With so many great places to explore right on our own doorstep, there’s no better time to take a little road trip and do our bit for local tourism – not to mention giving yourself a few days away from it all. This month the team at Vitora have mapped out a trip through central west NSW from Canberra to Orange, to explore one of Australia’s most colourful towns – taking you door-to-door in just over 3.5 hours.
Getting to Orange and the all-important question of vehicle and tyres
With the trip about 280km in total, start by finding your way from the centre of Canberra onto the Barton Highway (A25) and then from the B81 to Cargo Rd – and you’re now well on track for Destination Orange. Whatever your vehicle (as long as it’s in good working order and fitted with a good set of Vitora tyres!) – will be absolutely perfect for the job. And if you’re lucky enough to have something sporty on wheels, what better way to enjoy it than opening up that sunroof (don’t forget the sunnies and sunscreen) – so get those Vitora SportLife tyres rolling!
A bit about Orange…
Home of the legendary poet and bush-ballad hero Banjo Paterson (perhaps best known for the world-famous Waltzing Matilda), Orange ticks all the boxes when it comes to a great place to get away for a quick weekend or longer break. Relax, visit a winery, soak up the local art and culture, have a great meal or two making the most of the extra fresh local produce – not to mention loads of great outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling or playing a round of golf. Orange and its surrounding countryside is not only pretty picturesque – but also has an abundance of heritage listed buildings that add to its character. The Orange area is a big producer of apples as well as cherries and other stone fruit – so visiting a local orchard to pick and eat some delicious fruit in season could be another perfect addition to your weekend plan.
What to do when you get there
No matter what time of year you visit Orange, running out of things to do is just not on the itinerary! With a range of festivals, shows and events on the annual calendar along with its history, markets and more – you’re bound to find something (or three!) that takes your interest. Here are just a few suggestions to get your planning underway.
Have a picnic or take a walking trail
Orange has an abundance of walking trails, serene picnic spots and gardens to entice you to make the most of the region’s great outdoors. While Orange View, just 20 minutes from Orange at Mount Canobolas offers superb views over the town, Lake Canobolas at the foot of the mountain is an idyllic spot to set up for the day, have a BBQ, canoe and walk or cycle. Orange Botanic Gardens set on 17 hectares is another outdoors’ haven complete with native plants and birdlife not to be missed.
Get local at the Farmers Market
A key feature of Orange’s calendar is the Farmers Market which sells produce exclusively from the Orange area. Held on the second Saturday of the month it offers baked goods, artisan breads, cheese, wine, fruit and vegetables – in fact, everything that you could think of that’s super fresh and tasty! It’s also known for its great brekkie rolls (and other breakfasts to suit your tastebuds) – and with over 60 stalls, the market’s a great social place to meet the locals! It operates from two locations in Orange depending on the season.
Attend a festival, show or event
Whether it’s wine, poetry or something else artful – there’s often a festival or event running in Orange. From the Banjo Paterson Poetry Festival in February, to Orange F.O.O.D week (just around the corner at the end of March), the Orange Show (a 148-year Orange tradition) in May, or the Orange Wine Festival in October – there are plenty of reasons to show up in Orange to sample and take part in some of the region’s best kept secrets.
Take a stroll down memory lane
If you’re keen to know more about the town’s history and heritage – join the Orange Heritage Trail (it takes about one-and-a-half hours to complete) from the Orange Visitor Information Centre. Take in the town’s beautiful old restored buildings and sights that are key to its past and still central to the present.
Visit a winery or boutique brewery
The Orange region boasts a growing number of beautiful vineyards and cellar doors along with breweries specialising in craft beers and ciders – many with superb vistas of the rolling countryside and some with on-site restaurants and cafes serving up delicious meals showcasing the wines and local produce. Of course, if you’re drinking, please make sure you have a designated non-drinking driver on your team!
Pick your own farm fresh fruit off the tree
While finding fresh produce is an easy task when you’re visiting Orange, there’s nothing quite like picking and sampling some for yourself right in the orchard or farm where it’s growing! Thornbrook Orchard is one such destination to put on your agenda – check in with their website for opening times and to find out about their fruits in season.
Orange Regional Gallery
If art is up your alley, you can’t leave Orange without a visit to the gallery – showcasing the works of local and overseas artists and featuring interesting exhibitions, educational talks and workshops.
What to eat and where to stay
With so much produce created on its own doorstep, eating out in Orange is an event in itself with many cuisines to choose from. Accommodation is as characterful as the town – with many options for every budget. From vineyard stays to garden and city apartments and hotels both modern and heritage inspired, as well as mountain cabins and camping and caravan sites in the mix – finding something suitable is all part of the adventure. It goes without saying that if it’s school holidays, a public holiday weekend or there’s a festival or event of some kind on in the area’s calendar – be sure to book ahead.
Anything else I need to know
Orange is one of those extra amazing places where there’s so much on the calendar year-round – you really can’t miss out regardless of when you’re there — another big tick for this great town! So now it’s over to you to make the adventure happen. Happy travels!