Whoohooo…the My Open Kitchen Gathering is this weekend and I was just thinking, some attendees might be coming with family who might be looking for things to do while we are doing our thing at the Old Convent.
So…here are a few ideas for activities/outings you and your family could before, during and after the Gathering. Of course it is far from comprehensive and completely subjective so please do hit up the fantastically helpful staff at the Visit Orange information centre who will sort you out with more ideas plus maps, bookings, advice and general niceness.
So here are 10 fun family-ish ideas;
- Pack a picnic and head out to Lake Canobolas. Just 10 minutes out of town, there’s a great walking track around the lake, plus playground, flying foxes and lots of ducks to feed. Another option for lunch, just up the road from the lake is Italian BYO restaurant Fiorinis, one of my favourite spots for a tasty lunch served in the best Italian style – the owners love kids and have created a friendly, warm environment in this pretty little spot at the base of Mount Canobolas. Because of this, it’s often booked out so do call in advance to reserve a table (02 6365 3863).
- Spend a morning at the fantastic Paddock to Plate Exhibition at the Orange Regional Museum. My kids just loved this; there are some top interactive activities and an activity book to fill in as you go around the exhibition. Then they can roll down the grass roof of the museum while you sip a great coffee from the Groundstone Cafe (in the same building) . Just across the courtyard from the Museum is the Orange Regional Gallery which is currently showing the most beautiful exhibition ‘Interiors’ complete with a Cressida Campbell piece I’d die to have on my walls; plus interiors by Brett Whiteley, Luke Sciberras, Margaret Olley, Grace Cossington Smith and many more artists.
- If it’s a nice day, drive the 15 minutes out of Orange to the Fourth Crossing Picnic area – great spot to explore old mining history, some good walking tracks and creeks to splash around in. Apparently good for trout fishing too though that’s not an area of expertise for me!
- Visit some of the more family friendly cellar doors and keep everyone happy! Take a soccer ball out to Philip Shaw Wines and the kids can have a run around the incredible gardens while you do a wine tasting. Then keep heading up Pinnacle Road to Ross Hill Wines where again, there’s plenty of room for the kids to run around outside while you taste a few wines and nibble on a platter of local produce by the fireplace. And don’t miss Heifer Station’s cellar door which is always a fantastic stop, they have a cute petting zoo and mini farm that will keep the kids super happy and the wines and platters are excellent too.
- Any golfers out there? Duntry League golf course is one of the prettiest in the country, especially in Autumn.
- What about musicians? Or more to the point, guitarists? The Orange Regional Conservatorium is hosting an afternoon of guitar goodness with with drop in lessons from 2pm and a concert at 6pm by Callum Henshaw.
- This one is a bit out of the box but hear me out – the town of Manildra, which is about 35 minutes out of Orange, is home to one of the last, purpose-built art deco theatres in the country. The Amusu Theatre has been operated by the same family since it was built in 1936 and boasts some impressive movie memorabilia, basically, it’s a super fun place to see a movie. Movie Theatre expert, Professor Ross Thorne, has described it as “a living icon of the importance of film and cinema in the course and pattern of NSW’s cultural history”. Anyway, the guys at Amusu hold monthly movie nights and tonight, May 19 is one – they are screening, the Greatest Showman on Earth at 7.30pm. You could drive out around 5pm, grab an early dinner at the Manildra pub then catch the movie. Call 0418 452 902 to book.
- In the other direction, about 20 minutes south-east of Orange is the gorgeous historic village of Millthorpe and 25 minutes further along from that is Carcoar. Both villages boast great cafes, restaurants, plenty of picnic spots and are just so pretty they are worth a visit just to wander around and take in the picturesque main streets and historic buildings. The Millthorpe Museum is my Tom’s favourite place – it’s absolutely bursting with juicy historical facts, lots of old agricultural equipment, history of Australian inventions and so so so much more.
- A more recent addition to the Orange scene is the Greenhouse of Orange, a huge complex right in the centre of town, and best of all it’s totally and utterly family friendly. The Greenhouse are great supporters of local produce and wines and their huge kids pavilion is a wonder; kitted out with virtual reality games, oversize chess sets, a small playground, lots of books and good things and kids love it there. The kids meals are really good too.
- Head out to Hillside Orchard to pick the last of the pink lady apples then warm up inside by the fire with an apple pie and coffee.