While Orange might be best known as a destination for visiting wineries, if you’re visiting with a dog there’s lots more on offer. The Orange region also has some terrific off-leash dog parks, beautiful dog-friendly gardens to visit, and cute historic villages. Find out what to do when visiting Orange with a dog…
Dog-Friendly Sightseeing Around Orange
There’s plenty to keep you busy on a visit to the Orange region with your dog, no matter if your taste, including some great day or afternoon trips to nearby towns.
1. Visit a Local Winery
Orange is renown for its wines, with its high altitude producing many quality cool-climate drops. While some of the cellar doors are open seven days a week, many are just open on weekends. In either case, it’s best to make a booking in advance in this region, also a great chance to double-check that the cellar door you want to visit is dog-friendly.
During our visit to Orange we dropped into the dog-friendly Cargo Road Wines, not far past Lake Canabolas. There’s two resident kelpies, who love to receive a pat, plus your own dog welcome, as long as they’re also friendly. The views from their deck are a beautiful accompaniment to trying their many wines, with my picks being the Gewürztraminer and Zinfandel.
Another dog-friendly option in Orange is Borrodell Vineyard. Dogs are welcome to join you on the terrace of the cellar door, as long as they stay on a lead.
I also recommend heading to Patina Wines, one of my favourite wineries in Orange. Their cellar door has reopened following renovations since our visit, but just on Saturdays and Sundays. Their riesling in particular is a stand-out. Book a wine tasting in their courtyard, surrounded by their beautiful grounds.
2. Or a Cidery or Brewery
Wine isn’t the only locally produced tipple available in Orange. You can also taste locally produced cider and beer.
Small Acres Cyder is located just west of Orange. It specialises in producing premium cider from true heritage cider apple varieties using traditional methods. Their cellar door is open on weekends, with the option to either taste or purchase takeaway, with bookings are essential. While dogs are not allowed inside the tasting room, there is space to leave them outside, with a water bowl provided.
Head further west to visit local microbrewery, Pioneer Brewing, located on a farm between the villages of Cargo and Cudal. While dogs are unlikely to be welcomed at the regular brewery tours and tastings, it’s possible to pick up a tasting pack or have it delivered to Orange.
3. Stroll Around a Japanese Garden
One of the relatively unknown dog-friendly gems of the Orange region is the Cowra Japanese Garden. While the gardens aren’t located in Orange, but in the town of Cowra, a 70 minute drive to the south, it’s an easy day or afternoon trip from Orange.
The largest Japanese gardens in the southern hemisphere, the gardens have been magnificently constructed, with a lake, water cascade and tea house pavilion. The gardens are at their most beautiful during the cherry blossom season (in late September and early October) and when the many deciduous trees turn red, orange and yellow during the Autumn. But it was still beautiful on the sunny winters day when we visited.
After a stroll around the garden, enjoy lunch or afternoon tea at the adjacent cafe, overlooking the gardens. Dogs are welcome in the outdoor area, with a gate providing direct access from the gardens. Also note that dogs enter the gardens through the gift shop, the same as everyone else. An entry fee applies, except for dogs.
4. Or the Orange Botanic Gardens
For a garden stroll closer to Orange, head to the Orange Botanic Gardens, on the northern edge of Orange. We love to find botanic gardens in Australia that welcome dogs, and this is one of the few in New South Wales!
The Gardens were officially opened in 1988 for the Australian Bicentenary and feature a mixture of natives and exotic plants. We particularly enjoyed the small apple orchard and maple hill area. There’s plenty of shaded areas around the billabong.
The Gardens are open daily from 7:30am to dusk, with free admission and a handy map at the entrance. A stroll around the entire site takes about an hour.
5. Visit Historic Millthorpe
One of the cutest historic villages near Orange is Millthorpe. Located just 20 minutes southeast of Orange, I’m surprised I haven’t heard more about this gorgeous spot.
It’s heyday coincided with the operation of a since closed flour mill, plus the building of its railway station, which still exists on the edge of town. These days its heritage buildings contain an enticing assortment of boutiques, cafes and cellar doors.
A great dog-friendly option is to head out on one of two village walks. Information is provided on the village website or check out the map outside the Millthorpe Corner Store.
6. Drive Around Mt Panorama
Orange lies just 45 minutes west of Bathurst, the oldest inland city in Australia. If you’re driving to Orange from Sydney you’ll pass close by its city centre, including some fine historic building.
