Things to do in Orange on a romantic getaway from Sydney

Things to do in Orange on a Romantic Getaway from Sydney

Sharing is caring!

At the tail end of a cold and dry winter in Sydney, it was time for a weekend getaway. After a while, the daily grind does get to you and I sensed my husband needed a break from work. Normally, we like to escape to the Mudgee Wineries, but this time I felt like making a change, so I researched the best things to do in Orange, NSW

Things to do in Orange

Orange is a fairly large country town in Central West NSW and one of the lesser known Australian wine regions. The distance from Sydney to Orange is only 254 km and a 4-hour drive through the Blue Mountains, which is about the same driving time from Sydney to Mudgee.

The beautiful countryside of Orange
Orange countryside

We’d never visited the wineries in Orange and thought we’d plan a 4-day weekend from Sydney.

Compared to other places to visit in NSW, like Jervis Bay, Berry, Berrima or Kangaroo Valley, Orange feels much bigger in size and complete with issues finding parking!

Orange Accommodation

The Orange accommodation tends to be fairly standard, however you can make a selection based on your budget and the location you want.

Hotels in Orange, NSW

The Ibis Styles Orange is a simple but reliable hotel at the entrance of Orange. The rooms are spacious and some of them have a small kitchen, which can be handy.

The Mercure Orange is a more upmarket option. The main advantage is the location: it’s in the centre of town and within walking distance of some of the restaurants I mentioned earlier. Check out the additional information and accommodation prices.

The Best Western Plus Ambassador Orange is the same standard as the Mercure and is on the way into town, so you may need to drive in. The rooms are nicely appointed and spacious. Check out the additional information and accommodation prices.

Luxury Accommodation Orange, NSW

De Russie Boutique Hotel is an apartment hotel, with a more luxury feel. It’s perfect if you want some more luxurious comfort on your Sydney getaways. It’s also reasonably central to Orange. Check out the additional information and accommodation prices.

There are plenty of old houses in the Orange region
Bed&Breakfast in Carcoar, NSW

Drive around Orange

One of the things to do in NSW is to take a drive and we enjoy that on our shorts trips from Sydney. We did a fair bit of driving on this weekend away and it was thoroughly enjoyable.

Spring was just starting out when we visited Orange
Spring blossoms in Orange

Our first impression of Orange, NSW is that it feels much bigger than Mudgee. With a population of 40,000 people, it feels like a more established town, with outer suburbs and large shopping outlets we normally see in Sydney.

A quick lapse around the centre of town revealed quite a few nice buildings. As with many country towns in Australia, there is always a crossroad with a pub on every corner. I was especially taken by the Royal Hotel, with its renovated Art Deco facade. Unfortunately, the inside only has a TAB, so we had to go elsewhere.

Art deco pub in the centre of Orange, NSW
The Royal Hotel in Orange

Apart from the typical 19th century buildings such as libraries, banks and old pubs, we noticed the streets were lined with elegant houses, dating back to the 1920’s. Obviously, Orange must have been quite prosperous around that time. 

Orange was first established around 1830 by graziers and kept on growing, especially with the discovery of gold in the area.

Mount Canobolas

Before hitting the wineries, which is a great way to relax for us, we took a drive through the countryside. Orange being a grazing and fruit-growing area, the countryside is very pretty.

Take in the views of Orange from Mount Canobolas
The view from Mount Canobolas

Mount Canobolas is a former volcano and the highest mountain in the area and stands at 1,395m. The top is a little disappointing, it’s only a car park with some radio transmission towers. The view from there was also a little underwhelming, although you get to see far in the distance. 

Radio transmitters sit on top of Mount Canobolas
Mount Canobolas

Our weekend trips from Sydney usually include some scenic walks and there are some hikes around Mount Canobolas.

The drive up to Mount Canobolas is nice, very typical of the Australian bush, with plenty of colourful birds flying around.

Lake Canobolas

We continued on to Lake Canobolas on our drive. It’s a nice spot, perfect for picnics and lazy days by the water. There is a cafe there, said to be quite nice, however we didn’t eat there.

Rowing on Lake Canobolas in Orange

I wished spring was more advanced on our visit, as the trees were still quite bare.

Lake Canobolas won’t count as a major Australia tourist attraction but it’s nice to include in one of your NSW getaways.

Wine in Orange

NSW wineries are the reason why we took this road trip to relax and be together again. We both love tasting and buying new wines. In my opinion, the best Australian wine is found in cellar doors!

Those sheds are typical of Australian wineries
Cellar door in Orange

Wines from Orange, NSW (as opposed to Orange wines) do not feature heavily in urban liquor stores. It seems that the local wine growers sell a lot of their grape production to other wine regions, so what you find in cellar doors tends to be a little bit unique.

