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Orange - The City Of Colour
orange nswThe Central Tablelands of New South Wales are often overshadowed by the more popular coastal tourist destinations, but they should not be forgotten, because they are actually home to some of the country's most unique and attractive country towns. Orange is one of these and lies to the central west of the Tablelands, just 260 kilometres west of Sydney. This, as well as the fact that it is positioned on the western side of the amazing Great Dividing Range, makes it an ideal destination for a weekend getaway. It also enjoys a close proximity to regional centres Bathurst and Dubbo, making Orange a popular destination for a wide range of visitors.

Originally known as 'Blackman's Swamp', Orange has now come to be known as 'The city of Colour'. Many people mistake this town for the home of oranges, but it is actually far from this. Orange is a huge grower of apples and is home to half of the state's apple crops. However, this is not the only thing that keeps this regional haven so strong. A diverse economy and status as the largest city in the central-western district, as well as a pleasant blend of history and cosmopolitan, evident in the beautifully restored buildings that line the main street., all contribute to making this an incredible city. The elegance and splendour of the 19th Century shine through the buildings' stained glass windows and the wide, tree-lined streets. The attractive parks and gardens that are scattered through out the city show off the four distinct seasons, bringing the city to life with each passing weather change.

The city of Orange offers a wealth of fantastic things to do; so much so that you will never run out. For those wishing to gain a historical understanding of the city, take a drive along the Orange Heritage Trail, which will introduce you to the beautiful grand old buildings of the town. This drive will take you on a journey through the past, placing special emphasis on a number of old churches, the historic courthouse and Town Hall.

Orange also experiences some of Australia's best parts of nature, which is most evident though the multitudes of parks and gardens, scattered throughout the city. The Botanical Gardens and the Cook Park Heritage Park are particularly stunning, and are full of some amazing walking tracks and trails. If you are after more of a rugged, untouched environment, take a trip up to Mount Canobalas. Here you can visit the lake and either canoe or engage in some very rewarding fishing (depending on the season).

If you are after a wedge of Orang's history, leave a day spare to vsit the local caves. If you head along Trunkey Cree - Goulbourn Road and you will come across Abercrombie Caves. This historical site offers some great cave tours, camping, hiking, fossicking for gems and gold, swimming and fishing. This cave is also the home of 'The Archway', which is the largest natural arch in the Southern hemisphere. Other fantastic caves that you can visit locally include the Borenore caves. This tourist attraction is ideal for a relaxing family day out and is the dwelling of several tunnel and arch caves.

A visit to the Nungar National Park should also be on your to-do list while in the Orange region. The park is home to dramatic escarpments which offer spectacular views of the Nangar Ridge, a magnificent cliff line that you will definitely need the camera for. The terrain is rather rugged, so it would be wise to hire a 4WD to trek through this particular area. However, it is well worth it because the lookout on the top of the ridge has the most breathtaking views you could possibly imagine.

Apples aren't the only thing that Orange is famous for; Orange is also the birthplace of the famous Australian poet, Banjo Paterson. While in town, the Banjo Patterson Park is a must-see as is is home to a Memorial of the great Australian writer. A monument can also be found in the civic gardens, and this pays tribute to the most famous and admired bush poet, who wrote those all too familiar words of "Waltzing Matilda".

To see Orange from a whole new perspective, let your adventurous spirit take hold and embark on the hot-air ballooning adventure of a lifetime. Take a short drive to the village of Canowindra, the 'Hot Air Ballooning Capital of Australia!" to see Orange and all of its splendour from the air and experience the true wonders of the New South Wales Tablelands.

Although the Orange already sounds too good to be true, it gets even better, owing to the vast amount of accommodation options on offer. Choose to campervan or camp in one of the local caravan parks, or for a more comfortable stay, book yourself in at one of the welcoming bed & breakfast's or hotels and motels. Orange is guaranteed to offer something for all!

So whether it's from the air, the ground or on the edge of the Nangar Ridge, Orange is certain to take entice, excite and exhilarate you!

Christine Barton

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