The city of Orange has a population of 38,000, and is only 3 ½ hours from Sydney (3h. from Penrith) and 3 hours from Canberra. There are also 4 daily return flights between Orange and Sydney. The region is well serviced by the established cities of Orange and Blayney and the surrounding historic villages of Millthorpe, Carcoar, Molong, and Lucknow. These centres offer a full range of accommodation and dining establishments. Orange restaurateur Michael Manners of Selkirks has won the Sydney Morning Herald 2005 Award for Professional Excellence and has been awarded 2 Hats, whilst Lolli Redini in Orange and Tonic in Millthorpe have been awarded 1 Hat.
Orange also has an active Conservatorium of Music, a City Theatre which hosts major touring performances and a Regional Art Gallery. There are three golf clubs, one of which is regarded as the best in country NSW and a wide range of specialty shops and services. The fresh food retailed in Orange is high quality, local and good value, at the Farmers' Market, local butchers and fruit and vegetable shops.
The origin of Orange is gold. The first paying gold in Australia was discovered at Ophir in 1851 just 18km northeast of Orange. The villages of Millthorpe, Carcoar, Lucknow and Byng are a wonderful trip back in time with splendid historic buildings.
The Orange Region Vignerons Association (ORVA) holds the Orange Winefest in October each year and our sister group F.O.O.D (Food Of the Orange District) hold Food Week every April. These events are growing as the industry matures and expands with the excitement and recognition of these two attractions.
For many years the region has been an important cultural centre for NSW with an accessible, sophisticated, local arts and music scene.
The Orange Civic Theatre hosts a diverse range of concerts, musicals, plays, children’s shows, dance and community productions, including Bell Shakespeare, Sydney Symphony, Oz Opera, Orange Theatre Company and the Wharf Revue. The subscription program offers close to 20 contemporary Australian and International events each year.
The Orange Regional Gallery hosts over 30 exhibitions annually including major state and national exhibitions such as the Archibald Prize. The Mary Turner Collection was given to the City of Orange in 1982 and includes work by Nolan, Cossington Smith, Fairweather, Wakelin, as well as many other modern Australian masters. This ‘base’ collection has been expanded and the gallery now has well over 400 pieces.
A number of fine professional artists reside in our region, some of whom are featured in commercial galleries in Orange, Millthorpe, Carcoar, Molong and Canowindra.
The Orange Regional Conservatorium produces over 40 public concerts each year in which professional, student and amateur musicians enrich our cultural life. Concert series include “Music in the Gardens” at the Orange Botanic Gardens, “Hear it on the Grape Vine” - a wine, food and music collaboration, Toddler’s Proms, Senior’s Concerts and visiting performers’ concerts.
Pubs and bars feature local band talent and the Orange Ex-Services’ Club furnishes a comprehensive program of local and national bands and performers. Orange has two cinemas, plus you can step back in time in Manildra at the Amusu Theatre – Australia’s oldest continually operating theatre on the third Saturday of the month.
Orange has a long history of producing a wide range of agricultural products - most notably apples. You can experience everything from ‘paddock to plate’, starting with the producer and farm gate through to boutique production of value added products and renowned dining experiences.
We promote and support local, seasonal and sustainable produce. Such is our enthusiasm for food, we have a group called Food of Orange District (F.O.O.D) who started F.O.O.D Week nearly 20 years ago and we boast a rich year-round food culture.
Our horticultural produce is available from the ‘farm gate’ – just call in when you see a sign or pick up a Produce Directory from the Visitor Information Centre or on-line. Local beef, lamb and pork are available from a number of excellent genuine butcher shops.
The Orange Region Farmer’s Market is on the second Saturday of the month - meet the person who farms the product, sample the fare and taste the difference.
Sign up for a cooking class with a focus on local, seasonal produce and after that pick your own fruit and berries in season.
When it comes to dining our love for food extends across all age groups, tastes and budgets. Family friendly restaurants augment a great pub food scene and if you venture out of the towns, you’ll stumble across a picturesque winery, often with a restaurant or cafe attached to its cellar door.
Our fine dining restaurants are nationally celebrated, with several in receipt of Sydney Morning Herald Chef Hats.
We also have a number of special venues and caterers for celebrations.
Subscribe to F.O.O.D Week and our other event programs at Taste Orange or visit Orange Food Week
The region has a rich physical, cultural and man-made heritage. The traditional landowners are the Wiradjuri people. There are several important sites in the region and the grave of Aboriginal guide Yuranigh, who accompanied explorer Sir Thomas Mitchell on several expeditions can be found just outside Molong. Originally known as ‘Blackmans Swamp’, the town that is now ‘Orange’ was named by Sir Thomas Mitchell in honour of Prince William of Orange, who later became the King of Holland.
Gold was discovered in the region at Ophir, 28 km from Orange in April 1851 – the first payable gold in the Australian colonies. Ophir has a signposted walk around the old mine site and you can try your luck at gold panning in the river. Also visit Lucknow village where a walking tour takes you around several remaining mine structures and buildings.
Orange and many of the villages in the region feature impressive late 19th century architecture in public buildings, churches and homes. Some villages, such as Millthorpe and Carcoar are considered to be ‘living museums’. Canowindra is home to the ‘Age of Fishes’ Museum – housing one of the most significant fossil findings in Australian history.
Fertile volcanic soils have been the basis of a rich agricultural heritage, and the region’s museums display many examples of historical agricultural technology.
Australia’s most famous poet, Banjo Paterson was born just outside Orange and spent time growing up in the village of Yeoval. Banjo Paterson Memorial Park is at the site of his birthplace and you can also listen to Banjo Paterson poems and stories at an interactive monument located beside the Orange Visitors Information Centre.
Take a walking or driving tour with Heritage Trail brochures available from the Orange Visitor Information Centre.