Orange is famous for its high altitude white wines, especially chardonnays. This delighted me greatly as a usually prefer a white wine.

I don’t normally like Australian riesling, but I had some very nice surprises in Orange!

Wine Tasting Conditions in Orange

Note that there is a $10 tasting fee in pretty much all the wineries in Orange, NSW. This fee is redeemable with a purchase and since we bought wine in every winery we visited, we were never charged. It’s more targeted at Orange wine tours who turn up in a bus and don’t buy anything.

In Orange, you get to taste your wine sitting down
Wine tasting in Orange

Wine tasting is a little more formal in Orange. We were used to Mudgee or the Hunter Valley wineries, where you taste wine over the counter and where you can choose which wines you taste.

In Orange, you are invited to sit down and go through the whole list of wines on offer. This explains the $10 fee as you get quite a bit of wine but it also means you need to manage your alcohol intake a little more carefully. Considering wine tasting tours might be an option so you don’t have to drive.

Wineries in Australia can be very small or very large. What we found in Orange tended to be on the smaller side.

Our experience with New South Wales is always a positive one so read on!

Orange Wineries


Montoro was our first stop. A small but welcoming cellar door, just by the side of the road. We were greeted by a friendly dog in the carpark. Montoro specialises in shiraz vines and the wines are quite expensive, starting around $30. 

The first winery we visited in Orange was Montoro
Montoro Wines

There is a white shiraz available, only designed because the owner’s mother in law didn’t like red wine. It’s not the best Australian shiraz I’ve had but it goes well with seafood so we did get a bottle.

The other attraction was the dog, who greets visitors and walks them back to their cars. But Bailey also knows a lot of tricks, and reacts to the names of his dog friends and cousins…

De Salis

Getting to De Salis requires a bit of a drive up the hill, but the views are absolutely worth it. The cellar door has a lovely deck with views over the vineyard and another friendly dog. The Australian sparkling wine we started our tasting with was beautiful but out of budget ($90 a bottle). 

Enjoy a glass of cool climate wine in Orange
De Salis Winery

De Salis has some beautiful Chardonnays and Fumé Blanc.

Philip Shaw

Philip Shaw is more reasonably priced and a beautiful winery to hang out for a light lunch. The grounds are beautiful and we were lucky to find white blossoms everywhere. It also feels like a more established winery, with more staff, a bit like the experience you get in the Hunter Valley.

Beautiful sunny day for wine tasting at Philip Shaw
Philip Shaw Cellar Door

Still, it was a very pleasant hour or so of wine tasting.


Colmar has to be our favourite winery on this trip! The cellar door is simple, with table and chairs, but quite roomy. Colmar was named after a wine town in Alsace, in France. Alsace is famous for its white wines: Gewurtztraminner…

Colmar is one of the best wineries in Orange
Colmar Wines

Normally, I don’t like Australian versions of these grapes, I tasted some pretty bad ones when I first arrived in this country. However, Colmar has produced some beautiful examples of those varietals.


Borodell is a very elegant winery, complete with a helipad. The large lawn makes it ideal for weddings and events. It’s also a lovely spot for lunch.

Borodell is a very elegant winery with a helipad
Borodell Wines

Heifer Station

Heifer Station comes highly recommend and has a busy and pleasant cellar door. The inside of the barn feels very cosy, with long tables and comfortable couches by the fire. Outside, you can sit on tables and kids will be entertained by the farm animals on display.

Heifer Station is a very family friendly winery

There are some tables outside if you want to linger around for a light lunch.

Initially, the cellar door looked a little too organised and busy to be genuine but the wines are really good.


Mortimer’s is another Orange winery with a strong popularity vote. The cellar door is located in the former school of the March township. The school was established in 1875 and still has old photos and school records. Although not original, the building is charming and the wines are quite good.

Mortimer's is actually an old school building
Mortimer’s in Orange

We had a good conversation with the guy behind the bar however I felt that the popularity of Mortimer’s is more due to its setting.

Ross Hill

Another good winery with a deck in the sun is Ross Hill Wines. We loved the rosé and many more. It was close to lunch time and I was beginning to fade after a number of wineries. Some Orange wineries offer tasting plates to go with the wine and we thought we’d give that one a try.

Tasting plate in the sun at Ross Hill winery
Ross Hill Wines

At $25 each, it was pretty expensive. Also, we both felt that the food on the plate distracted a little from tasting the Australian red wine.


A small winery recommended by the sommelier at Racine Restaurant, we didn’t spend much time at Rowlee but the wines are really good.

