micenet found the potential for this western NSW town for meetings a true surprise package. Not to mention the friendly people.
You feel like you’re just going up before you’re heading back down again when you fly from Sydney to the Orange in the Central West of NSW.
Just a click over 250km from Sydney, flying time is about one hour. And for those who don’t mind a drive, you can get there in three-and-a-half.
In late 2019 I participated in an intimate famil to Orange and left the place – like the rest of the participants – vowing to return.
Following is a snapshot of what we did and saw…
Arriving at the quaint Orange Regional Airport our group of meeting planners are met by Orange City Council’s tourism manager, Glenn Mickle, and Caddie Marshall, general manager of Orange 360, the local destination marketing organisation.
It’s apparent within the first five minutes that Glenn and Caddie are locals who just love their town – a bit of a theme here as we meet more locals on our tour.
A quick stop at the Department of Primary Industries/Orange Agricultural Institute is our first of this trip. This venue hosted the 2019 Australasian College of Dermatologists Rural Dermatology Meeting.
Next we check in to the brand spanking new QUEST Orange, a 77-room hotel located right in the CBD. The property also offers meeting rooms, a gym and a great rooftop terrace that that is perfect for a beverage after a big day of conferencing.
Lunch is a real treat with wine tasting at the award-winning Philip Shaw Wines which, like everything, is just a short drive from town. The cellar door is housed in a modern styled building but with hints of colonial architecture with some true examples found as you meander down through the landscaped gardens.
This venue has undoubtedly played host to some memorable evenings for groups.
Next stop is a tour of the conference facilities and accommodation at Charles Sturt University’s Orange campus. Accommodation is pretty basic but would work well for an association group travelling on a three-star budget.
The Hotel Canobolas in the centre of town has plenty of conference space for up to 300 guests, accommodation and a great cocktail bar, Chesterfields, where our group is invited to enjoy our beverage of choice. This property could be described as being a little bit dated but when you consider it was built around 1938 then you can understand why.
Our final stop of the day and evening was the stunning Borrodell Vineyard, described as Australia’s highest vineyard, perched high above the city of Orange at 1030m above sea level.
Borrodell is home to Sister’s Rock Restaurant with an adjacent event space and flat lawn that provides uninterrupted views of the Orange region. Our group was fortunate to receive an Acknowledgement of Country from local Wiradjuri man, Michael Newman, and the Wiradjuri dancers, before tasting some bush tucker prepared by chef Gerald Power and enjoying a meal with Borrodell owners, Borry and Gaye.
Glenn Mickle had the option of a 6am bushwalk at Federal Falls for the group on Day 2. This sleeping beauty is unsure whether there were any takers.
Breakfast – now you’re talking – was held at the beautiful Greenhouse of Orange, a rooftop space in the Orange Ex Services’ Club that has been styled and landscaped to within an inch of its life. It really is a beautiful space, resplendent with vegetable gardens that the club’s chefs no doubt visit each day. This venue would be a great place to start a new day or finish one.
Next stop was the highly impressive 22-room The Byng Street Boutique Hotel located in the heart of Orange’s heritage precinct.
This property, just recently opened, connects an historic homestead at the front with a modern contemporarily designed building at the rear. Combined they create a four-and-a-half star boutique hotel that mixes the old with the new in a seamless way that is both eye-catching and, I have to say, inspirational.
The owners, who have had long careers in the hospitality sector within Australia and internationally, are focusing wholeheartedly on the guest experience, and as such are already doing particularly well with bookings. There is real scope here to host high-end small corporate meetings.
Some time to shop in the impressive The Sonic homewares, fashion and café in the old Masonic Hall in the heart of town – a great example of the changing face of the city – and it was time for our little group to depart Orange.
We’ll be back and some even with conference groups following.