An attempt to visit every suburb in Sydney.

2020. What a year.  As is my annual tradition, I use the last post of the year for the Golden Ibises, the award ceremony which looks back at...

The Golden Ibises 2020: The Third Annual Completing Sydney Awards

2020. What a year. 

As is my annual tradition, I use the last post of the year for the Golden Ibises, the award ceremony which looks back at the past year of Completing Sydney. 

It's no secret that 2020 has been an absolute dumpster fire of a year, and it did affect the blog, stopping me from covering as much ground as I otherwise would, as well as the lockdown stopping my exploration for a period earlier in the year. That being said I'm glad to say that I managed to make it to the other side while:

  1. - Not catching the plague
  2. - Not ending up in the paper for catching the plague and then travelling to 10 suburbs in a day (I can just see the spicy comments underneath the Daily Telegraph news tabloid article). 

But before getting started with the awards, I always like to start off with a short summary of the ground covered over the past year.

2020 Quickstats

  • Suburbs completed this year: 95
  • Most suburbs completed in one day: 7
  • Transport caught: 28 trains, 18 buses, 6 ferries, 2 trams, 1 car ferry (on foot)
  • Echidnas spotted: 1
  • Blog posts written while working from home: Some of my colleagues read this blog

Let's get started.

Eligible Suburbs

You can see every suburb covered in 2020 on the below Google Map (or view the map separately here)

The Awards

The Wasting Everyone's Time Award

The number of suburbs in Sydney is close to the 700 mark these days. My experience tells me that we could easily shed a couple hundred and not miss out on too much. This award goes to the suburb which most does not need to be a suburb.

Winner: McCarrs Creek

Many of us know the wonderful Ku Ring Gai Chase National Park. Less of us know that there are a bunch of tiny suburbs embedded in the park. One such suburb is McCarrs Creek, a dirt path with a couple of houses on it. This would be acceptable, but on the other end of the dirt path is another, similar, but larger suburb, Elvina Bay. Get out of here McCarrs Creek.

Honourable Mention: Ramsgate

Ramsgate is a tiny suburb in the St George region, with a small commercial area and some houses. So why does it get the wasting everyone's time dishonour? Well just next door to it is another tiny suburb, Ramsgate Beach, which is essentially the same thing but has a beach. An entirely unnecessary suburb.

The Ambassador Award

This is my personal favourite category of suburb. The Ambassador Award is given to the very best of our city's ethnic hubs. These are the kind of suburbs where you can try new foods and see new sights. These suburbs are especially important in the era of closed borders when they're the closest we can get to international travel.

Winner: Chatswood

Chatswood is Sydney's answer to the bustling Asian megacity. Here, you are surrounded by shiny glass, apartments, office towers, luxury shopping, youthful eateries, a metro station and even somewhere to buy one of those space-aged Japanese toilets. Take two steps and you can also enjoy sort-of-dodgy traditional markets and restaurants. An amazing suburb for those of us with itchy feet since the borders closed.  

Honourable Mention: Hurstville

Hurstville rocks. With endless Asian restaurants, grocers and services, and a lively atmosphere, Hurstville's the place in the south to enjoy a Chinese BBQ duck, a bubble tea, or even some South American/Asian groceries from the creatively combined Hola Namaste Grocery.

There Was an Old Lady Who Lived in a Shoe Award

I spend a lot of time walking through suburbia for this blog. This means I tend to see plenty of weird and wonderful houses while out and about. The award is for my favourite one of those.

Winner: Stuart Little House, Surry Hills

Do you remember Stuart Little's house? Well Surry Hills has given it a red hot go, squeezing in an adorable terrace between two chunky apartment blocks.

Honourable Mention: Breakfast Point (The entire suburb)

The houses of this gated-community type suburb give pure dystopian vibes. So much so, that the suburb spray paints its grass green. Absolutely bizarre, but perfect for the post-apocalyptic world that is 2020.

The Punching Above Its Weight Award

There are a lot of suburbs in Sydney that nobody would ever think of visiting for recreation. Some of those are surprisingly great. This award celebrates those suburbs.

Winner: Doonside
Doonside is a real surprise. Ask someone from the east or north what they think Doonside is like and you are likely to hear a description that sounds like downtown Mogadishu. While it's true that Doonside isn't Vaucluse, it also houses the incredible Nurragingy Reserve, Featherdale Wildlife Park (my go-to for overseas guests) and one of the few places in Sydney you can find Filipino food. You go okay Doonside. 

Honourable Mention: Homebush
Homebush is an interesting one. Real estate agents will tell you it's in the Inner West, but actual Inner Westies would scoff at this suggestion. When I went to investigate, I found a surprisingly charming suburb with beautiful old homes, a nice-enough local centre, and even a Buddhist Temple. Perhaps the real estate agents are on to something.

The Diamond In the Rough Award

This award is given to suburbs which appear to have nothing of interest, until you suddenly hit that one, single, really cool thing. 

Winner: Rooty Hill, Rooty Hill
Rooty Hill the suburb isn't my favourite place in the world. Rooty Hill the hill on the other hand is cool in its own ironic way, with it's Windows XP styling, and panoramic views of Western Sydney. (Also featured in The Blacktown Video, if you're interested).

The Bin Night Award

The Bin Night Award is named after the majestic ibis' favourite restaurant. It's an award that's given to the best meal I've had on my trip. Sadly, 2020 has caused me to avoid restaurants much more than before. As such, you'll find today's entrants to be much more in the "casual dining" realm.

Winner: Portuguese Chicken Burger, Richmond
I don't know what the good people at Tastify in Richmond put in their chicken burgers, but this thing was simply magical. The fact that their chip sizing goes from kids (large) to large (outrageously large) is always a plus too.

Honourable Mention: Lamb Pita Wrap, Hunters Hill
In the suburb of Hunters Hill, I stopped at a place called Grill Republic. Here, I enjoyed a wrap with amazingly juicy lamb, hot chips, and flavourful garlic yoghurt. My picture is bad but I assure you it was a very good thing.

Honourable Mention: Seafood and Chips, Avalon Beach

Fish and chips on the beach is always wonderful, but Oceana Traders at Avalon Beach served us up an incredible salt and pepper squid and whatever their name is for a fishermans basket. Soft, crispy, flavourful and all-around excellent. Here's another crappy photo for your viewing pleasure. Separate call out goes to the ice cream shop inside Avalon's pharmacy where the pictured milkshake was acquired. 

The Sore Feet Award

Sydney boasts a large number of "Absolute Unit" suburbs - big places with lots to do and see. These suburbs can take a lot out of me but are often really rewarding to explore and cover. Here's the award for suburbs with a seemingly endless list of attractions.

Winner: Richmond
Richmond is what I call "Sydney by Technicality" - the category of suburbs that sit within the bounds of my definition of Sydney, but aren't quite Sydney. Regardless, in Richmond's massive footprint this place has an endless sequence of heritage buildings in its town centre, the gorgeous Smith Park, lush farmland, and even a university campus with cows. 

Honourable Mention: Hunters Hill

Similarly sore feet inducing is the North Shore's Hunters Hill. Head to Hunters Hill for even more endless heritage buildings, quiet riverside walks, and even a picturesque view or two. An awesome place to spend an afternoon (or many).

The Derek Zoolander Award

The Derek Zoolander Award is one that was introduced last year. As the name suggests, this one is for the really, really ridiculously good looking suburbs. 

Winner: Waverton
Waverton has two dazzlingly gorgeous spots which are enough for it to take out the prize. Most traditionally beautiful is Balls Head Reserve, a harbourside park with views of the city. But the wildcard which allowed Waverton to take out the prize for the year is the Coal Loader, a former industrial site and now open-air-museum of sorts, with interesting historic infrastructure and buildings all on a gorgeous harbour backdrop.

Honourable Mention: Bondi Beach
As Sydneysiders it seems to be our civic duty to poo-poo Bondi Beach, with its outrageous parking situation, not very good public transport, and too many Europeans. Take that walk over from neighbouring Tamarama though and tell me that our most famous beachside suburb is not bloody gorgeous. 

The Immaturity Award

This was an award I introduced in 2018 and didn't bring back last year. At the time, it was supposed to be for the suburb with the most giggle-inducing name. The suburbs covered in the past two years haven't had names anywhere near as silly as what was covered in 2018, but I can't resist the urge to make jokes about private parts. As a result, I'm repurposing this award for the suburb which most brought my twelve year old self to life. 

Winner: Butt Park, Willoughby East
So good I used the entire post for it.
Butt Park

Honourable Mention: Dick Street, Henley
Put on a good performance but couldn't match The Butt. 

Honourable Mention: Butt Street, Surry Hills
The same joke as above, still funny.
Butt Street

The Best Duck Award

The fact that it's taken me three years to add this award is a travesty. Ducks are adorable and I see a lot of them while travelling through suburban Sydney. Why not give a prize to the suburb with the best duck?

North Kellyville had a duckling. Zero competition.

Honourable Mention: Picnic Point
Tell me this isn't an excellent duck.

Honourable Mention: Hurstville
I am a terrible person.

The Wooden Ibis

The Wooden Ibis is one of the few Golden Ibises which is not positive in nature. This "award" is given to my least favourite suburb of the year.

Winner: Parklea
Parklea is a small suburb of McMansiony type houses sitting next to a prison. The one saving grace would be Parklea Markets, but it turns out that that's not even in Parklea. Disappointing.

Dishonourable Mention: Yennora
What can we say about Yennora? Half of it is covered in industry, the other half is some of the most uninspiring Western Sydney suburbia I've ever laid eyes on. The one house with a Buddhist Temple as their mailbox was able to save the place from the bottom prize.

The Platinum Ibis

And finally, the highly esteemed Platinum Ibis. This one is simple - it's my favourite suburb of 2020. Let's not fluff about.

Winner: Homebush West

This year I covered places like Bondi, Surry Hills and Woolwich, and yet I pick Homebush West as my favourite, what gives? Well Homebush West is absolutely full of surprises, from the incredibly diverse and lively town centre, to the dysfunction and chaos of Paddy's Markets, to the brand-new looking terracotta Hindu temple by the station, this completely anonymous patch of Western Sydney is unexpectedly awesome. In the words of The Castle, it's the vibe

Honourable Mention: Meadowbank

Really? Meadowbank? What I like about this place is that it offers a real alternative to the traditional Aussie dream of a free standing house on a quarter acre block - a dream that is slowly fading into the history books as our population swells. Instead, you are given a suburb with great public transport (with its train and ferry), greater public spaces (with its sports fields, cycleways and parkland along Parramatta River), and a stack of apartments both old and new. It's not the sexiest place in the world, but I like what they're doing. 

Thank you

As always, this is the time to congratulate our winning suburbs, and chastise the losers. I'm sure some of my choices will be controversial (well about as controversial as a blog about some guy who walks around suburbia can be), but that's what makes it fun after all. 

That's all for me for 2020, I want to thank those who have been joining me as regular readers and subscribers to the blog. If you're new here, and like what I'm doing, you may wish to follow along for my new year adventures by subscribing via Facebook (@SydneyCompletion), Instagram (also @SydneyCompletion) or Email

If you enjoyed this, you may also want to check out previous years' Golden Ibises, or take a look at my full list of suburbs to see if I've taken a photo of your house. 

See you in 2021!


  1. Hurstville seems to be the real winner here with two honourable mentions!

  2. 95 suburbs visited! Fantastic. You were so close to Darlington, but it didn't get a mention, or did I miss it? I used to work in Vine Street, Darlington and friends live nearby. Thanks for all the giggles and fun observations. Happy new year to you and Mrs.

    1. I haven't actually done Darlington yet (although - spoilers - it's actually the first suburb of 2021!)

  3. Awesome blog.keep going ��

  4. Yay for Darlington. I'll tell my friends and ex-work colleagues... actually the same people.

  5. Thanks for all the hard work this year, Yaz.

    Can't wait for Lugarno, Peakhurst, Penshurst and Mortdale.

  6. Yo, this blog is really cool. It's so weird to hear about other suburbs I've never heard of despite living in Sydney all my life.

  7. Thanks Yaz, you crack me up with every post - poo-poo Bondi beach and the ducks ........ for your lunch in Hurstville :)

  8. This is great. Keep it up.

  9. There is Bogan Avenue in Sylvania waters, Not many Bogans down there I should think. All the Streets to be fair are names after Rivers.

  10. Thanks Yaz. Your blog is grand.

  11. cringey jokes, simply awful

    1. Fuck you, the jokes are grand. Keep it up Yaz!!!

  12. Glad I found this a couple of years ago, still here, still loving every suburb. Thank you!

  13. Really enjoying the blog... happy new year!

  14. Fabulous! But I'm worried the 'duckling' is in fact a cootling. Unless you managed to crop the duck offspring out of the picture. If you misclassified the coots, then I fear North Kellyville must return its award.

    1. I can confirm that the duckling is extremely coot. In fact, it is the cootest.