Normally, they don’t have many wines on offer, but they had a record eight to taste that day. Quite an achievement for a single vineyard winery!

Browlee is one of the quieter wineries in Orange
Rowlee Wines

Australian wine brands from Orange don’t appear as much in restaurants and liquor stores so discovering all those cellar doors was a fantastic experience.

Small Acres Cider

Orange is not all about wine. I don’t mind a cider from time to time, although what you find in liquor stores can be overly sweet. 

Orange also makes some delicious cider
Small Acres Cider

The cellar door isn’t much to look at and the winery dogs looked old and tired… but the cider was worth it. Both the apple cider and pear cider are really good, and have that more rustic, less sugary taste that you normally find in Europe.

Restaurants in Orange

Restaurants are one of the best things to do in Orange, NSW and something we love to do as a couple. Whilst the produce is there, food quality can be a little hit and miss in rural NSW but Orange has some great restaurants. In my research, I was pleased to discover that Orange also has some reputable Asian restaurants so we ventured…

Taste some delicious food in Orange, NSW
Orange has some great restaurants

Orange gets busy on weekends and I recommend booking ahead. We missed out on a few places due to being Father’s Day weekend…

If you visit in autumn, you may catch Orange food week.

Our romantic weekend getaways always include some new and quirky food so read on…

The Lord Anson

The Lord Anson is in downtown Orange and was perfect for an arrival lunch. The pub is nicely renovated with a nautical theme.

The Lord Anson is a pub in Orange with a nautical theme
The Lord Anson

We had a burger and sausages and mash, and they were both delicious. Both were really well made, with proper beef mince and sausages.

Scrumptious on Summer

We never eat out for breakfast so going away on a romantic weekend was a good reason to try the recommended cafes in Orange.

Scrumptious on Summer is on the main street of Orange
Scrumptious on Summer

Scrumptious on Summer comes highly recommended and the hearty breakfasts are delicious if a little expensive. They are sizeable though to you need to turn up early or plan a late lunch! 

Bills Beans

Bills Beans has a reputation for excellent coffee in Orange. We went there on the Monday morning before heading back to Sydney and there was a long line for takeaway coffee… Delicious coffee, delicious hot chocolate and tasty bacon and egg roll.

Factory Espresso

We went sent there with the promise of the best coffee in town. The coffee, hot chocolate and bacon & egg rolls were all very good, and the place has a nice vibe. Interestingly, Factory Espresso is also a comedy club…

Mr Lim’s

Mr Lim’s has a very good reputation as a Korean and Chinese restaurant. I was a little defeated by all the food and wine over the long weekend by the time we got to Mr Lim’s but the food is delicious and the local wines go very well with it…

Mr Lim's has some delicious dumplings
Mr Lim’s in Orange

Raku Izakaya

Not being able to get into Mr Lim’s on the Friday night and not knowing we would end up there anyway on the Sunday night, we decided to try the Japanese restaurant. Very good choice, with excellent wagyu beef and even nice dessert…

The desserts are delicious at Raku Izakaya
Raku Izakaya Japanese Restaurant


Racine is a charming restaurant is set amongst the vines, which is lovely for a spring lunch.

This is a pressed duck dish at Racine
Racine Restaurant

The food is a little fancy but the sommelier at hand had some very good advice, including on some of the local wineries…

Sister’s Rock

This restaurant is at the Borodell winery, and the setting is really beautiful. The food is both refined and rustic in its flavours, and we loved the rosé…

Delicious lavender dessert at Sister's Rock
Sister’s Rock at Borodell

The only downside of Sister’s Rock is that they seem to accommodate large groups…

Shop for Old Wares

NSW tourist attractions in small country towns can often be dusty Antique stores and Orange is no exception. Darcy’s Old Wares is in Lucknow, a small township full of mining shafts, just outside Orange.

Interesting selection of old wares for sale in Lucknow
Darcy’s Old Wares in Lucknow

We got a break from Australian wineries and explored the warehouse full of mid-century wares…

The shop front is so amusing we couldn’t help but have a wander through the piles of mostly mid-century wares…

Visit a Mine

The first discovery of gold in Australia happened in Orange, in a location called Ophir. From 1851 to the 1940s, gold was mined on a semi-regular basis in the region, and contributed greatly to the prosperity and development of the area. 

Lucknow has many mine shafts
Wentworth Mine in Lucknow

The best places to visit in NSW often have that historic reference to the goldfields and the Lucknow mines feature amongst Orange attractions.

