International travel is off the cards for the foreseeable future thanks to the unprecedented year that has been 2020. While it may seem like tragic news, we like to look on the brighter side of things, like the fact it's the perfect opportunity to explore some of Australia's best destinations.
While many flock to coastal towns for the summer, essentially ensuring they're more crowded than ever, we're opting to explore one of the country's more precious gems. And, in our opinion, coolest regions (literally and figuratively) for a getaway this festive season: Orange, NSW.
Whether it's a weekend away with friends, your partner or you're going solo, there's something for everyone in the Central Tablelands' town. We've rounded up the best reasons to visit, below.
With so many amazing local producers in the region you can be assured you'll be served the freshest and finest dishes straight from farm to table.
Renowned for its cool-climate wines, with over 80 vineyards and nearly 40 cellar doors, wine-tasting is a must in Orange. Embark on an organised tour to sample the best delectable drops the region has to offer or go your own way.
If after sipping your way through Orange's amazing wineries and cellar doors you want to move onto something a little stronger, you're going to want to pay a visit to the Parrot Distilling Co. Spend a little time in their Aviary either with a gin tasting or cocktail hour between 4pm and 6pm Thursday to Sunday.
Located just outside Orange, Borenore Karst Conservation Reserve is the perfect playground for adventure, no matter your age.
Take your spoils from the local wineries and producers to picnic with or explore the scenic trails. The highlight of reserve, however, is the ancient limestone caves full of stalactites, stalagmites, columns and flowstones.
Keeping cool on the warm summer days is a breeze with a visit to the stunning and tranquil Lake Canobolas.
Located at the foot of Mount Canobolas there's plenty to do from swimming and canoeing to fishing and picnicking, all surrounded by beautiful, spacious scenery.
Orange's natural swimming holes are not patrolled by lifeguards. Please supervise children and take all necessary precautions.
Is it truly the festive season without a giant bowl of cherries ready for devouring? That's why there's no better time to visit Orange than the summer time.
As NSW's highest altitude cherry growing region, you can cherry pick to your hearts' content. If cherries aren't your favourite fruit you can visit one of the many orchards or berry farms in the region.
Orange has a number of superb galleries and museums from the Age of Fishes Museum (which houses a fossil collection that was once described by Sir David Attenborough as 'world class') to the Rosebank Art Gallery in the beautiful Old Bank Chambers.
Opened in 2017, the beautifully designed Orange Regional Museum offers a wide range of permanent and temporary exhibitions that focus on the cultures, people and stories of the region. Nearby, the Orange Regional Gallery showcases and supports local talent, as well as some national and international art. The gallery is currently undergoing a major extension and renovation, and is set to reopen in 2021.
Literary buffs will love a trip to the Banjo Patterson Poetry Museum at Yeoval, an hour's drive north west from orange where Banjo grew up.
However, we can't go past the Twentieth Century Toy Museum housing over 2000 classic 20th century toys that are sure to fill you with nostalgic joy. The museum is located in the village of Carcoar, which in itself is like a living museum and is often referred to as 'The Town That Time Forgot'.
There's more to Orange than just, well, Orange. From the idyllic gum-tree lined laneways of Borenore known for its local produce to the heritage-listed township of Milthorpe offering fine dining and boutique stores, there are many vintage villages to explore.
There are fewer adventures as magical and romantic as hot air ballooning. Located in Canowindra, an hour's drive south west of Orange, the hot air ballooning comes complete with a champagne breakfast. It's the perfect way to see the picturesque Belubula Valley.
This article was brought to you by Orange360.