10 unforgettable outdoor adventures in Orange
Orange is known for its incredible cool-climate wines. But when it’s time to take a break from wine-tasting, there are plenty of other outdoor activities to experience. Get back to nature in Orange with these 10 adventures.
Explore Mount Canobolas
This dormant volcano last erupted about 11 million years ago, creating a remarkable natural environment that you can explore on the walking tracks of the Mount Canobolas State Conservation Area. Almost 1,000 species of plants and animals have been recorded in the park, from silver-leaf candlebark trees to flame robins, so bring your birdwatching book and keep your eyes peeled.
The network of short walks in the park include the 2km loop Nature Walking Track, with its snow gums, spring wildflowers and dramatic views from Mount Canobolas Lookout, also known as The Walls Lookout. You can also take the 2.1km return Summits Walking Track, which connects two peaks: Mount Canobolas (also known as Old Man Canobolas) and Young Man Canobolas. That links up with the 900m Snowgum Walking Track, which in turn takes you to the challenging Federal Falls Walk, a 4km loop through snow gum forest and down a steep track to the base of the falls.
Take a peek from the peak
For an alternative (but equally spectacular) view, head to Pinnacle Reserve and Lookout. It’s a steep 10-minute walk from the car park up to Towac Peak, where you’ll be rewarded with a stunning vista of Orange and the Towac Valley – especially dramatic at sunrise or sunset.
Discover Borenore Caves
Ancient limestone caves are the main drawcard at the Borenore Karst Conservation Reserve. From the Borenore picnic area, it’s a short 700m loop walk to the main attraction: Arch Cave, where you can take your time exploring the stunning stalagmites, stalactites and columns (bring a torch). Or, take a 7km return hike along Boree Creek trail, through bushland of yellow box gums and apple box trees, to Verandah Cave, where you can sit in the shade, have a bite to eat, and keep an eye out for platypuses in the pools.
Go for gold at Mullion Range
Just north of Orange, near the historic goldfields of Ophir, you’ll find Mullion Range State Conservation Area, offering a winning combination of views, wildlife and fascinating gold rush heritage. Follow the 2.6km loop Historic Water Race Walking Track, built by gold miners in the 1860s. It will take you to The Falls Water Falls, where you can have a swim, fish off the bank, or just admire the cascading water. Keep an eye out for rosellas, superb parrots and owls.
Stroll through the botanic gardens
Wander the Orange Botanic Gardens and soak up some seasonal floral beauty. If you take the Country Walk, you’ll pass the homestead garden, a billabong, native and exotic woodlands, a heritage orchard and rose garden. Throw in an old country church, a sundial and the stainless-steel Federation Arch sculpture, and you get a pretty magical place, with views, bird watching and picnic possibilities galore.
Learn about history and heritage at Cook Park
Follow the self-guided Cook Park Heritage Walk to discover this remarkable, heritage-listed park in the heart of Orange. Proclaimed in 1873, it is a superb example of a Victorian-era park, with straight paths, immaculate lawns and stunning gardens. After inspecting local arts and crafts in the Park Guildry (the original caretaker’s cottage), your stroll through Cook Park will take you past a bandstand, fernery, duck pond, artillery pieces, an aviary and more. The mature trees – including oaks, elms and redwoods – are stunning, and the flowers (from tulips and daffodils in spring to begonias in autumn) an absolute delight.
Get going on two wheels
Known for dramatic rolling hills and bucolic vineyard scenery, the Orange region of NSW has plenty of splendour to explore on two wheels all year round. Every season provides a different backdrop for your ride: in spring and summer, the countryside is all brilliant greens and yellows, giving way to fiery autumnal colours, and the crisp and snowy backdrop of winter.
And the good news is there’s something for everyone, whether you’re an avid racing cyclist, are into mountain biking, like a leisurely sightseeing ride or want to set off with the whole family. From city streets to cycle loops in beautiful reserves, the Orange region is breeze to explore on two wheels.
For those who really want to challenge themselves, try the six stage Orange Villages Bike Trail. Don’t want to go it alone? Join a guided cycling tour with .
Take a deep dive into Aboriginal culture
Learn about the traditional custodians of the land, the Wiradjuri People, on an Indigenous Cultural Adventures tour. Hosted and guided by local Wiradjuri Elders, these tours take you off the beaten path to share the significant heritage of the surrounding land, which the First Nations people have lived on for more than 65,000 years. Every tour includes a tasting of bush tucker, so bring your appetite.
Enjoy a bird’s-eye view
Known as the hot-air balloon capital of Australia, Canowindra is the perfect destination to take a picturesque flight on gentle winds over the Belubula Valley. Balloon Joy Flights offer sunrise flights followed by a champagne breakfast. Is there any better way to start the day?
Take time out for a tee
Keen golfers will love the championship 18-hole Duntryleague Golf Course, a historic club just two minutes from the heart of Orange. Make sure to leave time at the end of your round to enjoy the 19th hole – the clubhouse offers spectacular views over the countryside.