See Aranda Differently

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Bolt Bar

Not only in a beautiful bush setting, Aranda is also home to great local cafes and bars, like Bolt Bar. Photo: Daniella Jukic.

As prices soar in the popular inner north suburbs around the city centre, savvy buyers are shifting their focus to the inner suburbs of Belconnen, like Aranda, and with good reason.

Close to nature, near the city, in a beautiful bush setting at the base of Black Mountain, surrounded on two sides by nature park, and boasting homes on large blocks, Aranda has plenty to offer.

Thinking about visiting or moving to Aranda? Here’s what you need to know.

Aranda’s Bolt Bar is a favourite amongst the locals. Photo: Daniella Jukic.

History

Aranda’s name is derived from the Arrernte tribe of Central Australia, previously known as Arunta, which means white cockatoo. The streets are named after Aboriginal groups from around Australia.

Local playing fields in Aranda. Photo: Daniella Jukic.

A small plaque at the Aranda playing fields, just near the suspension bridge over Belconnen Way, marks the settlement of the suburb as the first development in the Belconnen district.

In the late 1960’s, Aranda’s design was lauded as a model of town planning principles. The neighbourhood’s size was determined by residential density, walking distances from shops and schools, traffic patterns, the landform and the required size of a school. The design had roads laid out to suit, rather than dominate, the land, and the focus was on keeping through-roads on the outside of the suburb.

The local Primary School shares the love for its suburbs history online. Photo: Daniella Jukic.

The design also sought to retain as much as possible of the original tree cover, with the bushland spine a vital part of the recreational open space and the walking access with its underpass. When an unfortunate amount of the tree cover was removed in the construction phase, a major planting of native tree species began. This was an unusual landscape treatment at the time and Aranda owes much of its character to that decision. (Aranda Primary School suburb history)

Shops and eateries

See Aranda Differently

Aranda’s local shops are now revitalised after being vacant for several years. Photo: Region Media.

Aranda has a rapidly-evolving set of local shops. After being vacant for several years, the area has had a new lease of life with several new businesses and services now providing residents with local options for shopping and dining.

Two Before Ten opened in 2014 at the then-derelict shops, sparking the once-abandoned Bandjalong Crescent site’s return back to life. Along with the boutique cafe, the 50-year-old complex now includes a coffee roaster, Bolt Bar, a yoga studio and a boutique store supporting Australian designers.

The Jamison Centre is just down the road in neighbouring Macquarie and services the area on a much larger scale. It has supermarkets, retail and medical outlets, banks and cafes.

Places of interest and things to do

  • Explore Aranda Bushland.With 100 hectares of eucalypt forest and woodland on the slopes of Aranda Hill, your chances of spotting birds, frogs and lots of different flora are high. Slightly further along, the bushland is next to Black Mountain Reserve and the Pinnacle Nature Reserve.

Chris Dennis, owner of Two Before Ten cafe. Photo: Region Media.

  • Grab a caffeine fix at Two Before Ten. This delightful café in what was once a derelict building is now a busy community hub where the coffee is top-notch, the food delicious and there are plenty of spots to catch up with friends or neighbours without going too far from home.
  • Learn a new skill or find the perfect gift. Meet Gather Collect is a suburban gem that brings together the best of Australian designers and makers. Not only can you shop up a storm, but you can sign up for classes or workshops or even order a piece of custom furniture built to suit your home and décor.

Meet Gather Collect at Aranda offers unique gifts. Photo: Daniella Jukic.

Parks and playgrounds

Lovers of the outdoors have a multitude of options to choose from in Aranda. There are walking tracks and mountain biking trails aplenty through the Aranda Bushland Nature Reserve.

