If you love your food and wine as much as you love an outdoor adventure, the city of Orange has your next trip away sorted.
A scenic four-hour drive from Sydney through the Blue Mountains lands you on the Central Tablelands where Orange sits over 800m above sea level.
Renowned for its wineries and food, Orange is also rich in heritage – the region is the Traditional Land of the Wiradjuri people. Untouched pockets of bushland surround the town, meaning adventure is never far away.
Enter: you! An adventurous foodie who seeks variety in your escapes.
Choose Your Adventure
Orange is surrounded by stunning patches of Australian bushland, all of which are easily accessible. Even one weekend is enough to see plenty!
Mobs of kangaroos, an assortment of wildflowers lining the trail, and a kaleidoscope of butterflies circling you make it hard to avoid feeling like a live-action Disney princess on this walk. You’ll brush by bush orchids, wild daisies and you can even spot crimson rosellas darting between the towering eucalypts above. The cave behind the waterfall is a must-see.
The Falls Cascades
Just a short ten minute drive outside of Orange and an even shorter ~500m walk through the bush will bring you to The Falls near Summer Creek. With some cascading rapids and a waterfall right up the back there’s a lot to explore and plenty of places for a dip.
You can get up close and personal to The Falls via a cheeky hidden track – walk left until you see a goat trail, which will take you all the way up without testing your balance or rock climbing abilities.
The perfect spot for a picnic, barbecue, and some exploration! The Borenore Caves are an excellent example of a karst cave system. The Arch Cave is the highlight, it’s an ancient limestone cave crammed with stalactites and stalagmites (which is which again?).
After the Arch Cave you have the option of cave spotting in the nearby bush. If you’re looking for something longer you can take the Boree Creek trail to Verandah Cave and check out the pools inside, it’s a flat and relatively easy 3.5km walk. Remember to bring a torch with you for the caves and watch your head, I learned that the (rock) hard way.
Ask the locals and they’ll tell you to come here for sunset, though sunrise presents its own unique view as well. Gaze upon the Central Tablelands for kilometres and take in the sun-kissed countryside at sunset, or see it softly blanketed in fog for sunrise.
The small hike to the lookout is a 30 minute return trip, just be prepared for stairs. Whether it’s sunrise or sunset, both views are spectacular, it really comes down to whether or not you’re a morning person; and how many wines went around the night before. Speaking of wines…
Pair it With a Wine
Renowned for its wineries, you won’t struggle to find some wine tasting in Orange, after all, it has 40 cellars and 60 vineyards – take your pick!
Heifer Station Wines
We visited Heifer Station Wines and were treated to award winning cool climate wine, plenty of farm animals to pet, and even the option to ride bikes through the vineyards (assuming you can handle your vino). Heifer Station is a class place with class service, truly an excellent spot to wind down while enjoying a cheese board and picnic after a morning of adventures.
They have friendly goats, highland cattle, Tilly the Shetland pony, and a pig who all love a pat. There’s even a herd of alpacas roaming around the property, just watch out for Snowy the alpaca, the locals will tell you why.
Go on an Indigenous Cultural Adventure
Learn about the Wiradjuri People, the First Nations People who occupied the area for over 50,000 years, on an Indigenous cultural tour. You’ll get to try Bush Tucker, traditional foods that can be found in the Australian bush and have been consumed sustainably for thousands of years.
Gerald and Erin run the tours – Gerald is quick to joke and a great teacher and Erin is a dedicated and knowledgeable. They provide an interactive, entertaining, and deeply well-informed experience aimed at educating the general public about Indigenous culture both past and present.
Reward Yourself With a Feast
Orange has some fantastic places to eat, with many freshly sourcing their ingredients from farms in the region. After a day of adventures you’ll be in foodie heaven!
The Agrestic Grocer is a must-visit for any foodie passing through. Originally a grocer offering fresh-from-the-farm produce, it expanded to add a restaurant for dining at any time of the day, and even includes a small stage for live music.
If you’re a burger connoisseur, the chicken burger will be in your top three of all time after the first bite, however you won’t be disappointed with any selection of food. With their ingredients being delivered straight from farms all across the Central West you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better gauge of the locally grown produce.
They also have a unique and diverse range of vegan and vegetarian products on offer and they’ll even wrap you up a gift hamper so the folks back home can sample the region’s finest!
The Ophir Hotel
There’s nothing more country than the local pub, perhaps there’s also nothing more Australian than award-winning schnittys. Seems you’ve made your way to the Ophir Hotel. It’s a modernised hotel with a variety of wines, sourced locally and from other wine regions across Australia and New Zealand. Complete with generous meals, country atmosphere, and an outdoor playground for the kids, or the adult who refused to grow up (it’s actually pretty cool).
If you love your Japanese cuisine, you can’t pass on Raku Izakaya during your trip. Their dishes are packed with flavour – if you’re dining with company, grab a bunch of dishes to share as each meal is simply too good to not sample.
I’d recommend starting with their Korean fried chicken, then digging into their flame-seared salmon sushi. For mains, the wagyu beef and duck breast are musts, although any choice is a good one so take your pick!
Wash it all down with a drink afterwards. The drinks menu ranges from Japanese sake and locally produced wines, to a cocktail list full of the classics and some Japanese-inspired concoctions sprinkled in as well.
The service is as good as their food, so treat yourself and your taste buds to its charming atmosphere and delicious food.
Turn in For The Night
Being a country town you’ll have the luxury of always being close to anything and everything. The hard part is choosing what accommodation you love the most!
The Apple Cottage
Looking for a cosy place to stay with a central location? The Apple Cottage has got you covered. You’ll be walking distance from shops, cafes, and bars. It houses up to six people and has a large outdoor area well-suited to a barbecue. Its bathroom and kitchen are modernised, yet the cottage itself was built in 1910, maintaining a quaint country cottage vibe.
As a cheeky bonus there are local wines available for purchase inside too, just in case you have some post winery withdrawals.
Federal Falls Campground
The Federal Falls Campground is your starting point for the hike down to the falls so it’s perfect for an overnight stay. Being 1395m above sea level, the early morning fog makes for a stunning hike down to the falls. With a booking fee of $6, there’s no reason not to pitch a tent, roast some marshmallows, and get up for an incredible descent through the beautiful fog-lined bush of Mount Canobolas.
Photos by Lorena Rabbani