Orange and Mudgee are popular weekend destinations for Sydney residents but smaller Central West New South Wales villages like Millthorpe and Carcoar (above) are also worth a visit, travel editor Winsor Dobbin reports.
A picturesque heritage-listed town, Millthorpe is a step back to the 1900s with a contemporary edge. Think cobbled streets and relatively unchanged 19th century-buildings. The entire village is classified by the National Trust and a browse through the Golden Memories Millthorpe Museum will reveal fascinating colonial artefacts, the history behind some Australian inventions and a collection of Aboriginal items.
Millthorpe boasts award-winning eateries, cellar doors, arts and antiques, a museum, boutiques, and boutiques – and can be reached by train from Sydney Central. The historic town is 20 minutes’ drive southeast of Orange, only 10 minutes from Orange Airport, and 30 minutes west of Bathurst. The drive from Sydney is 3 hours 30 minutes.
Visitors can now come by train making it the perfect day trip for a relaxing outing. For example, those east of Millthorpe could catch the XPT and arrive in Millthorpe at 11.48am just in time for lunch, a spot of exploring, some cellar door tasting and then catch the train home at 4.11pm. The newest attraction in Millthorpe is the arrival of a tasting room opened last month by organic wine pioneers Tamburlaine Organic Wines in the historic former Millthorpe General Store.
The opening follows hot on the heels of the multi-award-winning organic winemaker’s expansion in the Orange wine region via the purchase of the former Cumulus winery facility at Cudal, where it processed its 2020 fruit. The new facility will be run by local Phoenix Kamsteeg.
“The cellar door opening in the region is not before time given our involvement with Orange region winemaking going back to 1989 and given the substantial vineyard holdings at Borenore and Belgravia,” Davidson said.
“This venue will complement the already established cellar doors in Millthorpe of Angullong and Slow Wine Co. It is a destination that pairs food and wine tourism with history and heritage.”
Visitors to the cellar door can expect to sample a broad range of wine styles along with local gourmet produce. Guests can relax, get a bottle of wine, and a cheese plate to enjoy. The Millthorpe Tamburlaine Organic Wines Cellar Door will initially be open Thursday through to Sunday.
A long-time Millthorpe favourite is Tonic restaurant, established in 2003 by owners Tony and Nicole Worland. The menu has a seasonal focus and showcases the best from local producers such as Mandagery Creek venison and Cowra lamb. Over the last seventeen years the restaurant has regularly been awarded a chef’s hat by the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide.
Chef Worland has worked alongside Matt Moran, Michael Manners and Gordon Ramsay during his career. It is open Thursday-Saturday for dinner and Saturday-Sunday for lunch.
Tony G’s Bistro at The Railway Hotel, meanwhile, serves a selection of authentic house-made Lebanese meals. Al fresco dining is available in summer.
Accommodation options include the historic The Old Chemist, Warriwillah and the Millthorpe Motel.
Established in 1839, Carcoar is the third-oldest settlement west of the Blue Mountains. It is close to Millthorpe as well as being only 35 minutes from the major towns of Bathurst, Orange, and Cowra.
Classified by the National Trust because of its large number of preserved 19th-century buildings, highlights include well-preserved Georgian buildings along the main street, St Paul’s Anglican Church built in 1848, the century-old courthouse, and the 1849 convict-built stables of Stoke House, believed to be the oldest building in the village.
Known as the Town that Time Forgot, Carcoar is nestled in a small sheltered valley beside the meandering Belubula River. With a spectacular backdrop of rolling green hills, it is easy to see why the area was a drawcard for early settlers.
It offers a warm welcome with coffee, shops, accommodation, restaurants, events, and museums. The Carcoar Toy Museum features an impressive display of over 2,000 toys spanning World War I through to modern times, from Betty Boop, Dan Dare and Sad Sack to the Simpsons, Japanese Anime and a dedicated Robot Room. Visit at weekends to enjoy Antica Australia, a tiny eatery serving rustic Italian fare. It is open for two settings at lunchtime on Saturday and Sunday with bookings essential.
Think dishes like Italian savoury crepe filled with gorgonzola and prosciutto served with homemade fig and ginger jam and Cowra lamb loin chops with an anchovy sauce, served with roast potatoes.
The White House and Stoke House both have short-term accommodation, while the Village Grocer and the quaint Royal Hotel feature plenty of country ambience.
To plan visits to Central West NSW visit: www.visitcentralnsw.com.au.