Dog owners will enjoy this easy walk taking just over an hour through Aranda’s pretty parks, where stunning native flower displays can be seen at various times during the year. It winds through the suburb’s interconnecting green spaces, including the off-lease area at the playing fields, another off-leash area through the middle of the suburb, and the Aranda nature park, where dogs are allowed on leash only. Take in the lovely views across Canberra’s south and don’t miss the chance to check out suburban architecture from the late 1960s and 1970s. You’ll likely see houses with flat roofs, built from besser blocks and complete with fern courtyards, according to Canberra Dog Walks.

A number of playing fields are located in the north western corner of Aranda including baseball and soccer fields, and plenty of green space for kids and dogs to run around.

There is a playground at Aranda Primary School which is a local favourite after school hours and on the weekends. It’s completely covered and has a slide and plenty of activities for the kids.

Elise from Two Before Ten serving all day breaky. Photo: Daniella Jukic.

Getting around

Aranda is bounded by Caswell Drive, Belconnen Way, and Bindubi Street, so accessing major roads is easy. It’s just 4 km from the edge of Civic and slightly less than that to the Belconnen Town Centre.

For those heading towards Belconnen Westfield or the town centre on foot, there’s a pedestrian bridge crossing the six-lane Belconnen Way into Bruce. There’s also a walking track along Black Mountain which connects Aranda with the ANU and the CSIRO.

Two Before Ten owner Chris Dennis’ smile says it all. Photo: Region Media.

Cyclists in Aranda enjoy excellent facilities, with a cycle path that runs along Bindubi Street connecting local bike riders with the ACT’s extensive bike path network.

Transport Canberra’s route 32 services Aranda, taking commuters between Civic and Belconnen.

Schools

Aranda has two primary schools: Aranda Primary in Banambila Street and St Vincent’s in Bindel Place.

Why the locals love it

When it comes to Belconnen suburbs, Aranda tends to steal the show, says local real estate agent Sally Strang from home.byholly. “It’s the epitome of our bush capital with interesting homes on large land allotments integrated beautifully into the surrounding native bushland. The rejuvenation of the local shops has definitely contributed to the community spirit and love of supporting local.”

Sally Strang, Ash Costello

Sally Strang (right), with Ash Costello from Home.by Holly. Photo: Supplied.

Long-term Aranda residents Neale and Julie shared their favourite things about the suburb. Julie says: “We have Canberra’s best cafe just five minutes’ walk away. It’s a wonderful place to go for breakfast or a coffee.”

Neale’s response was about the caring and supportive community: “We are living in an area where your neighbours are truly your neighbours, they’ll do anything for you.”

With a local community garden at Aranda, what’s not to love?. Photo: Daniella Jukic.

Quick facts

  • Median age: 41 years
  • Median weekly household income: $2,414
  • Median weekly rent: $418
  • Houses vs. apartments: 88.2% houses; 1.9% apartments
  • Suburb sales record (excludes land sales): $1,430,000 in 2019

Source: 2016 Census.

Want to find the latest real estate listings for sale and rent in Aranda? Zango can help you find them:

Do you live, or have you previously lived, in Aranda? What are your favourite things about the suburb? What advice would you give to people considering moving there? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


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10 Responses to See Aranda Differently
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JC JC 10:12 am 13 Jul 15

Weaselburger said :

Unfortunately next to Aranda is Jamison….I often drive past the little café but I’ve never stopped….Do they have food?

They do have food.

As for the coffee, stopped by a few weeks back and it was bitter. Much prefer the coffee at O’connor shops.

Junglejack Junglejack 10:09 pm 12 Jul 15

I grew up in Aranda from its first days around late 1968.
The shops over the years, had;
– a supermarket on the Bandjalong Cres ‘lower’ side.
– up the back there was originally a hardware store where the café is now, it then became part of the Young’s Department Store group for a while then a restaurant I think..
– also up the back (at various times) a bank, chemists, fish n chip takeaways, hairdressers, a record store, music teacher, Post Office, greengrocer, butcher, Chinese restaurant and probably a few others that have slipped from memory..

