Orange, in Central West NSW, is building its reputation for food and wine, so it makes for a great weekend away for couples wanting to indulge their palates and bellies. But what if couples have kids and want to take them along as well? We are one of those said couples and before we visited recently, I found it very difficult to find a resource that covered all of the "family friendly" aspects of this beautiful inland city. Well now there is a guide - the Little Munch Guide to Orange!
From Sydney you need to head over the Blue Mountains to get to Orange, otherwise known as the "Colour City". You can go up via the Great Western Highway or up via the Bells Line of Road. Both trips take about 3.5 hours from the CBD, so for some fun, why not go up one way and come back the other? That's what we do! Now you will no doubt need a pit stop along the way so why not do that at one of our favourite cafes en route:
Via the Great Western Highway check out:
Via the Bells Line of Road check out:
Along the way you will drive through the lovely towns of Lithgow & Bathurst. They both have fantastic parks in case you need further pit stops for the kidlets. In Lithgow check out Queen Elizabeth Park and in Bathurst, the new Adventure Playground looks awesome! If you left Sydney in the morning you will arrive in Orange just in time for something to eat, then you might need a play and lastly you will need somewhere to stay - so here are the Little Munch recommendations for all 3!
Where to eat in Orange!
Apparently Orange has about 50 cafes (and I thinks as many pubs) - that's a lot of places to eat in a place that has a population of 40,000 people. Sadly we couldn't visit all of them (on this visit), but I do believe we found the best of the best of the family friendly places to eat in this beautiful city. Here are our top 3:
Little Munch also recommends:
Where to play in Orange!
The Adventure Playground is Orange's best playground. It's located away from the centre of town in North Orange. Right next to the playground is the picturesque Botanic Gardens - the gardens are a great place to let the kids run free, but to be honest they will probably only be interested in playing in the Adventure Playground once they see it. There are actually two playgrounds here - one is fenced off (but kids can still get through the holes in the fence!) and most suited for young kids; and the other fort like playground is great for kids that can climb and be more independent. A giant chess board is also located next to the play areas, but there wasn't a pawn in sight to play with when we visited - they must only come out to play in the middle of the day! There is also a scooter path where can kids can learn to ride and one very pretty rhino to check out! Patmos Garden Cafe is on site if you need a coffee or cool drink, but it was closed when we visited in the late afternoon so we were unable to review it.
Located at the bottom of Mount Canobolas, this serene lake is not only beautiful to look at, but it also has a beach (pack the bucket & spade) and in the warmer months you can swim, row a boat or fish in it. On the other side of the lake you find the excellent Apex Playground which you can access by running (my kids don't walk) across the board walk. Toilet facilities are located on both sides of the lake and if you are feeling peckish you can either bring along a picnic as there are BBQ facilities available or drop into the gorgeous Lakehouse Cafe like we did!
Mt Canobolas basically looks all over Orange. If you decided to drive up there to check out the view, please check the weather first (no matter what season) as it does snow in this part of the world. Make sure you have appropriate clothing and that your car is able to handle the slippery conditions if it has been raining or snowing. The drive up to Mt Canobolas is very scenic (and of course you can drop into Lake Canobolas on the way). Along the way you will see road side stalls selling all sorts of fresh produce and there are tea rooms where you can indulge in devonshire tea. Once you are at the top you might be able to see the beautiful view, if the weather wants to behave (it did not when we were up there). Besides checking out the view you can also go bush walks - I'm thinking that it would be more sensible to this in the warmer months when you have kids in tow.
The above 3 locations were our favourite spots that we visited in Orange, however there are so many more places to discover:
Other parks to visit:
Some other playgrounds to visit:
Some other family friendly ideas:
The Wineries to visit with kids:
There are about 30 wineries in Orange, and the Philip Shaw Winery (pictured below) is a great cellar door to visit with kids. They are located just on the outskirts of town, (so your kids won't get bored driving all over the countryside trying to find wineries) and they have loads of space for kids to run around, as well as a Bocce game that kids can play. Oh and their wines are very nice too! Mortimers of Orange is also meant to be welcoming of children as they have a playground! Mortimers are about 10 minutes out of town and only open on weekends. Unfortunately we ran out of time to visit them. If you all have been in the car for too long and don't fancy driving around to every single winery, you can drop by Ferment in Orange. They offer wine to taste, and to buy, from those wineries that do not have a cellar door. In our experience, couples are very welcome here, children less so. So you might need to take it in turns going in and sampling the wines.
Where to stay in Orange!
There are loads of places to stay in Orange, from high end to budget style of accommodation. If money is tight, the Colour City Caravan Park, to the north of the city centre, is a good option. You can camp, park your caravan or stay in a cabin here. There are two types of cabins available - budget and deluxe. Whilst the facilities are quite basic in the cabins, they are clean and the staff are very hospitable. I also need to let you know that the park is close to the train line, so you might hear a toot or two during the night. Seana from Sydney Kids + Travel recommends the Ibis Styles for good family accommodation and if your pockets are full of coin I suggest you stay at the de Russie Suites in the heart of Orange.
Whether you stay for a week or only a weekend, there is so much to see and do in the Colour City. If you need any further information on places that we may no have covered check out the Visit Orange website.
Have you been to Orange with the kids Little Munchers? Did we miss any family friendly gems?