Spend a few days exploring one of the most colourful parts of NSW. From the beautiful Blue Mountains to the famous foodie centre of Orange, there’s delicious food, wine and beer awaiting you at every stop.
Journey: Blue to Orange
Duration: 4-5 days
Eco tour through the Blue Mountains
Wine tasting in Orange
Lunch at award-winning Tonic restaurant
Cooking class at Ross Hill Wines
Explore the famous Mayfield Garden
Day 1: Explore the Blue Mountains
Leura is one of the prettiest towns in the Blue Mountains and is only a 90min drive from Sydney.
Spend the morning browsing the boutiques of Leura village for homewares and locally made art. Take in the incredible vistas the region is famous for at one of many lookouts; Sublime Point is an easy walk and you can see the Three Sisters and native birds. For lunch, The Lookout Echo Point offers a restaurant, wine bar and cafe with extraordinary views, or try Leura Garage for pizza and local wines with a lively atmosphere. A private half-day Tread Lightly 4WD tour will allow you to access remote wilderness areas and learn about local history, indigenous culture and the flora and fauna.
Make a pit stop at Mountain Culture, a Katoomba-based brewery canning small-batch craft beer in a converted printing press, and order a burger to go with their range of ales, lagers and stouts. Stay the night at Lilianfels Blue Mountains Resort and Spa, a historic country mansion set amongst manicured gardens. If you haven’t already had your fill, the on-site restaurant, Darley’s, is a gastronomic ode to old-world charm.
Start the day off slowly with a walk around Orange Botanic Gardens, 17 hectares of native and exotic plants, including a heritage orchard and rose garden.
For lunch, head to the restaurant at The Agrestic Grocer for dishes made from local produce with a sustainable focus. Be sure to take some of their housemade pickles and relish with you. Sharing the space is Badlands Brewery, who make characterful brews using ingredients like hazelnuts, black truffles, figs and rum. Time to try some wine; the vineyard at Heifer Station enjoys a balance of elevation and sunshine, perfect for growing chardonnay, pinot noir, pinot gris, merlot and shiraz. The winery offers private picnics and roaming tasting tours amongst the vines.
Visit family-owned estate Swinging Bridge to try premium cool climate wine; tastings are run by extremely knowledgeable staff on the verandah with views out to Mount Canobolas. The newest place for a sundowner is Parrot Distilling Co., a gin distillery with a just-opened cellar door, The Aviary. End the day with dinner at Charred Kitchen & Bar, which offers creative fine dining accompanied by an award-winning 90-page wine list.
Work off the delicious dinner with an early morning hike in the Mount Canobolas State Conservation Area.
Take the Spring Glade walking track to make it to the summit or the Nature walking trail for a more leisurely option (decorated with wildflowers in spring). The Vine to Table experience at Rowlee Wines takes you through the winemaking process, offers a tasting amongst the grapes and finishes with a three-course lunch at nearby Sisters Rock Restaurant matched with Rowlee wines. Book ahead for a cider tasting at Small Acres Cyder or take a 20min detour to Pioneer Brewing in Bowan Park to taste their award-winning beers made from barley, rye and wheat grown and harvested on site.
Philip Shaw is a must visit in Orange; sample the award-winning wines in the cellar door set in a restored stone barn (bookings essential). Improve your culinary prowess with a class at Ross Hill’s Barrell & Larder cooking school (and enjoy the results with matched wines). They offer a range of classes, from Italian to Sri Lankan, with the occasional celebrity chef thrown in. Or if you prefer your dinner made for you, try modern Japanese at Raku Izakaya or contemporary classics by a Rockpool-trained chef at The Schoolhouse Restaurant at Union Bank.
Check out of Byng Street Boutique Hotel after a final delicious breakfast.
The region is renowned for its produce – spend the morning picking your own cherries, berries, apricots, peaches, plums, nectarines and apples if you’re visiting from summer to autumn at Hillside Harvest and Thornbury Orchard (which also has figs, pears and persimmons).
Head back to Sydney via the Mayfield Garden, more than 100 hectares of mobility- and pet-friendly cool climate gardens to stroll through. Have lunch at the seasonal garden cafe before you make your way home.