Weatherman Weatherman 9:58 am 12 Jul 15

Aranda, Australian Capital Territory is an upmarket suburb of Canberra situated in the Belconnen district of Canberra. It is situated at the foothills of Black Mountain. It is quite a bushy suburb with a lot of wildlife too, as it is located near the Black Mountain nature reserve. Aranda, ACT is mostly a residential suburb with close access to Belconnen central district and the Jamison commercial precinct, as well as having access to major thoroughfares in the Belconnen area, such as Gungahlin Drive / Tuggeranong Parkway and Bindubi Street

Weaselburger Weaselburger 6:19 pm 11 Jul 15

Unfortunately next to Aranda is Jamison….I often drive past the little café but I’ve never stopped….Do they have food?

babyface babyface 1:50 pm 11 Jul 15

rubaiyat said :

That isn’t a wall, it is just a steep roof.

There used to be a very good Chinese dumpling restaurant back twenty years ago. I assume the people who ran it retired long ago.

Aranda was one of the more successful suburban designs in Canberra, with parts designed in the Nuts and Berry school and completely submerged amongst the trees, a real delight. How it survived all the bushfires is a miracle.

they had to move after a fire to a new shop at jamison, they have another restaurant at hawker shops under a different name now too

GardeningGirl GardeningGirl 12:53 am 11 Jul 15

I always thought the Aranda shops were really quirky and interesting.

Matt Watts said :

A bit of trivia regarding the unique building design: there used to be a post office at the site, downstairs, yet this posed a logistical problem, solved via a conveyer belt! The conveyor belt that transported mail between the downstairs post shop front and the upstairs car park is still in the building. I was not prepared to test it…

Matt Watts
Deputy Chair, BCC

Interesting!

Alexandra Craig Alexandra Craig 12:40 am 11 Jul 15

Dame Canberra said :

Matt Watts said :

A bit of trivia regarding the unique building design: there used to be a post office at the site, downstairs, yet this posed a logistical problem, solved via a conveyer belt! The conveyor belt that transported mail between the downstairs post shop front and the upstairs car park is still in the building. I was not prepared to test it…

That is seriously awesome.

So cool! It would have been so interesting to go through the building while it was still classed as abandoned.

rubaiyat rubaiyat 5:25 pm 10 Jul 15

That isn’t a wall, it is just a steep roof.

There used to be a very good Chinese dumpling restaurant back twenty years ago. I assume the people who ran it retired long ago.

Aranda was one of the more successful suburban designs in Canberra, with parts designed in the Nuts and Berry school and completely submerged amongst the trees, a real delight. How it survived all the bushfires is a miracle.

Dame Canberra Dame Canberra 2:15 pm 10 Jul 15

Matt Watts said :

A bit of trivia regarding the unique building design: there used to be a post office at the site, downstairs, yet this posed a logistical problem, solved via a conveyer belt! The conveyor belt that transported mail between the downstairs post shop front and the upstairs car park is still in the building. I was not prepared to test it…

That is seriously awesome.

Matt Watts Matt Watts 1:10 pm 10 Jul 15

The Aranda community has had the odd sneak-peek at the shops redevelopment. I have also been on a couple of those private tours. I won’t ruin the surprise, but I will say I am very excited about the future of Aranda Shops.

I can’t comment on the quality of the Two Before Ten coffee because I don’t touch the stuff, yet I am reliably informed it tastes awesome. A lot of parents from the nearby school are pleased.

After the shops went out of business, there was a community church and op shop downstairs. The owners of the building had considered replacing it with apartments, but they decided giving something back to the community in the form of this exciting development was a better bet.

A bit of trivia regarding the unique building design: there used to be a post office at the site, downstairs, yet this posed a logistical problem, solved via a conveyer belt! The conveyor belt that transported mail between the downstairs post shop front and the upstairs car park is still in the building. I was not prepared to test it…

Matt Watts
Deputy Chair, BCC

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