But Bathurst is also well-known for another reason, the Mt Panorama Racing Circuit, on the southern edge of town. The circuit is home to the annual Bathurst 1000 car race. But for the majority of the year the racing circuit is just a regular road, and it’s worthwhile turning off and doing a lap around the track. Just keep to the signposted 60km/hr!
Dog-Friendly Parks and Walks in Orange
Orange City Council are quite generous when it comes to the needs of dogs, with ten off-leash dog exercise areas scattered around the city. The areas are located at Paul Park, Brendan Sturgeon Oval, Ridley Oval, Pilcher Park, Wirrabarra Walk, Bloomfield Park, Anzac Park, Machin Park, Riawena Oval (outside of cricket season) and the Showground. See these maps for the exact areas that allow dogs off-leash and the full rules.
Out of these parks, the favourite one that we visited was Bloomfield Park. A very large area located on the southern side of Orange, on Google search for “Gosling Creek Reserve Dog Park”. Basically all of the area east of Bargwanna Road is off-leash (dogs are not allowed in Gosling Creek Reserve proper, on the western side of the road), but it is requested that dogs are kept on leash on the walking path and in bushland. While the area isn’t enclosed, it’s away from busy roads and there’s lot to explore, including multiple creeks.
We had read reports that Anzac Park provides agility equipment, but this wasn’t the case anymore when we visited, and it was quite a small, bare, enclosed patch of ground. On warm days I instead recommend Wirrabarra Walk, behind Orange Golf Course, for a shady walk. There’s a combination of pine trees and deciduous trees to provide shade during summer on this walking path.
Dogs are also welcome at the other parks around Orange, as long as they remain on a leash. This includes the Lake Canabolas Reserve, a 10 minute drive west of the city. It’s a great spot for a picnic and a popular swimming spot over the summer. (There’s no clear rules about whether dogs are allowed to swim, but I’m sure some have a splash.) There’s also a couple of walking paths starting at the reserve, but the one we went to check out had a no dogs sign.
Don’t get the lake reserve mixed up with Mount Canabolas State Recreation Area, surrounding the top of the highest peak near Orange. Unfortunately, no dogs are permitted in this reserve, including the popular lookout.
Dog-Friendly Dining in Orange
On our visit to Orange, we enjoyed lunch at Bissy’s Cafe. This permaculture cafe on the southern side of town has a beautiful ramshackle garden, with many of the plants used in their kitchen. The garden area is also great for dining outside with your dog, including some more secluded spots for busier days. Popular choices on their menu include the egg and bacon rolls, plus the multiple burgers.
Another dog-friendly cafe in the heart of Orange is Scrumptious on Summer Cafe. Located on the main street of Orange, there’s multiple outdoor tables where dogs are welcome, and reportedly the staff are quite friendly towards dogs.
We had hoped to visit The Arthouse Bar and Courtyard at the historic Union Bank in Orange. Unfortunately, due to the current situation this courtyard space is still shut, with just The School House Restaurant open, so I wasn’t able to confirm it is dog-friendly.
Dog-Friendly Accommodation in Orange
Orange has a wide variety of accommodation options, many of which are dog-friendly. For a comprehensive listing of pet-friendly accommodation in Orange, check out this list from the local tourism authority.
For a pet-friendly cottage on the edge of Orange, check out The Old Dairy. This two-bedroom self-contained cottage is adjacent to one of the oldest homes in Orange. Up to two well-behaved dogs are permitted. The rates are very reasonable and use of the tennis court and fire pit is included.
Alternatively, both caravan parks in Orange are pet-friendly, although only on camping sites, not in cabins. The Canabolas Caravan Park is located on the eastern side of town, while the Colour City Caravan Park is next to the showground. We stayed at the Canabolas Caravan Park, which has better reviews, but the Colour City Caravan Park is close to an off-leash dog area.
There’s also some interesting pet-friendly places to stay close to Orange. For something different, check out Yurt So Good, about 25 minutes south near Millthorpe. This spectacular yurt in the countryside is luxuriously decorated, yet still affordable.
Enjoy the beautiful night skies while relaxing around the outdoor fire pit. Sleeping two, there’s a small kitchenette plus a fireplace to stay warm on chilly winter nights. Pets are welcome, with an enclosed private yard.
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