Tag Archives: Aranda

Bolt Bar, Aranda

5 Oct

A year ago Aranda Shops were empty. And they had been empty for more than a decade. The car park and the centre were dilapidated and if you were new to the area, you wouldn’t even know that it had once been shops.

That’s changed now. Two Before Ten has set up shop in the whole building, starting with its cafe on a far corner, followed by a library, followed, at the other end, by the adjoining, long awaited pub: Bolt Bar (named after Dirk Bolt, who designed the unusual building). Aranda Shops is now full of life in the mornings, and, with the Bolt Bar open til at least mid-evening seven days a week, I think it’s likely the whole area will be constantly humming very shortly.

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Two Before Ten, Aranda Shops

11 Jan

From little things big things grow. That’s certainly the case for Aranda Shops. After sitting basically empty for almost 15 years, big things are happening. Think a cafe, and a pub, and a community library which connects to the pub so you can take your glass of wine in and read a book. Think providore and pizza cafe with fancy wines.

But that’s in the future (but not too far, thankfully! I don’t know about you, but I’m chomping at the bit). In the meantime, popular coffee purveyors Two Before Ten (formerly of Civic) have put their Juggernaut van out the front with a few umbrellas. Out of this little van are big things: generous opening hours (8am-4pm, Monday to Friday, and 8am-midday on Sunday), fresh coffee and a small menu that still manages to have half of Canberra salivating at 10am.

Having been fortunate enough to have a tour of the awesomeness that’s unfolding in the shops last week, this morning on the way to a few errands we steered our car past Aranda Shops on Bandjalong Street. There’s a large parking slip lane and, despite the rain, already a few customers – both promising signs.

It’s the jaffles that get me – ham, cheese and baked beans or butter chicken. We both agree on butter chicken and a large flat white and chai and in the time it takes for a quick sticky beak behind the van, they’re ready to go.

Eating jaffles and drinking coffee in the car, watching the rain

The coffee’s hot without being scalding and the bread is fresh. The butter chicken is creamy with a bit of zip but it’s not spicy – it’s 10am after all. From the comfort of the car’s front seats we watch the world go by – or more accurately, the steady stream of customers dropping into this unsuspecting little van.

If this morning is anything to go by, Aranda Shops proper is going to be huge. Not everything’s going to open at once, but we should be hopeful of a cafe opening in late January. I can’t wait.

Date: Sunday, 11 January 2015

Cost: $24 for two jaffles ($8 each) and two coffees

Value for money: High (especially when you factor into the convenience)

Worthwhile factor: Highly worthwhile

Want more? I can almost guarantee you’re not going to miss this opening – it will be huge – but in the meantime drop by the shops and see for yourself!

Aranda Bushland Nature Reserve

11 Jan

In the spirit of getting amongst Canberra’s bushland in the hours that stretch out after work in January, our next pick is Aranda Bushland. Nestled between Mt Painter and Black Mountain, I drive past it regularly but have never taken the time to get amongst it. As usual, I’m pleasantly surprised.

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Black Mountain stroll

25 Jan

Looking back towards Belco

Along with Mt Ainslie, Black Mountain (or Telstra Tower) is hard to miss – making it a pretty obvious choice for a Sunday afternoon walk.

Tower peaking through... example of the type of footpath

There are many routes you can take to get up to the top, but we took one of the ones that starts at Belconnen Way. You can pull into a small ‘carpark’ and basically it’s a straight hike towards the mountain.

Black Mountain looks far away, but you cover ground quickly. With my numerous stops to catch my breath, it took us less than an hour to get to the top. The path starts narrow, then gets very wide, before you climb up well placed stones to Canberra’s well known landmark. Well, to Canberra’s well known landmark’s carpark.

More footpath examples

The most unfortunate and well known fact about getting to the top of Black Mountain when you drive up there is the same as when you walk – you can’t see anything. Sure, there are glimpses of the suburbs as you climb up, but once you’re at the top, good luck seeing past the tall trees… unless you’ve brought your wallet and you’re willing to go up to Telstra Tower for the view.

I think Black Mountain is a great walk, but it’s not somewhere I’d be taking any out of town visitors to show off the views of Canberra for free. You’re going to get much better views from Mt Ainslie or nearby Mt Painter (next to Cook – and my favourite Canberra mountain).

But, I won’t deny it – there’s a definite sense of accomplishment from climbing Black Mountain.

Check out the map here.

Infamous Telstra Tower at the top