of Charred Kitchen & Bar is also worth exploring.
Experience: The Beekeepers Inn and Agrestic Grocer are a must for gathering local goodies to take home, and if you can, extend that tour to Fourjay Farms, where you can wander the groves and see hazelnut farmers Basil and Jean Baldwin in action (and pick up nutty products such as dukkah and pancake mix). Fruit-picking at Thornbrook Orchard is a fun way to spend a morning or afternoon, or alternatively, pluck your seasonal produce from the stalls of the Orange Farmers’ Market on the second Saturday of each month. Up the road from Thornbrook Orchard is Nashdale Lane Wines, a new estate for the region offering stunning glamping alongside the vines (above). Watching the sun set from the elevated Cargo Road Wines site is also a lovely way to wrap up any day in Orange.
Getting there: Sydneysiders can reach Orange by driving three-and-a-half hours or flying in 40 minutes. Melbourne and Brisbane also offer direct flights to the region through Fly Corporate. Other parts of Australia will reach here on connecting flights through Sydney.