The township of Lucknow is only 9 km from Orange and still have some very visible mine shafts. The Wentworth Mine has been renovated and is open to visitors the first weekend of every month, between 10am and 2.30pm. The visit takes about an hour and requires a degree of fitness, I assume to walk up stairs and narrow mining corridors…

Wattle trees were in bloom on our visit to Orange
Wattle Tree near Lucknow

It wasn’t the right weekend when we were there unfortunately, next time hopefully….

Drive Ophir Road

Ophir is where a “commercial quantity of gold” was first discovered in Australia in 1851. This event started the Australian Gold Rush and is commemorated by an obelisk near the camping grounds. The obelisk isn’t super easy to find, we missed it the first time, but the river is actually where the gold was found…

This is a mild piece of trivia and we weren’t specifically interested in the goldfields history of Orange, NSW but the area is quite beautiful.

Ophir Road in the fog is absolutely stunning
Ophir Road in Orange

Ophir Road is a 27 km loop road north of Orange. The drive goes through what were goldfields in the 19th century and farm land. 

With a forecast of morning frost and fog, we got up early to take the drive. The scenery was absolutely spectacular…

Farmer's pond near Ophir Road in Orange
Ophir Road in Orange

If you are looking for what to do in Orange on a romantic road trip and you happen to get a forecast for fog, it is absolutely worth the early start…

The fog is just lifting off this paddock on Ophir Road
Paddock at Ophir Road

In winter, Orange is one of the few places to see in NSW where you can actually find snow…

The land still bears the scars of mining exploitation…

This was an odd sight… We drove past what looked like a dog hanging in a tree. We assumed it was a fox or a dingo killed by a farmer for attacking sheep… But on closer inspection, it was a domestic dog… 

Who would hang a dead dog in a tree?
Dead dog in a tree…

We asked a local and she offered that it might have been a statement made by a farmer to someone who would let his dog run around and kill sheep…

Drive to Millthorpe

If you are looking for what to do in Orange, NSW, other than the wineries and the restaurants, the thing to do is actually to go beyond Orange!

Some houses in Millthorpe are fairly run down
Millthorpe near Orange NSW

Millthorpe is only 24 km away and worth a visit on your weekend escape. Nothing much has changed in Millthorpe since the goldfields heyday… 

Pym Street, where all the main stores and pubs were, looks pretty much the same.

The Millthorpe train station is now a café
Millthorpe Train Station

The train station is now a café, and the train comes in from Orange once a day. So you can take a day trip to Millthorpe.

Waiting for the train at Millthorpe
Millthorpe Railway

The Goldfields Museum has a collection of items dating back to the goldfields.

The Millthorpe Museum has a collection of old machinery
Millthorpe Museum

Slow Wine & Co was the final cellar door of this couples getaway. If you head to Millthorpe, do visit, the Pinot Grigio is delicious!

Slow Wine is a winery in Millthorpe
Slow Wine & Co in Millthorpe

I don’t have a particular thing for graveyards but this one looked interesting, on the side of the road, with its three churches…

One of the three churches in Millthorpe
Church in Millthorpe

There is a sign to the grave of John Lister, who was involved in finding the gold at Ophir…

The old cemetery sits on the side of a hill in Millthorpe
Millthorpe Cemetery


Before making the trip from Orange to Sydney through beautiful countryside, we went to Carcoar, another small, forgotten-in-time village. Although less developed than Millthorpe, it is quite charming.

Some shops in Carcoar are quite well preserved
The Carcoar Emporium

The train station didn’t seem to be functioning but you have some nice old buildings. Also, the brook running through the town is quite photogenic.

The old train station at Carcoar is on hill
Carcoar Train Station

Carcoar is a little further out from Orange and it didn’t feel like the village benefited much from tourist traffic, but they may bring back the train in the future…

There is a charming brook running through the centre of Carcoar
Brook in Carcoar

Romantic Getaways from Sydney

Our weekend in Orange was a success and I highly recommend it for a few days if you are trying to get out of the city. With good food, good wine and beautiful scenery, Orange should definitely be on your list of NSW places to visit.

Old banks are usually nice buildings in NSW
The bank at Millthorpe

What is the best time to visit Orange, NSW? Spring is always nice, of course. However, I’ve had some really nice times in country NSW in autumn or even winter.

Sydney Weekend Getaways

Mudgee Wineries

Australia Road Trip

Have you experienced Orange, NSW on a romantic getaway from Sydney? Tell me about your experience in the comments below!

Save these travel tips for Orange NSW on Pinterest!

There are plenty of things to do in Orange, NSW
Orange NSW has some amazing scenery
Will you choose Orange for your next getaway from Sydney
Orange NSW is perfect for your next weekend away from Sydney

24 thoughts on “Things to do in Orange on a Romantic Getaway from Sydney”

  1. This is great. We haven’t made it down to Orange yet, but looking forward to when we do. It’s interesting to hear that parking was an issue in town! That’s not very fun for us at the best of times with a caravan. The Heifer Station sounds like our cup of tea to chill out with the kids for a relaxing lunch.

