An attempt to visit every suburb in Sydney.

Welcome. This is the final stop of my two week celebration of the head-scratcher that is the Carlingford Train Line . It doesn't take ...

Anniversary Special End of the Line: Carlingford


Welcome. This is the final stop of my two week celebration of the head-scratcher that is the Carlingford Train Line. It doesn't take a spectacular brain to deduce that the final stop on the line is Carlingford. This is another one of those big and wide suburbs, so I don't cover everything here, but hopefully I've given it it's best.

Carlingford

If you've been following this series thus far, you'll already know that Carlingford is immediately north of Telopea. It's in a transitory bit of Sydney, sitting on the eastern end of Western Sydney, the southwest end of Northern Sydney, and the southeast end of Northwest Sydney

You may remember that I made my way into Dundas by train. Well I caught that train from Carlingford, the line's terminus and our final single-tracked station. 

Sitting behind the station is a recent addition to Carlingford - a bunch of huge apartment blocks. Ordinarily, I'd say building apartment blocks near train stations makes sense. Here, I can't say it makes as much sense when that train station is a single tracked terminus of a train going to a suburb with zero inhabitants. We've never been big on urban planning in this city have we. 

The commuter carpark was absolutely chockers today but I managed to find a park. 

Anyway, last I left you, I was walking up a grassy hill in Telopea to cross the border into Carlingford. 

This hill ejected me at the back of a strip of local shops,

where you can pick up pizzas and pianos, what every growing boy needs.

As I was in the neighbourhood, I had organised to meet up with some local friends for lunch, so I scooped my car back up from the station and we all headed to one of the two main shopping centres in the suburb, Carlingford Village.

Inside, Village isn't the kind of place with a flashy interior.

Rather than being a mainstream shopping centre, with the likes of Target and whatnot, Village caters to the relatively high population of Carlingford of Chinese ancestry. As a result, you can pick up Ugg Boots and health supplements,

and, more importantly, yum cha. Here's Fortune Palace, full of hungry dinners for their Sunday lunch (and me and my mates).

I bloody love yum cha and dumplings in general. I was particularly hungry after walking through two suburbs prior to our lunch, so I kept forgetting to take pictures before starting to eat. Oops.

Here's one where we had only eaten one dumpling, that's the best I've got for you.

Dessert was the classic mango pudding.

Lunch for three people came to about $23 each. There's some rule of yumcha that no matter where I go, to which location, how much we order and how many people we have, the bill always comes out to roughly 25 a pop.

Anyway, I bid my friends adieu and continued my exploration of the suburb.

Carlingford Village sits at a busy intersection where the pain-in-the-arse Pennant Hills Road meets another major road known as Marsden Road.

Also at this street corner is Eric Mobbs Memorial Park, a patch of nature forming the end of The Ponds Walk that we met back in Dundas and Telopea,

as well as a pretty decent view out to the west.

If you get lost, you can refer to this handy map.

A little further up Pennant Hills Road,

is the other of the two main shopping centres in Carlingford. Carlingford Court is a pretty standard medium-sized shopping centre and that's all you can really say about the place.

Across the road though is this temple. This is a temple for Church of the Latter Day Saints (aka the Mormon religion) and is the only one I know of in Sydney. At Christmas time they have some pretty spiffy decorations outside which you can see from Pennant Hills Road as you drive on by. When it's not December, it just makes for an interesting building (assuming you're not Mormon, that is).

If you head west from the temple into the real guts of the suburb, you can start to see the parts of residential Carlingford which have been razed for the new apartments we saw earlier.

Just next door, this house with a Chinese QR code on its fence interested me. I assumed it was a builder due to knock down the suburban house, with all the construction around, but upon asking a Chinese-reading friend to translate, he tells me that this is a warehouse for exporting Aussie goods such as milk powder. How's that for some suburban enterprise.

Anyway, in stark contrast to the blocks of apartments,

is this apparent farmland across the road.

Now, this isn't as bizarre as it sounds. We're not that daft to build apartment towers next to actual farmland. This land belongs to James Ruse Agricultural High School, the school named after the convict who became among the first farmers in colonial Australia. Today, rather than farming, the school is better known for extension mathematics, ATARs of 99.9 and once you graduate, wide-ranging tertiary education choices of medicine or law.

Enough about the school though.

Carlingford is a suburb I know very well. From my birth to my mid-twenties, while I didn't live in Carlingford itself, I'd always lived one or two suburbs away. That's why I was so surprised when, upon typing "Carlingford" into Google Maps, a picture of a waterfall came up.

There are no waterfalls in Carlingford, are there?

I set the waypoint on my phone's GPS and went to investigate.

A short drive dropped me off on this suburban street at the western end of the suburb, nestled in thick gum trees and houses with outrageously steep driveways.

After accepting another nature reserve terms and conditions document, I took this path into the bush. If you choose to visit this this piece of nature, please be aware the following are banned: aeroplanes, motorcycles, bringing small UFOs, cars, smoking, dogs that walk, tents, fires, putt-putt and dogs that poop.

A thirty second bushwalk,

led me to the lovely little Balaka Falls. Waterfalls in Carlingford, who knew.

One thing I love about suburban Sydney is how many random little bushwalks and reserves there are just behind people's houses. Carlingford is not an exception to this rule, and as well as the falls, you can use this strip of bushland to walk from neighbouring North Rocks all the way to Parramatta Lake. Today though, I just enjoyed this small bit of nature behind houses full of folks sitting at home.

I was ready to call it for Carlingford so I hopped back into the car and headed off. On the way, I made a few small pit stops within this suburb's wide boundaries.

There's the front (non-farmy) bit of James Ruse School, marked by this rather fetching historic building.

There is also a house on this road that I had to make a sudden stop for...

Now, the word "woggy" is not a polite one, but as a self-identifying wog myself, I feel that woggy is the only descriptor I can give to this house.

Check out the birds on the gate outside. Tremendous.

I had one last stop at the suburb's northern border, marked by this bridge and tunnel under the M2 Motorway.

It wasn't the strip of shops across from the bridge that caused me to stop,

although apparently some lady drove through the Chinese restaurant here back in 2011. I only learned this information when I once looked up the restaurant online to see if I could find their menu. Here's a Daily Telegraph article about it.
Image lifted from the above Daily Telegraph news article.

No, I only stopped here to show off a cool little underrated bit of infrastructure that Carlingford gets to enjoy. Under the M2 is a pedestrian pathway,

leading to a bus stop in the middle of the motorway. From here, you can catch a non-stop bus to the city which takes only twenty minutes without traffic (i.e. on the weekends). Sadly, they've reduced the services since the opening of the metro, but it's still pretty good, and definitely beats the Carlingford Train.

That's it for Carlingford and for this anniversary miniseries.

I hope you've enjoyed this past two weeks, and if you're a regular reader, I hope you've enjoyed the past year too. Carlingford is suburb 124 on this little journey of mine, which means it should take another 4-5 years to hit the full 650+ suburbs in Sydney.

Why am I doing this again?

Carlingford: The kind of place where you can enjoy yum cha and a bush walk, but only after you finish your eight hours of after-school tutoring.

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