Three-and-a-half hours west of Sydney, at the base of an extinct volcano, sits the food basket of NSW: Orange. Rich, fertile soils feed the thriving agriculture and viticulture scene, while Sydney tree-changers and local artists feed the burgeoning café culture. Dig in.
Everyone knows you should…
Forage during F.O.O.D. Week
Every April, the local region celebrates its abundance of produce with this renowned week-long festival filled with lunches, night markets, forages and our favourite, the 100-Mile Dinner – made up of dishes created from local produce within 100 miles of Orange.
Dine at hatted Lolli Redini
Regarded as a local dining institution, Lolli’s has won 10 Sydney Morning Herald chef hats since opening, along with a slew of other industry awards. Expect a modern Australian menu based around local and seasonal produce.
Get a Bills Beans coffee fix
A caffeine hit in a new town is often fraught with danger, but Bill Beans is a shoo-in. Doing their own roasting and brewing, Bills Beans is so popular they’ve recently opened a new roastery and flagship espresso bar in an old mechanical workshop, fittingly named Factory Espresso. Here you can pick up a coffee, taste test different brews in their cupping lab or stay for breakfast or lunch – with a menu that’s focused on local produce, of course.
But locals say you need to…
Lunch at Mandagery Creek Farm
The Mandagery Creek Farm Kitchen hosts a regular lunch on the second Saturday of every month, set in a large garden surrounded by pine forest and paddocks. Bring your eating boots; the farm’s tender venison is always a star among other locally-grown ingredients.
Do dinner at Borrodell Vineyard
The annual Black Tie and Gumboot Truffle Dinner at Borrodell Vineyard takes place in August. It starts with a gumboot-wearing truffle hunt with Sonny the dog, followed by a five-course degustation dinner featuring truffle-inspired dishes, matched with local cool-climate wines.
Keep busy at the Beekeepers Inn
This honey-producing café is also a brewery and nursery and, as well as showcasing honey bees at work, boasts an array of regional products, antiques, and honey-brewed beer. Best to set aside a couple of hours for Beekeepers Inn – it’s halfway between Orange and Bathurst.
Where to stay
Country meets chic in this fully self-contained Victorian homestead with three double bedrooms, a full kitchen and a lovely outdoor area. It’s also just a stone fruit’s throw from the town centre. From $200 a night.
Set on the edge of historic Millthorpe is this charming little bed and breakfast. There is a cheese platter on arrival, cooked breakfast, luxurious linen, and a collection of boutiques and restaurants down the road. From $175 a night.
This converted B&B was once a shearing shed – and it shows, in the nicest possible way. Hand-cut timbers, galvanised iron and shearing paraphernalia all make for a comfortably stylish way to immerse yourself in the region’s agricultural history. Each ensuite comes with L’Occitane amenities too. From $210 a night.