While we are still able to travel regionally, I rallied the girls and took a road trip last weekend to Orange, in the Central West of NSW.
A 3.5hr drive from Sydney, we stopped for a country bakery fix at the recommended Schwarz Bakery in Wentworth Falls, and was lucky enough to stumble across a gift store selling locally made delights.
Always one to support a fellow small business owner, I walked away from It's The Little Things with the most fabulous rose gold, knotted leather earrings that didn't leave my lobes for the rest of the weekend.
The forecast was for a cold and wet few days, so we had jackets and thermals packed - but it turns out when you're tasting wines, it doesn't take long to warm up!
Orange is nearly 900m above sea level which explains the drop in temperature; and I learned that there are over 60 wineries in the area! Clearly too many for one weekend, so we've vowed to return when it's a little warmer and the leaves are back on the trees.
If you're thinking of making a trip West yourself, be sure to pre-book all your wine tastings and restaurants.
With that damned Covid 19 Virus, each venue has strict policies with regards to numbers. You are unable to arrive without a reservation, and most tastings are an hour only, so there will be no lingering with your glass of Chardy in the cellar doors. Taste, purchase, and head off to the next winery!
Likewise with the restaurants. All had set menus, required pre-booking and sittings of 2hours.
Scroll down for the photos; but our itinerary went something like this:
Friday lunchtime pittstop & loo break - Schwarz Bakery, Wentworth Falls
Power shop at It's the Little Things - Wentworth Falls
1.30pm arrive Orange and check in to the gorgeous Byng Street Hotel
2pm - wine tasting at Phillip Shaw
4pm - wine tasting at Printhe Wines
6pm - drinks back at the Hotel
7pm - Mr Lim - modern Asian (delish and oh so efficient!)
9pm - we hit one of the many local pubs in Orange
9.15am Beautiful complimentary breakfast at Byng St Hotel
A morning of shopping - Jumbled at The Sonic is a must visit. There's a cafe inside too, if you need a caffine fix!
1pm - Wine Tasting at Ferment - this wine bar showcases wines of the area who are smaller vineyards and who don't have their own cellar doors. It is also conveniently located right next door to the Byng St Hotel!
2.30 - lunch & wines by the fire back in the hotel.
6.30 - dinner at Union Bank (incredible food & beautiful chairs!)
Sunday looked like this:
Breakfast in the Hotel - did I mention how good the brekkie is here? Check out the wall hanging too, I wanted to take it home with me...
Morning Tea in Millthorpe, a lovely little town 20mins from Orange with heritage buildings, unique shops and a yummy providore
Lunch Stop in Carcoar, which packs a punch for it's tiny size. Carcoar has even more heritage buildings, a must see store called Tomolly and a new, Italian restaurant called Antica that looked incredible but was fully booked!
Home by 4pm.
Now if that's not the most ideal way to spend a couple of days, I don't know what is!
Obviously we only scratched (sipped!?) the surface, as there is so much more to discover. I'd love to do some of the walks and see the falls next time, as well as visit more wineries!
Food, Wine, Shopping, Friends, Fires, Country Hospitality and Fresh Air.
It doesn't get much better.
Byng St Hotel:
Mr Lim - usually has fun Karaoke we are told, but not in Covid Times :(
Ferment Wine Bar:
Union Bank for Dinner:
Tomolly in Carcoar
Antica in Carcoar: