An attempt to visit every suburb in Sydney.

I'm still in our city's leafy north as I continue my quest towards Sydnicular domination. St Ives

Unhelpful Travel Advice: St Ives

I'm still in our city's leafy north as I continue my quest towards Sydnicular domination.

St Ives

Cast your mind to the ancient history that is three-days-ago and you'll have vague recollection of my scamping around the bushland of St Ives Chase. Well, Kuring Gai river marks the dropping of the Chase as I entered real St Ives.

One thing I love about Sydney is how many bushwalks there are easily accessible in this city. Sure, you're not exactly taking in Grand Canyon-esque views in the bushland of St Ives, but I always enjoy being able to get into the quiet of nature just a few minutes from suburbia.

Apparently, I was on something called the Mueller Track, a not difficult trail nestled in the trees, and with the occasional really steep hill

At least hills mean views - sort of.

Eventually, the trail ejected me onto a paved path. It turns out that this path makes up part of the Wildflower Parkrun, a 5km run which apparently happens every Saturday morning. If waking up early on a weekend and exercise are your thing (they're not mine) you can check it out. 

This led to the Wildflower Visitor Centre,

where they have information about flowers,

and also have ride-on trains.

I'm not sure if the trains are a normal occurrence here, because as luck had it, I had come on the day of the Wildflower Art and Garden Festival, an annual showcasing of art and, I suppose, garden.

Because this is the kind of blog that tells you about events that have already happened, here you get to enjoy sculptures, such as this cute turtle,

this ode to the Black Eyed Peas,

this insect farm,

some solid cooperation,

and the stuff of nightmares.

I presume this was the garden bit.

The art took you to stroll all around the wildflower garden, which is a lovely place even without all of the sculptures.

When I saw there was a festival on, I knew there had to be a sausage sizzle too. $8 for a sausage sanga is a little cheeky but I still couldn't say no, especially after my emerging from the woods (I do BBQ sauce and mustard, for what it's worth).

But alas, St Ives is a suburb, and not just a portion of Kuring Gai National Park, so I had to leave this place and go on to explore the 'burb.

This took me out onto Mona Vale Road. With a speed limit of 90, I couldn't help but feel a little exposed as I walked on the road's hard shoulder.

Heading south into the rest of St Ives, luckily the road slows down and goes from highway to just regular old main road. There's even fancy houses!

Because St Ives is so bloody large, I was intending to catch a bus to the southern end of the suburb where the small commercial section is. On the way to the bus stop, I couldn't help but notice how lush and green St Ives is. I suppose this makes sense considering it's at the fringes of Kuring Gai.

Completing Sydney is being the only person waiting under the hot sun for a late-running bus which comes once every hour.

The bus did deliver and I was whisked a few minutes down the road to St Ives' commercial centre. I briefly mentioned the Red Rooster Line in an earlier post, well St Ives is the first time I've seen a Chargrill Charlies with my own eyes, a local chain which I'm told marks out the city's "affluent north". This article provides more info on Sydney's regional food divides, and is actually super interesting too!

Affluent north is probably a fair distinguisher of this area. The local shopping strip here features the right kind of greengrocer,

as well as a real estate agent selling a nine bedroom estate.

What caught my eye, however, was this very South African sign advertising biltong (a South African jerky). Since they worked so hard on the sign, I followed it.

Perhaps expectedly, this turned out to be a South African grocery store.

But these people have a zebra too!

As the small store was already quite full of people, I decided not to go inside. As of the last census, around 10% of St Ivians had at least one parent born in South Africa, which would explain the shop's popularity.

Anyway, I headed back out onto the main road, and continued on south.

In amongst all of the traffic,

it was nice to run into St Ives Memorial Park, a small war memorial providing offering respite from the very busy Mona Vale Road.

Continuing slightly further on south, I found myself at St Ives Shopping Village (pardon the really crappy picture). For most of my life, my only knowledge of St Ives was this shopping centre that we'd pass in the car on the way to wherever we were trying to go. And it always meant we were still really far from our destination. My intention was to go inside to find out what I'd been missing all of these years, but clearly nobody comes here by foot, as there was no way for me to safely cross the road without backtracking a tonne. Ah well, we've all seen shopping centres before.

Just as Mona Vale Road brought me into the suburb once I had left the gardens, it also took me out, as I continued down the road into the next suburb.

St Ives: Come check out the festival... in a year.


  1. You didn't miss anything in the shopping centre. But from memory there is a really nice Indian food joint right near the Biltong, used to stop there often on my home from Long Reef/Collaroy.

    1. I'd say that perhaps I'll check it out next time I'm in town, but considering it took me this long to actually make it to St Ives the first time I suspect that'd be a lie. Thanks for reading!

  2. Actually you did miss something at the shopping centre as it is one of very few that is fully carpeted. And a luxury carpet at that. Great reviews by the way.