New to Canberra, I love exploring this city and the secrets that it holds with my family.
Published February 20th 2018
A unique combination of apple orchards & fine dining
The suburb of Pialligo is fairly large on the map, however most of its attractions are located in one area - Beltana Road. The area itself is located just a short, 5 minute drive from the city centre, just next to the Canberra International Airport. The name Pialligo has been used since 1820 and it is understood to be aboriginal in origin, as this area was a central meeting place for local indigenous tribes in the area.
Although this city suburb is close to the hustle and bustle of the airport, it is still surprisingly semi-rural, with a country feel as you drive through. When the first settlers moved into the area in the early 1800's, with the Molonglo River close-by, they soon realised the benefits of this fertile land and turned it into the "fruit bowl" of Canberra. Today, you can still drive along Beltana Road and see thriving apple orchards and be able to buy them from their stands between February and May. Go exploring this weekend and discover these 5 things to do - and more! - in the unique suburb of Pialligo.
Buy your apples fresh from the orchard along Beltana Road, Pialligo (between February and May)
1/ Apple Farms are located along Beltana Road, which runs through the centre of Pialligo. Drive along and look for the "open" signs at Beltana Grange Orchard, Kerrisons Apple Orchard, Tanbella Orchard (which is pick your own) and Pialligo Apples. Buying apples at Pialligo is a tradition for many households, as you see many cars pull into each driveway and locals hop out to buy their weekly fruit. You can really taste the difference, compared to supermarket varieties, with juice running down your arm from apples fresh from the tree. As well as apples, you can also find pears and dried fruits to buy. Have a chat to the farmer and see what's in season and which variety will be ready next week!
2/ Plant nurseries are also located along Beltana Road, with a wide variety of native plants to buy that are suited to Canberra's unique weather patterns. It is also the place to pick up pots, garden ornaments, vegetable seedlings and fruit trees. You can also find two popular, family friendly cafes inside the garden stores, with Tulips café the first one you see along Beltana Road and Rodney's Plants Plus and Café near the end. Both offer play equipment for the kids and a wide range of delicious treats on the menu.
Allow plenty to time to browse Rodneys Plants Plus and stop for a coffee in the cafe
3/ Pialligo Estate and Pod Food are two fine dining restaurants in Pialligo, both on Beltana Road. Pialligo Estate is located at the far end of the road and sits on a scenic, rural property with beautifully landscaped gardens. At the time of writing, they offer breakfast, lunch and dinner in their Garden Pavilions on certain days, with fresh seasonal produce from the surrounding area and their market garden. The fertile soil of their gardens and farm follow the traditions of the area, with an extensive vineyard, 400 olive trees and 1000 fruit trees in their orchard. See here for details.
Pod Food also has a history to share, as it is located inside a restored cottage from the 1930's and is part of the established gardens of the Pialligo Plant Farm. It serves modern Australian food in relaxed and leafy surrounds. See here for details.
Relaxed fine dining at Pialligo Estate. Image: Pialligo Estate Facebook
4/ Spit Shack is a permanent food truck that can be found on a vacant block, just before you get to Rodney's Plants Plus at the end of Beltana Road. If you open your windows before you get there, you can often smell it before you see it, with slow-cooked roast meats turning on the spit. Enjoy hot roast rolls covered in gravy, or bacon and egg rolls for breakfast on the run. See here for details.
5/ Vibe Hotel is located on the border of Pialligo and is part of the Canberra International Airport precinct. It was built in 2016 and is a striking architectural feature of the airport, which grabs your attention as soon as you drive in. It is not just for hotel guests however, as anyone can walk in and enjoy the Helix Bar and Dining restaurant and bar in the foyer. If you visit in winter, there is an impressive modern fireplace to sit around with a hot coffee or red wine. See here for details.
Pialligo is a unique suburb in Canberra - it has the perks of city life with fine dining restaurants and modern hotels, alongside semi-rural orchards, food trucks and outlets to buy plants, pots and landscaping supplies. It is a combination that makes it one of the most unique and interesting suburbs in Canberra. Why don't you check it out this weekend? It is guaranteed to confuse - and delight!
The unique combination of hot roast rolls at the Spit Shack, Pialligo - just a short drive from...