Orange crush

Some of the most historic accommodation in the Orange region has just re-opened after major refurbishments, travel editor Winsor Dobbin reports.

The storied Mayfield Homestead has once again opened its doors to welcome guests to the food and wine bowl that is the Orange region in NSW’s Central West.

Foodies and wine lovers can once again return to the delightful property that was purchased by the Eastham family during Covid. They have spent 12 months readying the property for visitors – and for wedding groups looking for a special venue.

Mayfield is being billed as the perfect base from which to explore the many food and wine attractions of Orange and the rest of the Central West.

In addition to the homestead, there are four cottages that offer a variety of accommodation options nestled within the vineyard and sprawling arboretum. The European history of Mayfield dates to 1815 when explorer William Charles Wentworth was granted Mayfield as acknowledgment of his earlier crossing of the Blue Mountains. In 1840, the property was transferred to local grazier, businessman and politician Thomas Icely.

Mayfield continued to prosper, passing through a number of families including William ‘Parson’ Tom after he discovered Australia’s first commercial gold strike in nearby Ophir in 1851. The property now accommodates guests in a range of lovely buildings, including the main historic homestead and the oldest cottage, The Settlers Cottage, which was erected in 1886.

During the 1900s the property was owned and run by the famous Scottish biscuit makers, the Crawfords. At their peak, they were the largest privately-owned biscuit manufacturer in Britain. The family ran sheep and set about creating a village atmosphere, building The School House (now the Mayfield Wines cellar door) to educate the workers’ children.

The Mayfield Homestead was inspired by famed Australian artist, author, and architect Hardy Wilson, with construction beginning in 1906 and completed in 1910. He is recognised as one of the most outstanding architects of the 20th century and the Homestead is now recognised by the National Trust.

This piece of Australian rural history boosts five (or up to seven) bedrooms, four bathrooms, formal dining room, three living areas, country kitchen and large outdoor dining areas. The cellar door is just a stroll away, and the grounds, with vineyards, lakes and gardens are on your doorstep.

When James S.R. Crawford died, his widow Margaret remained at Mayfield. Margaret spent 65 years here and her everlasting gift to Mayfield was the arboretum with over 50 species of trees, many over 100 years old.

“We are particularly proud to be able to offer this luxury property to guests to enjoy,” says owner John Eastham.

“Mayfield is located in the midst of Orange’s idyllic cool-climate vineyards and allows us to offer a range of accommodation including The School House, The Rose Cottage, The Overseers Cottage, The Settlers Cottage, and The Garden Flat.”

Guests are able to book all the cottages for group functions and weddings in the gardens.

For further information see

There is a whole lot happening in Orange and surrounds over the next few months, the team at Orange 360 reports.

F.O.O.D Week tickets are now on sale with the full program available online.

Over 40 events are scheduled in the region’s cellar doors, restaurants, cafes, hotels, and farms. F.O.O.D Week runs from Friday, March 24 to Sunday, April 2, encompassing two weekends.

For those aiming to arrive earlier, The Banjo Paterson Australian Poetry Festival kicks off on February 17 and runs for a full week.

The poet was born just outside of Orange and the festival pays tribute to this local icon each year with a celebration of poems, prose, and the life of Banjo himself. 

For Country and Western lovers, A Night in Nashville is pencilled in for February 10 so those so inclined can polish their boots and dust off their best cowboy hats for an all-American themed country music festival where Aussie artists cover the all-time best American country songs. Tickets are limited and selling fast, you can secure yours here.

Another date for the diary is the Orange Chamber Music Festival, which runs from Thursday, March 9 to Sunday, March 12, offering audiences a selection of over 60 artists and ensembles from all over Australia. This year’s ticketing options includes three different festival passes.

Runners might note that the Orange Running Festival will be back on March 4-5.

Runners can register now for the full marathon, half marathon, 10km, 5km or the mile events. Head to the Orange Running Festival Website for more information.

For Inner Westies who fancy a night or two in town without worrying about taxis or Ubers, the new Sydney boutique property Hotel Morris is one of 12 small properties around the world initially selected for a new collection of hotels noteworthy for their “charm and character”.

The Handwritten Collection will be a small portfolio of “bespoke hotels that offer an intimate and stylish hospitality experience”.

The Morris is a former backpacker hostel that was once described as Australia’s “most repulsive accommodation”. The former Westend Hotel on Pitt St was built in the 1920s and was for more than 30 years Australia’s tallest hotel.

It is reopening as Hotel Morris – its original name – as a boutique hotel and bar following an extensive refurbishment.

The 82-room hotel close to Sydney Central Station will feature a ground floor restaurant and bar at street level, as well as a rooftop bar.

Until a couple of years ago the property operated as a hostel that garnered some dreadful reviews on social media.

It opened in 1929 as the Hotel Morris, on the former site of a business called Half Price Shoe Stores and will reopen in its new guise over the next few days.

See  for more information.

Safe travels.