I woke up about 6:30 this morning and got up to use the bathroom, which prompted Scully to get up and want to go outside. So I got dressed and took her out. Fortunately the rain had stopped overnight and the morning was clear and sunny. Then I had some muesli for breakfast while Scully crept back to bed and my wife slept in a bit more.
This morning we decided to go and explore a park where we could take Scully for a walk. We headed out of town to Gosling Creek Reserve, which is a large park next to Gosling Creek Reservoir. It has a network of walking paths which are used for the Orange Parkrun, going around the edge of the reservoir and then back through a mix of scrub, eucalyptus trees, and lawn areas with picnic tables and playground equipment. I took my camera and got a few shots of birds, including some eastern rosellas, which were very cool. We spent a good hour or more walking around and enjoying the scenery and bird life.
After this we headed back into town briefly to pick up a couple of apples that we’d got from the hotel reception desk earlier. The plan was to use these to supplement the cheese platter that we were going to get with our wine tasting at Word of Mouth Wines, which my wife had booked before our trip. We chose them because they were dog-friendly, but they said they didn’t serve lunch – only a bit of cheese and crackers as a snack.
At Word of Mouth we were greeted by a friendly man and his large labradoodle Artemis. He showed us to a sunny room out the back, looking over a field with a couple of alpacas in it. We did the wine tasting, which was a series if white wines, a rosé, and just one red. My wife liked it better than yesterday’s at Brangayne, and we bought a couple of bottles – resisting more because we don’t have a lot of room in the car. A problem was that what we expected was an optional cheese platter which we could buy, and which would be at least moderately substantial. But what we got was a complementary plate with just a couple of crackers with cheese on them and a couple with slices of sausage, which the man said was to clear our palates between the wines.
Here’s Scully at the winery:
So we had our apples and then when we left the winery we drove further along the road to Lake Conobolas, where there was a cafe at which we hoped to get something else to eat. Lake Conobolas is a reservoir in Lake Conobolas Reserve, another large park with picnic areas. The cafe had indoor seating, but it was attached to a kiosk doing take-away food and there were plenty of picnic tables around. We grabbed a table and got some wraps to eat, pumpkin for my wife and Moroccan chicken for me.
After eating we walked around a bit, crossing the dam wall, which was spilling water down into Molong Creek below. This was the result of all the rain we’ve had this year, plus the 40 mm extra added just yesterday. News today was reporting more flooding in parts of regional New South Wales, including roads cut at Bathurst, which we need to drive through tomorrow to get back home to Sydney. And although today was dry, more rain is forecast for tomorrow.
Leaving Lake Conobolas, we drove back a little along the same road to the Pinnacle Lookout, which the guy at Word of Mouth Winery had told us was a beautiful place with amazing views. We climbed a steep set of wooden steps from the car park up to the lookout, which was perched atop some granite boulders at the top of the hill. It gave us a panoramic view of the landscape below, sweeping from the west through north to the east. It was very windy and cold on the exposed lookout, so we didn’t stay too long.
From here we drove back to Orange, taking a loop around further west and north than we’d been before, so we got to see some new roads and scenery. The connecting cross-roads were nice and slow, especially because there were a lot of nasty potholes full of rainwater which I had to slow down and dodge to avoid damaging the car. It was really a case of veering all over the road and taking it slowly. Some of the potholes looked very deep and nasty indeed, but we managed to avoid anything like that.
We relaxed a bit in the hotel before heading out for dinner in the evening. We walked over to Lolli Redini, which had told me that we could walk-in for a table outdoors, depending on the weather. However when we got there the waiter seemed surprised that we wanted to sit outside and said they hadn’t got any tables set up. He kind of said he could set up a table for us, but he clearly sounded reluctant to actually do so and was trying to talk us out of it. He recommended we go down the block to Birdie, a more casual restaurant and bar operated by the same owners. So we did that.
It turned out to be really nice there, with several tables outside under the wide awning – all empty until we grabbed one. My wife wanted to know if they could make the seafood spaghetti into a vegetarian version, so I asked when ordering at the bar, and the woman there went to check with the kitchen, coming back to confirm that it could be done. I ordered the grilled salmon, and we also got some bar nuts to snack on. My wife had a glass of Pinot Noir while I had a cocktail called a Budgie Smuggler, which was sparkling wine, absinthe, apple juice, and something else that I forget. It was very nice, and the food was really good. The chef had added mushrooms, zucchini, and pumpkin to the pasta sauce, which was very nice rather than just making it without the seafood.
The dessert special sounded good, being a citrus chocolate mousse with churros, but just next door was an amazing looking gelato place called Spilt Milk. It was clearly popular, with hordes of people there getting scoops to eat, at times queueing out the door. I walked over there and got two scoops: salted caramel, and ricotta with honey. I ate it sitting back at our table at Birdie, and it was really good.
Then we waked back to the hotel for our last night here in Orange before heading home tomorrow.