Get the winter woollies out, because you’re going to need them where we’re going.
With four very distinct seasons, the Orange region is renowned for its large variety of fresh local produce and cool climate wines that have shaped the burgeoning dining scene. But one season in Orange that isn’t loved on enough is winter.
I’m not going to tell you that Orange in winter isn’t cold. It is. But when the coolest season hits, the region transforms into a mesmerising wonderland where you can sip local reds by the fireplace, feast on hearty local produce and connect to Wiradjuri Country through the infinite night sky.
Here are all the things you need to do on a trip to the Orange region this winter.
There’s so much to do in Orange during winter. (Image: Kirsten Cunningham Photography)
Treat yourself to a luxury stay
Nothing says ‘winter getaway to the country’ quite like getting cosy in Central West NSW’s most magnificent accommodation.
Byng Street Boutique Hotel offers the perfect mix of luxury while maintaining its heritage roots. The 22-room property has two sides you can book: the Heritage Wing, for history lovers (book The Yallungah Suite if you can; it has its own verandah overlooking the gardens), and the Modern Wing, for those who appreciate contemporary design.
Stay in the quirky, cosy and incredibly cool Byng St Boutique Hotel.
The newest accommodation option in the area is Basalt, a luxury stay sitting 1100 metres above sea level. Cosy up by the wood fire and take in the unbeatable views of the cherry orchard below and Orange city in the distance. With a number of curated experiences exclusively for Basalt guests, like a guided stargazing tour and a helicopter winery experience, a stay at Basalt is the whole package.
If you’re staying longer or prefer self-catering, check into Quest Orange on Kite Street.
Or luxuriate with the incredible views of Basalt.
Explore the art scene
What better way to keep warm than spending the day meandering through the art galleries in and around Orange?
The cultural precinct next to Robertson Park is home to the Orange Regional Gallery and the Orange Regional Museum, both thriving creative hubs. The gallery has re-opened after a state-of-the-art renovation, offering an ever-changing program of contemporary exhibitions. In fact, its most recent exhibition was Laurence Edwards: A Gathering of Uncertainties, the first comprehensive survey of Edwards’ work to be shown in Australia, which attracted visitors from far and wide.
Other local art spots include The Peisley St Gallery and The Corner Store Gallery in Orange, Platform Arts Hub in Blayney, Rosebank Art Gallery in Millthorpe, and Newbridge’s Olde Bridge Gallery.
Wander the Orange Regional Gallery. (Image: Emily Murphy)
Focus on wellness
Putting an emphasis on self-care is a must in Orange’s winter months. Luckily there are many places holding space for wellness, no matter what that looks like for you.
The stunning Studio Seed is located in the bustling city centre and offers everything from endorphin-boosting barre classes, glute-burning Pilates classes, solo spa days and group workshops. Join the wellness practitioners for naturopathic and somatic awareness sessions to bring you back into balance on every level – exactly what you need in winter.
Reconnecting with nature on a stroll through Orange’s rich landscapes is another wellness wonder. For sweeping views, one of the walks in Gaanha-bula (Mt Canobolas) is a must; it’s partial to some snowfall, so bring a raincoat and warm clothing, and always check the forecast before setting out.
Prepare to pamper your body at Studio Seed. (Image: Monique Lovick Photography)
Wet your whistle at the vineyards
Orange wine country is home to over 40 cellar doors for you to explore all year round, but there’s something extra special about winter winery visits.
Swinging Bridge won the Orange360 Cellar Door of the Year award, and it’s not hard to see why. The family-centric winery embraces innovation through the region’s quintessential varieties – chardonnay and pinot noir – all while offering expansive views of the vineyard and the Ward family home.
Delight in a wine pairing at the award-winning Swinging Bridge winery.
With its recently opened cellar door, See Saw Wine is your go-to for sustainably grown, organic wines. Filled with gorgeous indoor plants, the cosy and comfortable interior is the ideal place to sip and watch the hours roll by.
The Borrodell SkyBar has some of the best views in the region, sitting at the top of the orchard and vineyard. Enjoy a tipple of Borrodell’s wine range or some local beers and cocktails as you take in the afternoon scenes.
Taste sustainably grown, organic wines at See Saw Wine. (Image: Monique Lovick Photography)
Get a taste of fine dining
The award-winning dining scene in Orange is just as much of a drawcard as the beautiful scenery. You’ll be blown away by how the ever-growing selection of restaurants use seasonal local produce to tantalise the tastebuds.
The twice-hatted Charred Kitchen & Bar offers a seasonal set tasting menu by chef Liam O’Brien, accompanied by either local or prestige wine matching by sommelier manager David Collins. The BBQ Bay lobsters and charcoal-grilled Black Angus on the current menu will leave you weak in the knees.
Don’t miss the wine matching at Charred Kitchen & Bar.
Head up toward Gaanha-bula and you’ll find Printhie Dining sitting pretty on the snow line at Printhie Wines’ cellar door. Head chef Jack Brown incorporates his Indigenous heritage into the five-course degustation lunch that’s curated with the winery’s drops at the forefront.
The Schoolhouse Restaurant, set in the 165-year-old Union Bank building, has a focus on community and encourages people to connect through food. This reflects in the menu as everything is designed to be shared – although you may want to keep the kingfish crudo, nodini mozzarella, succulent sirloin and famous Farmer Doug’s potato scallops to yourself. Yum!
Treat your tastebuds to a five-course degustation lunch at Printhie Dining.
Turn the heat up at the Winter Fire Festival
For a special weekend from 4–13 August, the Orange Winter Fire Festival will heat up the region with a number of events centred around bonfires at wineries and orchards. From barbecue meat on the spit to cooking in open fire pits, you’ll devour more hearty food than you could imagine, washing it all down with local mulled wine.
Relax around the bonfire at Winter Fire Festival.
Shop around the boutique stores
The flourishing cosmopolitan lifestyle around Orange is beyond question, attracting more and more boutique fashion and homeware stores to its stylish streets.
Jumbled is the ultimate winter shopping spot for all things home, fashion and coffee. Located in a freshly renovated Masonic lodge named ‘The Sonic’, Jumbled specialises in colour and original art.
Reinvent your space with fun finds at Jumbled.
Just north of Orange, in the small village of Molong, you’ll stumble across Molong Stores. Housed in a heritage building, this boutique showcases handmade local and international products for men.
Head south to the historic village of Carcoar to find Tomolly, a lovingly curated homewares and fashion store in an 1800s Victorian terrace. More than just a shop, Tomolly is a place to connect with the community and support local.
Find homewares and fashion at Tomolly.
Swap the winter blues for a bit of jazz
If the winter blues are getting you down this June long weekend, head to Orange, which is set to jazz things up with the Orange Winter Jazz Festival. The Necks, Andy Baylor, Michelle Nicole, James Valentine’s Upbeat, The Vampires with Chris Abrahams, Queen Porter Stomp and more will be performing at a range of local venues.
Plan your trip and learn more about an Orange winter at orange360.com.au.