The rural city of Orange, Australia often tops the lists of the country’s best spots to travel to at this time of year – and as you drive through the town center, it’s clear why.
Bright orange trees line the roads, transporting visitors into an autumnal paradise that calls for beanies, woolly socks and a hot chocolate to keep toasty in the chilled air. For fans of the television show Gilmore Girls, it is as if the fictional town of Stars Hollow has been brought to life Down Under.
A short 10-kilometer drive down tree-lined country roads sits Basalt Luxury Accommodation, but you wouldn’t know it was there if you weren’t on the lookout, as a winding driveway lined with saplings separates it from the road below.
"After enjoying the continental breakfast provided – a loaf of fresh bread, jams and muesli – take a stroll around the orchard."
An immediate sense of calm and seclusion overcomes you as you drive upward, taking you further away from outside eyes and revealing sweeping views of the regional city and its surrounding countryside.
Located in the heart of a cherry orchard, the recently opened accommodation boasts three fully contained 43-square-meter studios named ‘Yonder’, ‘Drifter’ and ‘Chaser’. The studios are located around 70 meters apart and have been built with the same layout but with differing views across the valley – providing complete privacy for those residing in them.
In fact, guests do not have to encounter another soul during their stay if they don’t want to, with check-in and checkout a completely automated process and the studios containing anything and everything a person might need for a luxurious weekend away, a 3.5-hour drive out of Sydney.
In designing the accommodation, Basalt – owned by Simon and Kay Rollin, and Simon’s parents, Graham and Sue, who have been growing fruit on the property since 1979 – has placed significant emphasis on celebrating the views at both day and night, which are highlighted by the sleek floor-to-ceiling sliding doors that provide views for the entire studio.
The interiors were meticulously designed by Lisa Johnson Design Studio, featuring beautifully intertwined wood, metal and concrete features. Some of the amenities found in all the studios include a king-size bed adorned with linen from Carlotta & Gee, an internal wood fire, a 135-centimeter smart TV and bluetooth speaker, and a kitchenette, including a fridge, dishwasher, convection microwave and induction cooktop.
It is the perfect setup to bundle yourself in for a weekend without any engagement with the outside world – although the studio does also boast superfast Starlink wi-fi, if you do decide to keep up some connection.
The concrete bathtub, however, is the showstopper of the room. Located underneath a bi-fold window that overlooks the Rollin orchard and Orange below, it is an immediate indicator of the level of relaxation expected from guests staying here.
Cozy night in
To make the most of the accommodation, spend your first night in with a pre-ordered meal from local restaurant Racine, which can be easily organized through Basalt to be waiting in the refrigerator on your arrival.
The kitchenette has everything you’ll need to heat up the homestyle meal, which you can enjoy on the studio’s front deck, with the delicious food warming you up in the chilled air.
After dinner is the perfect time to utilize the private firepit, which is easily lit with wood and fire starters provided by Basalt. If the night is clear, bring the studio’s telescope down with you to take in the incredible array of stars filling the night sky above.
Exploring Orange’s food and wine scene
Charred Kitchen & Bar
Dining at the Chef-hatted Charred Kitchen & Bar on New Street is a must-do when visiting Orange. The warm and welcoming atmosphere paired with a serious wine list and a tasting menu that celebrates the best produce of the region create the perfect fine dining experience. Charred’s menu changes seasonally, but can also differ night-to-night, depending on what produce is best that day. Dishes are prepared using Lucifer, the restaurant’s food fire oven. Choose the local wine pairing with your meal to get a taste for the whole region without having to get off your chair.
De Salis Wines
Take in the breathtaking views from the De Salis Wines Cellar Door while you try wines that are handcrafted using a minimalist winemaking philosophy that showcases old-world winemaking styles. This charming family owned winery and sparkling house located on the northern slopes of Mount Canobolas is run by Loretta and Charlie Svenson, along with their sons Mitch and Ben. You might even spot a few family dogs running around the property, playing the very important role of greeting guests. If you are looking to try something new, check out the experimental Olaf Knight Wines range created by the sons.
Angullong Wines Cellar Door
The Angullong Wines Cellar Door is located in the historical town of Millthorpe, a short drive outside of Orange. The cellar door is located in an old stable that was built in 1873 and if you are traveling in the colder months, sitting by the fire in this homely cellar is the perfect way to while away the day. For a bit of extra fun, grab a platter from Providore, a short walk down the road, and enjoy it on the cellar door’s patio with a glass of your favorite from the tasting. This is also a great winery to visit if you have children traveling with you – they can enjoy the fossil-themed coloring-in pages, a homage to the winery’s Fossil Hill range.
Unwind and rejuvenate
The next morning, it’s worth making an early start to take in the spectacular sunrise, which is guaranteed to not disappoint, even if tearing yourself out of the luxurious bed feels impossible in the moment.
The entire sky fills with hues of yellow and orange as a beautiful glow falls upon the city of Orange below.
If you’re in the mood to start the day off with a pep in your step, make use of the yoga mats and the Down Dog app on the iPad to do a quick Pilates session on the deck – the perfect way to start the day rejuvenated and relaxed.
After enjoying the continental breakfast provided – a loaf of fresh bread, jams and muesli – take a stroll around the orchard. You’ll most likely come across the local family of kangaroos that live on the property, hopping in and out of the orchard.
Exploring the region
While the studios are perfectly set up to enjoy a weekend in, there’s also an array of bespoke experiences that can be organized for you by Basalt.
These include a bush tucker and Indigenous cultural adventure, a hosted star and planet night sky viewing, personalized wine and food tours throughout the district, fully catered dinners at the firepit (for up to six guests) and helicopter transfers that pick you up and drop you off at your studio’s front door.
The region has a strong reputation for fine food and wine, home to hatted restaurants and over 40 wineries that are worth exploring. If you need help to choose, the locals are usually more than happy to stop for a chat and provide a recommendation for where you should visit next.
Orange is the perfect location for a rural getaway that allows for a break from city life, while still boasting luxurious experiences and amenities for the distinguished traveler, and Basalt Luxury Accommodation is the gateway to experiencing this region to the fullest.
You can find out more about Basalt and its offerings here.
Activities to fill up a weekend away
Indigenous Cultural Adventure and Bush Tucker experience
The Wiradjuri nation has a deeply routed, 50,000-year history in the Orange region and its surrounding districts. Learning about the Indigenous history of this area is an important way to connect with the region and understand its dense history. And who better to show you around than Gerald Power, a Juru man from Bowen in Queensland and the current Deputy Mayor of Orange City?
With the help of the local Wiradjuri elders, Power runs Indigenous Cultural Adventure, where guests are encouraged to explore the rich and vibrant culture of the Wiradjuri nation, while visiting ceremonial sites and other sites of cultural significance in the region.
Mushroom foraging in Canobolas State Forest
If you’re traveling between March and July, get in touch with nature and experience the serene quietness of the Mount Canobolas State Forest with a guided wild mushroom foraging tour with The Market Cat – who also supply mushrooms to leading restaurants in the area. For something special, book the food experience as well to enjoy a meal prepared for you in the forest with collected mushrooms.