treechange #OrangeNSW

Here’s the promised Part II of Sydney: we came, we renovated, we left, where I outlined in detail the almost impossibility of returning to Australia’s ‘global business city’ and finding employment.

The Italian was pretty shocked. His entire life he’d dreamt of moving to Australia as the promised land. “It’s more expensive than Italy,” he muttered after the first week, but at least he agreed the coffee was on par (if not better) than Rome. And here’s news for you Sydney – behind the glitter of the harbour and the sails of the Opera House, you’re actually quite a grubby little city. And not particularly liveable.

So after six months of futile job searching while simultaneously renovating a decrepit Surry Hills terrace house, we actually sighed with relief when we finished the reno, paid back a karmic debt, and realised that it was just not possible to stay and survive in the city.

Three months later into our treechange and we couldn’t be happier. Life is nicer this side of the Blue Mountains. The people are nicer. Who knew there was a massive cafe coffee culture brewing here?! It’s like Surry Hills got transported to idyllic countryside and everyone had personality reboots.

Let’s be straight up about it, there’s also heaps more to do here in the Central West region of NSW. It’s pioneering country, it’s full of gorgeous goldrush-era villages all waiting to be rediscovered. Explore BorenoreByngMillthorpe and Carcoar just for starters.

And then there are the vineyards… There are over 40 of them just in the Orange district alone – and the future of Australia’s wine industry could well be Orange. There is no other more civilised way to purchase wine than visit the cellar doors, try before you buy, get gloriously tipsy + have a good yarn with the owners – you can totally forget boring city bottleshops. Visits to Mudgee and Cowra are next on our explore list, this’ll add at least another 40 or so vineyards to the tally.

wondering to myself offline here whether it would be physically possible to visit all the vineyards in a year’s worth of weekends…might set a personal challenge

With spectacular gourmet options like three Good Food Chef Hat restaurants (Racine, Lolli Redini and Tonic) and a 2 Schooner Status pub added to the regional mix, life could hardly get better until you realise there are lots of #localsecret dining options like this and this and this. Actually, there’s heaps more than this…I can feel Part III coming up…

Festivals, there are lots of festivals. Here’s a list I prepared earlier. Eat, drink and be merry.

And while all this has been going on, Orange has just been ranked as Australia’s number one regional location. Yep, we already know thanks, but we’re happy to share. The median price of a 3 bedroom house in Orange is $333,500. What’s more, there are incentives being offered to move here. If you’re looking to escape from the Big Smoke, check out the Evocities website which outlines grants for renters & buyers relocating as well as new grants for people leaving the city to set up their own business here. Seriously, this place is heaven.