You know a town is passionate about food, and really good at it, when the winner of Australia’s MasterChef and local town resident (Kate Bracks) has a stall at the Night Markets.
And when your town is named after a piece of fruit, well…
No, the town of Orange is not named for the citrus fruit, in fact, Orange is noted for its apple orchards. Orange was actually named in honour of Prince William of Orange who became the King of Holland.
What brought us to put Orange on the list of places to visit on our trip through country NSW was its growing reputation for fine food AND wine.
One of our favourite pleasures of travelling is to taste the local produce, and it seems with any good food producing region you usually can find great wines.
We’d timed our trip perfectly as we arrived in town during Orange F.O.O.D. Week (Food Of Orange District).
This annual event is held over 10 days in April which showcases the local produce, the local chefs and restaurants.
Hungry after our afternoon drive in from a day at Dubbo Zoo, we joined hundreds of others at the huge Night Market all eager to sample the regions best produce.
Picturesque Robertson Park played host with over 40 stalls offering a range of dishes, and with communal tables set up under the trees there was a real community spirit.
‘Wine barrel’ bars were spaced out for those sampling the wines, and the local entertainment provided some background music and a lovely country atmosphere.
It was a fun festival atmosphere as we made our way around tasting various cheeses, breads, curries, fruits, desserts, and of course some wine and beer.
The ‘Night Market’ is just one event during F.O.O.D Week.
Over the 10 days, you can visit farms, kitchens, restaurants, cafes, wineries, attend workshops and cooking demonstrations, enjoy music and picnics.
Orange F.O.O.D Week is one of Australia’s longest running regional food events.
For the love of food you should add it to your calendar and bring your thirst and your appetite.
Not only will your taste buds thank you, but your eyes will appreciate the vibrant autumn foliage which makes Orange a very popular destination at this time of year.
Other Things to Do in Orange NSW
Orange is the highest altitude wine region in Australia, and from what we tasted its wines reach pretty good heights in quality.
Suggestions for wineries to visit include:
At 1,395m Mount Canobolas is the highest peak in the Central Tablelands of New South Wales with top views.
Take the short drive up from town and if the weather is kind there a number of walking tracks for stretching your legs and working off the yummy excess food you’ve been consuming. Snow can fall during the winter months and snow chains may be required.
A large park occupying a city block and named in honour after Captain James Cook, Cook Park is said to be one of NSW’s finest exotic parks and a top spot to have a picnic, especially beautiful in early autumn.
There is a self-guided heritage walk, duck ponds and swings for the kids.
Take a leisurely stroll or enjoy a picnic in the 17 hectare Botanic Gardens. There’s a heritage rose garden and heritage orchard including historic apple varieties, plus the original homestead garden, billabong, exotic and indigenous woodlands garden, and concerts and performances in summer.
Located next to the Botanic Gardens, our kids enjoyed some play time at one of the biggest and better playgrounds I’ve seen in a while. Other families were making the most of the on-site BBQ’s and there’s also a resident cafe for coffee.
Held on the second Saturday of the month, the Orange Region Farmer’s Market is another great chance to sample the fresh regional produce and meet the person behind the product.
We love a farmers market for sourcing supplies for a picnic. We didn’t time our trip for the Orange Farmers Market, but from all reports it’s a good one.
Hotel Canobolas for a Pub Lunch
With a choice of inside or outside, and a lounge setting and open courtyard, this was a great pub lunch option for us with our young kids – there’s also a playroom.
This old hotel seems to be an Orange institution for a meal or a drink with a nice atmosphere and plenty of screens to watch the match of the day.
Getting to Orange
Orange is an easy 4 hour drive (260km) NW from Sydney. Take the Great Western Highway to Bathurst and the Mitchell Highway to Orange.
Orange makes a perfect destination for a short break, or a longer stay.
If possible, definitely try and time your visit to coincide with the happenings of F.O.O.D Week and the beautiful autumn colours.
Have you visited Orange? Tell us in the comments below any tips you have.
We visited Orange in partnership with Destination NSW