    1. Hi Emma, Heifer Station is very pleasant, however there are better wineries if you are really interested in wine. Still, a relaxing lunch in the sunshine is a perfect way to relax!

    1. Hi Wendy, antique shops in rural Australia can be pretty good. The one is Orange was a bit of a mess but there was one in Millthorpe I really liked, with lots of French antiques…

  2. What an informative post about Orange. I was amazed by the number of wineries in the area. I had no idea there were so many. I have never thought of Orange as a wine region. We enjoy visiting wineries and it was interesting to read you can find good wine at many of the cellar doors. I will pin this for further reference.

    1. Hi Estelle, we only saw a handful of wineries compared to what’s there. Orange is a great wine region yet it’s not that easy to find their wines in restaurants and bottle shops. I suspect a lot of the wineries sell their grapes to other regions to complement their wines. We know a number of wineries in Mudgee who do that as it’s roughly the same region.

  3. So that’s definitely on my bucket list. I fell in love with the area! What fantastic pictures! What does it look like in autumn, when the leaves change color and the sun shows them in the most beautiful colors …

    1. Hi Susanne, I’m sure Orange is very beautiful in autumn, with all the different leaf colours. Our visit was a bit early in spring this year so not all the trees were blooming, but the little white blossoms were lovely!

  4. Okay, so if I’m being totally honest, I’m not a wine drinker but I would want to try an Australian riesling (as I do tend to like those if I am going to like any of them). I can tell you my husband would want to head straight to Montoro as he is a wine drinker and loves a good shiraz. Do any of the wineries offer horseback riding? I do love to do that through the vineyards and admire the views. But where you totally hooked me was with the food in Orange! Holy cow…I love Asian so Mr Lim’s and Raku Izakaya would definitely happen. But I would also want to try Charred. I’m a huge foodie and any place that requires that kind of deposit with a reservation definitely has fabulous food!!

    1. Hi Heather, I didn’t see any horse riding in the wineries but it’s a typical activity in the countryside in Australia. It’s true that it would be amazing to ride around with a view of the vineyards!

  5. Views from Ophir Road looks photogenic. I love the foggy and moody atmosphere. I’d want to try the wines, too, of course!

  6. Wow what a beautiful and quirky place this is and I was not knowing about Orange when I lived for few months in Sydney. Wattle tree near Lucknow is beautiful and even the surroundings. I am interested to know about Lucknow as there is another Lucknow in India which is a very big and famous royal city of India. Visiting a mine is also an interesting part of this trip.

    1. I think the name Lucknow originated in England and the British names several places around the world… I read about Lucknow in India in Rudyard Kipling books… I”m glad we went to Orange in spring but I would curious to go in winter as well, they do get snow sometimes!

  7. Someday we really need to explore Australia! Orange looks wonderful, and we’d love to make a similar roadtrip to visit vineyards, even if I don’t drink alcohol. But that’s alright, my wife can do wine tasting and I’d be the driver. hehe… And all the food looks absolutely delicious, so we’d definitely consider trying out a few of the restaurants that you’ve mentioned here. Oh and we’ve been to Colmar in Alsace, so it’d be great to see how the “other” Colmar down under really looks like.

    1. Hi Mei, the food in Orange is so good it’s worth the trip, even if you don’t drink… We really enjoyed the connection of the winery with Colmar in Alsace. I normally judge Australia riesling wines very harshly but these were really nice and very close to the ones you find in Alsace. We had a great time in Strasbourg last year and we’re going to Colmar next year!

  8. I love that picture of Ophir Road – it’s so very atmospheric! You’ve reminded me how much I loved seeing the birds in the bush – just a little flash of bright colour before your eyes focus on the bird itself. Among the wineries, it’s great to see the cider press too. I grew up in cider country in the UK, and proper cider is a thing of beauty indeed.

    1. Hi Bernie, I agree that that drive in the fog on Ophir Road was amazing, I’m very pleased with the photos. It was good visiting the cider producer as well. I actually thought the cider was quite close in taste to the ones in Europe, not too sweet.

  9. Hello, what a great post, you have seen so many beautiful places though and the Ophir Road pix are especially stunning.

    I must let you know about two new places to stay which might be great to add. Byng Street Hotel is newly opened in a heritage house and it’s probably now the best boutique hotel in town, Quest Apartments open later this year.

    I haven’t eaten at several places you mention so now have a new list!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.