Orange

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Grey nomads head to Orange in NSW
The peaceful Royal Botanic Gardens in Orange Photo: Tourism NSW

If those who named the New South Wales city of Orange had known how much appeal it would have to Australia’s mature-aged travellers, they might well have called it ‘Grey’ instead.

There are a good many rea­sons why the ‘Colour City’ is so firmly on the radar of motorhomers and caravan­ners, not the least of which is its burgeoning reputation for producing some of the coun­try’s finest food and wine.

Situated just 3.5 hours to Sydney’s north west, and with a population of around 40,000, Orange – which is famed for its numerous parks and gardens and historic build­ings, as well as its produce – is strikingly beautiful.

The changing colours of the trees that line Orange’s streets make autumn a very popular time to visit, and many travel­lers try to time their trip with F.O.O.D. (Food Of Orange District) Week, which is held every April. The area’s cool cli­mate and volcanic soils means it produces everything from apples, pears and stone fruits to sheep’s cheeses and grapes. If you are eager to sample some of the local produce from Orange’s fertile sur­rounds, the Farmers’ Market held on the second Saturday of every month is a great place to start.

The perfect way to get your bearings here is to take the Orange Heritage Trail, a self-guided walk that will guide you past many magnifi­cent 19th century buildings, including the Holy Trinity Church, Orange Court House, and Orange Town Hall. Other points of interest include the Botanic Gardens, the regional art gallery, and, of course, the statues to bush poet, Banjo Patterson, who was born nearby.

Being a major regional centre, Orange has a full range of shops and services, and a number of caravan parks to cater to road-weary grey nomads. There is also 24-hour free camping available inside the showgrounds for fully self-contained caravans and RVs.

It’s certainly not a city you will want to rush away from, but most grey nomads eventually heed the call of the 50 or so cool-climate wineries that are close by. Cheers!

Another visitor magnet is the 1,395-metre Mount Canobo­las, which offers amazing views over the area. The lake at the foot of the mountain, which was originally created back in 1918 to supply water to Orange, is now a popular place for fishing, swimming, boating and having a picnic. A walking track meanders around the lake.

Other longer walks start from the Mount Canobolas Con­servation area, which is home to the small but very popular, Federal Falls Campground.

There is also great free camping at the Macquarie Woods Forestry Reserve Campground about 30 kilometres south east of Orange.  It is a large area in the beautiful Vittoria State Forest with approximately 50 sites and is suitable for caravans and has long drop toilets.

Other camping options in the area include  at the Nangar National Park, 70 kilometres from Orange. It boasts spectacular scenery, the majesty of Mount Nangar itself, and a host of wonderful wildlife.

It’s also worth exploring a number of interesting vil­lages near Orange, including Blayney and its sprawling wind farm, and the historic settlements of Milthorpe and Molong.

So much for grey nomads to see, and so much time for most of them to do it. Don’t rush away, will you?

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