Winter blues is a legit thing. Especially when you scroll through Instagram and everyone is in sunny Europe.
If you’re not in the Greek Islands right now we suggest exploring your own backyard.
Orange is an easy four-hour drive from Sydney and it’s an ideal winter getaway without the hefty price tag or long-haul flight.
Here are our picks on where to stay, what to see and most importantly, where to drink when you’re in Orange.
- Where to stay
We were lucky enough to be invited to spend two nights at Lakeview Luxury Retreat, about 15 minutes out of Orange.
There are only three villas on the rural property so you feel the serenity as soon as you arrive.
We stayed in the two-bedroom villa which was warm, inviting, clean and the bed was one of the most comfortable I’ve slept in.
The breakfast offering was nothing short of lavish. The fridge was full of delicious produce including local cheeses, wine, meats, eggs, homemade bread… I could go on. We were grazing the entire long weekend and there was still plenty to spare.
Have breakfast outside as the view of the rolling hills starts your day off right. If you wake up early enough you’ll spot kangaroos, we saw four!
2. Where to eat
Orange has fully embraced the farm-to-table movement, which promotes serving local food at cafés and restaurants.
We started our morning with the breakfast hamper provided by Lakeview, then we grabbed our cup of coffee and cake from a little-known spot in town called Sugar Mill café.
For lunch, we dived into the shared cheese and meat platter from Agrestic Grocer, filling up on seasonal veggies, meat, cheeses and breads.
For a true foodie experience, finish your day at Tonic restaurant in Milthorpe, which is a 20-minute drive from Orange. The three-course menu was hearty fine dining at its best.
3. Where to drink
The town has attracted a lot of ex-Sydney-siders escaping the high price tag of the city, with that comes a burgeoning scene of arts, culture and food.
So, I was pleasantly surprised to find the nightlife and talent (Farmer Wants a Wife anyone?) was lively.
For Friday night drinks we opted for The Union Bank where you can sample the best of Orange vino.
Their Wine Bar also offers a more refined drinking experience.
4. What to do
No trip to Orange is complete without wineries, so we jumped on the Orange Wine Tour and visited four standouts:
- The Ross Hill cellar door is run by larger than life personality James Robson, they have just started doing cooking classes so booking into a session would be an absolute hoot if he has anything to do with it.
- Brangayne of Orange is run by the seriously-passionate-about-wine David Hoskins who has a deep understanding of the tones and flavours of each bottle.
- Colmar Estate is nestled in the most stunning setting, for that Insta-worthy shot in the vines you’ll definitely get it here. Owner Bill Shrapnel has great knowledge of his wines and its French roots.
- The rags-to-riches story of Orange Mountain Wines owners Terry and Julie is inspiring. Terry has a down-to-earth approach to wine which is refreshing.
5. When to go
The first ever Winter Fire Festival kicked off in 2018 from Aug 3-5th.
The launch of the festival happened in Milthorpe where we went to the lively night markets featuring drum bonfires, live music with food and drink stalls.
On night two we went to the Wassailing event, which is based on the ancient custom of singing to the trees to ensure a good fruit harvest. After the ceremony, we chatted away to strangers and new friends over mulled cider by the bonfire and ate a hearty two-course dinner.
There’s plenty of options for lunch but The Greenhouse of Orange showcased African drumming and dancing, served with delicious barbecue street fare. Great vibes at the perfect time of year.
– Written by Saarah Gul for Yahoo7 Be