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If you’re looking for a destination that’s famous for its gourmet wineries, award-winning restaurants, and picturesque rolling countryside views, then head to the town of Orange in New South Wales.
Despite being a small town of less than 50,000 residents, there are plenty of things to do in Orange.
It’s location in the Central Tablelands, with an altitude of over 863 meters, means its the perfect destination for the great outdoors.
Orange is also known as “Australia’s Colour City,” not just by because of its strange name but because of the vibrant nature colors it exhibits in Autumn, adding another good reason to visit for nature lovers.
Although the town is not named after 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.
But if you’re not sure what to do in Orange NSW, then you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we share our top attractions and activities to do in the stunning Australian town.
- Things To Do In Orange NSW
- 1. Attend Orange F.O.O.D. Week
- 2. Go Wine Tasting
- 3. Visit Mount Canobolas
- 4. Relax in Cook Park
- 5. Stroll Around The Orange Botanic Gardens
- 6. Take the Kids to Orange Adventure Playground
- 7. Check Out The Farmer's Market
- 8. Dine at Hotel Canobolas for a Pub Lunch
- 9. Visit Lake Canobolas
- 10. Visit Verandah Cave
- Final Thoughts
- Where to stay in Orange, NSW
- Other NSW Country travel tips
Things To Do In Orange NSW
1. Attend Orange F.O.O.D. Week
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.
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.
2. Go Wine Tasting
Orange is the highest altitude wine region in Australia, and from what we tasted, its wines reach pretty good heights in quality.
No trip to Orange would be complete without trying some of the local wine. Whether you’re looking for a crisp Sauvignon Blanc or a warming Pinot Noir, wines come in all variaties here.
There are many wineries and cellar doors in the area plus a few that offer tours of their vineyards, but the wineries you visit largely depends on what kind of wine you’re into.
Some popular wineries to visit include:
- Printhie Wines
- Philip Shaw Wines
- Brangayne Wines
- Ross Hill Wines
- Mortimers Wines
- Cargo Road Wines
- Small Acres Cyder (if you like craft beer and cider)
If you happen to be visiting in October, don’t miss out on the Orange Wine Festival which takes place throughout the month and has many events showing off the local wines from the region.
3. Visit Mount Canobolas
At 1,395 meters, Mount Canobolas is the highest peak in the Central Tablelands of New South Wales with top panoramic views.
You can either hike, or take the short drive up from town, and if the weather is kind there a number of walking tracks around the Mount Canobolas State Conservation Areas 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 if you’re planning to drive.
4. Relax in Cook Park
Spend time relaxing or picnicing in the large park occupying a city block, 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 when the fall foliage is in full bloom (remember this is what makes Orange so famous!).
There is a self-guided heritage walk, duck ponds and swings for the kids.
5. Stroll Around The Orange Botanic Gardens
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. There’s also a beautiful, original homestead garden, billabong, and exotic and indigenous woodlands garden.
In the summer, there are concerts and performances.
6. Take the Kids to Orange Adventure Playground
Located next to the Botanic Gardens is the Adventure Playground. Normally we wouldn’t take our kids to a playground on our trip away, but our kids really enjoyed some play time at one of the biggest and better playgrounds I’ve seen in a while.
The playground has a climbing frame, swings, slides, and plenty of space to run around in. There’s also a rock wall, tree house and a rocket ship.
Other families were making the most of the on-site BBQ’s and there’s also a resident cafe for coffee. Plus plenty of shaded areas for parents to relax in while the little ones play.
7. Check Out The Farmer’s Market
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 as a way of 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.
8. Dine at Hotel Canobolas for a Pub Lunch
With a choice of inside or outside seating, Hotel Canobolas is the perfect place to eat no matter what time of year you visit Orange.
In the summer, we love the lounge setting and open courtyard. This was a great pub lunch option for us with our young kids because 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.
Everyone seems to come here to eat a good pub lunch, not just tourists but locals too. It’s always a good sign when the locals are eating at a place!
9. Visit Lake Canobolas
Located just a 10-minute drive from the town center is Lake Canobolas.
This is a man-made reservoir which was used to supply water to the town of Orange, but has been a recreation park since the 1970s.
There is a scenic walk that wraps around the shores of the lake, and if you’re visiting in the summer, you can head out on the water for sailing, swimming or dragon boating.
Pack up your bikes and cycle along the basalt trail, or head over to the Lakeside Kiosk and Cafe for a bite to eat and a coffee.
10. Visit Verandah Cave
Orange’s location in the mountains means that it also has some fantastic cave systems to explore.
Nestled in the Borenore Karst Conservation Reserve, you’ll find Verandah Cave, which is a huge limestone arch overhanging above large pools of water.
The cave can be reached by hiking from the Borenore Picnic Area for 7km through the forest (the hike is mostly flat so families with kids can do this) before you reach a rocky outcrop where the cave sits.
Inside the cave, you may spot a platypus in the water (though they are shy) and find plenty of shaded spots to relax and admire the limestone cavern.
Don’t rush off from the picnic area to do this hike though, as there is another awesome cave nearby (only 10 minutes walk from the car park) called Arch Cave.
It’s also possible to see eastern grey kangaroos hopping around the area.
Orange is a small but unique town that makes for a perfect destination for a short break, or weekend getaway from Sydney.
If possible, definitely try and time your visit to coincide with the happenings of F.O.O.D Week or the Orange Wine Festival and the beautiful autumn colours, but we have no doubt you will enjoy Orange all year round.
Where to stay in Orange, NSW
Check out the following highly-rated places to stay in Orange, NSW.
- The Remington Hotel Orange gets raves review for its clean, spacious modern rooms and buffet breakfast. See rates and availability here.
- We always like the self-service apartment style of Quest. Quest in Orange is a great family friendly restaurant with comfort and style. See rates and availability here.
- Hotel Canobolas offers accommodations in the heart of Orange with a on-site bar and restaurant. See rates and availability here.
- Located in the heart of Orange’s heritage precinct, Byng Street Boutique Hotel offers luxurious and unique accommodations. See rates and availability.
Other NSW Country travel tips
While in Orange, you may want to visit these other nearby areas in Country NSW.
- 5 Awesome Things to Do in Mudgee NSW
- 13 Exciting Things to do in Armidale NSW
- Top things to do in Dubbo NSW
- Awesome Things to Do in Bathurst, NSW with kids
Have you visited Orange? Tell us what you thought in the comments below!