“I slept in a train. I slept in a train.’ Our five year old still tells anyone who will listen about the time we stayed the night in a converted train carriage only a short distance from our beloved Orange Region.
Central West NSW is the Australia found in storybooks. Wide flat brushstrokes of countryside, set alight by the biggest of blue skies and blazing sunsets. It is paddocks edged with red dirt, tumble down barns, bush rangers (or ‘dead guys’, as our five year old calls them), brumbies and train stations abandoned in the pursuit of gold.
It’s the kind of place that reminds us to breathe deep and slow down. And yes, the grown ups in this clan adore the food and wine of the area – surprise, surprise! Some of you may remember how we gushed about Mudgee, another favourite of ours.
However, this trip wasn’t really about a destination, but rather about a meander down the slow road. I’m not sure how long the three and half hour drive actually took us. We stopped when it took our fancy or on a little person’s demands, because we could.
It was a whim of a trip, a blank weekend in the calendar, snatched, accommodation booked late one Thursday night. We just packed a ‘let’s just see’ mindset and little else.
My favourite stop in the Orange Region was…
Millthorpe has my heart – pretty streets, great coffee, fabulous food and some lovely second hand shops to peruse. We parked the car and wandered. I’m amazed at how such a tiny town can squeeze all this delight into a few streets.The Old Mill Café rescued us when we realised we had forgotten to pack our coffee pot. Apologies for the blurry picture, but I had some urgent coffee drinking to do. And, yes, the coffee is good.
Pizza on Pym, because the wood fired pizzas are great, the owners are just lovely and the courtyard out the back is cute and kid friendly, too boot. Gerry’s @ The Commercial set our steak lover’s heart aflutter. It’s the kind of hearty menu that gives maximum comfort factor without sacrificing taste. I adore that there are no pokies and no TV.
We stopped for tea with parents of a dear friend at Carcoar (pronounced carcaw), but whenever we go I need to remind myself the town is the real deal, not a film set.
It’s not a tourist town. There’s not a lot to do, other than drive around dogs sleeping in the middle of the street, but it is a time machine town and you won’t regret stopping there for a wander and a pint and a pie at the Royal Hotel.
Our foodie vinophile (Gordon) loved Orange
Orange NSW is the beating heart of the region and is taking the food and wine thing by the balls and owning it.
The Agrestic Grocer is a great place to pick up fresh supplies and there is a craft brewhouse next door, too. Gordon’s favourite vineyards were Philip Shaw and Mayfield. And, yes, he wishes we had known about the new and amazing sounding restaurant, Percy’s, MrandMrsRomance and Not Quite Nigella both mention in their posts on Orange.
Just quietly, there is a great big adventure playground, at the back of the Orange Botanical Gardens, for little legs to let off steam after a long drive or as a sales pitch for hanging out in grown up places for too long, if you catch my drift…
The train that stood still
I suspect our big boy will always remember the first time he slept in the train carriage near the town of Barry. He didn’t want to leave.