Darling Cottage, Orange is as charming and pretty as its name suggests, and for our family, it was the perfect choice for a quick getaway. Spending a weekend at the peaceful, sundrenched cottage means waking up to gorgeous sunlit gardens, a chance to explore the lovely surrounds of the town, and getting away from city life for a refreshing few days. Here’s a rundown of our wonderful stay.
It’s tempting to put a family holiday in the too-hard basket, especially for us, in our busy family of four. But Darling Cottage, Orange, is one destination that can take the stress out of a trip. It’s a short (and enjoyable) drive from the North Shore, with lovely scenery and places to stop along the way. Once you arrive, you find yourself in a sunny, peaceful place that’s a world away from the chaos of Sydney – but with all the conveniences you have at home. It’s the all-in-one getaway that leaves you feeling connected to your kids, rejuvenated (and it’s affordable, too!)
Inspired by the gorgeous snaps we saw in our Orange Travel Guide: Escape to food & wine country, my husband and I set about organising a trip to Darling Cottage with our two children, aged two and four. And the moment we arrived outside the picturesque property, we couldn’t wait to get inside.
Darling Cottage, Orange
The cottage is set back from the road, with allocated parking right outside. The experienced operators make the arrival process easy, providing super clear instructions for handling the key on arrival. The care they have for the property shows in a hundred little ways, including a handwritten note of welcome to our family propped against a gift of a bottle of local wine, which was a beautiful touch and set the tone for the stay.
Inside, the cottage is beautifully appointed with airy, light-filled rooms. Step past the west-facing balcony with its lush green screen of plants and its cosy outdoor table for two, and inside you discover beautiful hardwood floors, white, cream and grey furnishings with tasteful accents in green. The main bedroom has a luxurious queen size bed, and two plush armchairs plus flowing curtains that are soft and block the morning sun for those who want to snooze until noon. There’s a second bedroom with another queen size bed looking out into the front garden, and a third with twin beds and a lovely window framing more trees.
The home has a comfy couch with plump cushions and a white side table, the perfect place to lounge with a book under the massive bay window that showcases the sprawling yard, showing an expanse of lawn with established trees offering patches of shade, and the thriving bushes where you see birds darting between the flowers. The bathroom is a glorious white haven with scented candles already placed by the bath for when you crave a well-deserved soak in a bubble bath (with a cold glass of bubbles to match!).
The fenced garden offers the chance for kids to roam and explore without anyone needing to keep a watchful eye on them, and both the front and back garden has been designed to offer total privacy whether you’re having a morning cup of tea and toast on the balcony, or kicking a soccer ball in the backyard.
The many loving touches throughout the home make you feel like you’re the honoured guest at the home of an old friend who happens to have popped out for the weekend, but who made sure they left all your favourite little luxuries for you to enjoy. There was not one thing we wanted that was not available, from top-notch kitchen equipment to fresh herbs in the garden to add to the evening pasta dish. Because everything (such as aircon and the Tv operation instructions) was listed in a user-friendly guide, it was only an hour before we felt like we’d lived at Darling Cottage forever.
The amenities: Most families will understand the importance of the kitchen when you’re away, and the Darling Cottage kitchen was another way the owners showed their understanding of how to make a family trip seamless. Arriving parched and peckish, we opened the cupboard in search of water glasses only to find a generous stock of the basics like olive oil, salt and vegemite, but also full shelves of pasta, two-minute noodles, gorgeous chocolate biscuits, sauces and honey. We almost could have skipped our trip to the nearby supermarket to stock up! The property has thought of everything from electric blankets to toys and a water bowl for any visiting puppies.
Mod cons: The property itself has all the mod-cons we dream of, including a large TV with Foxtel and free-to-air TV, free WIFI, air-conditioning and a luxurious bathtub (plus for families with young bubs, there’s a portacot and high chair too). But even with all these options, plus DVDs, games and books on offer, the drawcard for the kids (and the adults) was the huge backyard with its swaying trees, blooming flowers and even, landscaped grass that was perfect for little people to play on. By day the streaming sun pours in over the back fence, and birds call in the greenery, while at night there’s a beautiful wooden table and umbrella for outdoor dining and an outdoor log fire pit. The kids especially loved the pebble-ringed side passage with its latticework of vines, telling us it was a fairy garden and trying to spot the little creatures in the shaded grove.
Location: The cottage is only a few minutes drive or a moderate walk from the town centre, so we were able to stock up on groceries from Woolworths and it was simple to duck out for forgotten snacks or a pair of goggles. The town is full of restaurants and cafes to explore, and in fact our only regret was the short stay meant we only had the chance to try a few places!
The special thing about Darling Cottage is truly the hosts; from a quick text to make sure you’re happy and enjoying yourself, to the tiny details like extra towels and toiletries, you can tell immediately they have thought deeply about what matters in a holiday home, and their warmth and care are unmatched.
Things to do in Orange
The view from Towac Pinnacle lookout at sunrise or sunset is well worth the walk. Set amongst the tall shady gum trees on the southern side of Pinnacle Road, the reserve features picnic shelters, toilets and barbeques constructed from bluestone. The northern side of the road has a walking trail that climbs to Towac Pinnacle with spectacular views of Towac Valley.
Address: Pinnacle Rd, Orange, New South Wales, Australia
Swim all year round at the indoor Orange Aquatic Centre. Located on the corner of Hill Street and Warrendine Street, the Orange Aquatic Centre is centrally located and open every day except Christmas Day and Good Friday. The indoor 25 metre pool is heated to a balmy 28 degrees all year around.
Address: Corner of Hill & Warrendine Streets
Orange Botanic Gardens is a natural undulating 17 hectare site which features an impressive native and exotic plant collection. The Gardens were officially opened in 1988 for the Australian Bicentenary with plantings ranging from original native and exotic trees to newly developed displays.
The Orange Botanic Gardens are an ideal place in which to relax and enjoy the wonderful scenery and district views. As well as being an ideal location for bird watching, the Gardens offer the opportunity for a family picnic and a relaxing stroll. These gardens exhibit the magnificent splendor of the four seasons of Orange.
Address: 1 Yellow Box Way, Orange
No trip to Orange is complete without a visit to this winery, so make sure the stunning Heifer Station Wines is on your list! Set in a beautiful rustic turn-of-the-century woolshed, it’s well worth the visit.
Try their incredible wines with a wine tasting! On a sunny day, relax in the beautiful grounds and enjoy a glass of wine, or in winter settle by the cosy fire and enjoy a varietal tasting and cheese board. For the kids, there’s a petting zoo! Little ones can feed the funky chooks (Bantams and Polish Hens).
Essential Details: Darling Cottage, Orange
One of the stunning properties run by the beautifully managed Cottages in Orange, Darling Cottage is a spacious, impeccably presented home that comfortably sleeps up to eight people, and are pet-friendly too!
- Address: 41 Dalton Street, Orange
- Phone: 0406 672 149
- Email: [email protected]
Relax and unwind in the large established gardens, which are fully fenced with plenty of space to play & explore. The cottages are stocked with toys, games, books and DVD’s to keep the children entertained, and local wine and craft beer is provided for the adults! Free wi-fi, portacot and highchair are also available. Friendly hosts ensure you get to live like a local and sample the best the region has to offer during your stay.
Special Offer: Book a stay in December 2019 or January 2020 & you’ll receive a complimentary cheese board on arrival. Just let them know that you saw their listing in the North Shore Mums Orange Travel Guide!