Guides

Your Definitive Guide To Planning A Romantic Country Getaway In Orange, NSW

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Everyone loves Orange, an idyllic spot 3.5 hours from Sydney in NSW’s Central West, where the slow life doesn’t mean giving up the good life. With all the ingredients needed for the ultimate romantic country getaway, this is a town that loves you back.

Orange is emerging from pandemic life stronger than ever, enjoying quite the uptick in adoring fans who have more time to holiday regionally. Even the drive there has multiple fabulous stop-offs that enrich the whole experience.

People fall hard and fast for this nirvana of local cheer and high-calibre amenities. Think country town charm with picturesque scenery, crisp mountain air and Federation-era homes, plus delicious food, cool-climate vineyards and design-led boutiques. It’s not hard to understand why Orange has become one of our hottest destinations.

So if you’re wanting to spoil your other half with a romantic country getaway, all you basically need to do is turn up and let Orange work its magic.

After spending seriously great two-and-a-half days in Orange with the owner of The White Place, Alex Pilcher, we’ve put together locally endorsed tips that make for the perfect couple’s getaway. Even if you choose just one place from each of the below categories, you’ll score some serious brownie points.

Where To Stay

 

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We trotted off to Orange during autumn – a totally magical and wonderful time to visit, especially if romance is on the agenda. The streets are a total feast for the eyes, lined with trees brimming with leaves of yellow, orange and red. While this season is our top pick, springtime would be just as lovely with its cherry blossoms.

The White Place in Orange has two stunning four-bedroom renovated homes on offer, so if you want to combine your getaway with another couple or two, these homes offer luxurious comfort. ‘Casey’ is the newer and smaller of the two, with a more contemporary vibe. ‘Byng’ is closer in town and larger with its own pool, offering the same lush furnishings (that you can actually buy from The White Place store in town) but in a more traditional package.

If you prefer to keep things more private, 10 minutes outside town you’ll find renowned Rowlee Wines, who have a homestead on site among their vineyards and gardens. Also furnished by Alex and her team at The White Place, it’s heritage on the outside and modern on the inside. Another winery offering accommodation is Nashdale Lane, with luxury glamping.

If hotels in the thick of things are more your shtick, the Byng Street Boutique Hotel is another good choice. The original homestead was built in 1896 but it’s since received a contemporary upgrade.

Where To Drink

 

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It’d be a sin to come to Orange on your romantic country getaway without visiting a few of the 60+ cool climate vineyards that take advantage of the area’s rich volcanic basalt soil.

You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to wonderful wineries, but top cellar door experiences include Philip Shaw, which is a perfect example of what Orange wines are all about: great cool climate pinot noir and chardonnay. Rowlee Wines has some of the best wines in the region and unique varietals, like their Arneis and Nebbiolo. Swinging Bridge Wines has nailed a blanc de blanc and the Pinot Noir from De Salis is an absolute must.

Nashdale Lane offer everything from Chardonnay and Rosé to Shiraz in a 70-year-old converted apple picking shed, with luxury glamping accommodation options on site. Ross Hill wines is the only Australian producer of carbon neutral wines. Further out you’ll find Heifer Station, where you can enjoy a wine tasting in a 100-year-old shearing shed on the slopes of Mt Canobolas.

For bars back in town, you cannot go past Birdie Noshery & Drinking Est (from the owners of Lolli Redini) and Washington & Co. whiskey saloon. If handcrafted seasonal gin made using local and foraged botanicals is more your drop, then make a stop at Parrot Distilling Co.

Where To Eat

Orange is known as the food bowl of NSW so you’re in for multiple treats. If you want to impress your other half, book a table at chef’s hatted Lolli Redini, the ‘matriarch of the Orange dining scene’. They’ve managed to keep their hat since establishment in 2001, so that’s saying something.

Charred is another firm favourite. This is an unassuming restaurant where the dishes speak for themselves, including their incredible desserts. The recently refurbished The Union Bank’s The Schoolhouse restaurant, led by ex-Rockpool chef Dom Abboud is another great spot for dinner and cocktails. For after dinner gelato, Spilt Milk is your ticket.

For something a bit fun without skimping on quality eats, Mr Lim is your destination for Korean-Chinese cuisine and if you feel up for it, a bit of late-night karaoke (and they’ve brought that concept to Potts Point in Sydney with their new restaurant Diana, too).

As far as cafes are concerned, Orange punches. For something a little more low-key with very good coffee, hit up Good Eddy. Their menu is succinct but they nail each item, like the smashed avocado with chunks of feta and mint oil. Another popular cafe is Groundstone (from the owners of The Agrestic Grocer), which runs a lovely seasonal menu. Then there’s local institution Byng Street Local Store.

For a decidedly romantic option, head to Anything Grows; a cafe nestled in a boutique nursery, with a botanical-filled outdoor courtyard. It’s a stone’s throw from the flower-filled Cook Park, which is made for leisurely strolls.

Racine Bakery are known for their Almond Croissants, but everything is delicious from the sourdough to the coffee. Since the pandemic, Racine have also pivoted to offer in-home dining experiences where their chefs will literally come to your residence and whip up a three course meal – something you can organise at The White Place homes and that we were lucky enough to experience.

But when you’re visiting the amazing cellar doors in the region, the most romantic option for lunch or sunset would be to organise a picnic hamper. Rowlee Wines can pack a gorgeous hamper for you to enjoy on their grounds, as can Heifer Station and Philip Shaw.

Where To Shop

You’ll quickly notice Orange is filled with incredible homewares stores and fashion boutiques. Obviously, family-run The White Place is a must, with a mix of fashion, furniture and soft furnishings. The cottage is deceptively large and you can get lost in its many beautiful rooms.

Hawkes General Store has been run by the same family for 42 years and offers a mix of fashion, bright homewares and cute baby and kids clothing (plus coffee).The Sonic is also well-known in Orange as it’s a concept store in an old Masonic hall with three businesses: iglou, Jumbled and Nimrods, offering a mix of fashion, homewares, art and coffee.

Other Things To Do

Starting the day at the Pinnacle Lookout gives a really good understanding of the beautiful Wiradjuri lands you’re exploring. The short but sharp ascent affords views over vineyards, apple trees, Lake Canobolas, beautiful gum forests and neighbouring hamlets.

The region is brimming with walks and cycling tracks: there’s Lake Canobolas Reserve, Mount Canobolas State Conservation Area, Cook Park Heritage Walk in town (perfect for a romantic stroll) and much more. However, the Borenore Karst Conservation Reserve with its ancient limestone caves, less than 20 minutes from Orange centre, is of particular significance.

The Orange Farmers Market (on the second weekend of every month) showcase the best seasonal local produce. If you’re after a culture fix, check out The Corner Store Gallery. The Orange Regional Gallery is also worth a wander, however, it’s closed until later in 2021 to be refurbished.

The Orange Open Air crew host pop-up outdoor cinema screenings during winter, and you can check out the annual Orange Winter Fire Festival.

But honestly, these are all icing on one very substantial cake. Orange is the kind of place where even if you stayed in on your romantic country getaway, you’d have the perfect experience: takeaway from one of the many amazing restaurants, a couple of bottles of award-winning wine and the chance to curl up in front of a fire together in your beautiful accommodation.

Want more winery inspo? These are the best across the country.


AWOL stayed as a guest of The White Place.

(Lead image: Destination NSW / Rowlee Wines)