An attempt to visit every suburb in Sydney.

2021 has come and gone, and with it was another year of suburbs - sort of. Just like last year, the pandemic did put a damper on my explorat...

Golden Ibises 2021: The Fourth Annual Completing Sydney Awards

2021 has come and gone, and with it was another year of suburbs - sort of. Just like last year, the pandemic did put a damper on my exploration, with me having to pause for a few months during lockdown. But still, I managed to check another good list suburbs off in the time that it was legal to. For the first time, I also did a "people's choice", where I visited eight suburbs of your choice over the month of August November, and I even got banned from Facebook earlier this year when Mark Zuckerberg thought I was news. 

As is tradition, here are the fourth end of year Golden Ibis Awards, where I look back at the past year and give a few awards to some of my favourite (and least favourite) suburbs. 

This year I managed to pick off 82 suburbs, putting me at a total of 343 suburbs covered so far on this blog. 82 is less than the previous years for obvious reasons, but it's an achievement I'm still proud of.

Without any more dilly-dallying, let's get on with the awards. 

Eligible Suburbs

The suburbs covered in 2021 are listed on this Google Map.  

A direct link to the map is here: 

The Awards

Immaturity Award

I turned thirty this year. Despite this, I still have a similar level of maturity as I did when I was in year 8. This award is given to the suburbs with names that tickle my teenage funny-bone.

Winner: Rodd Point
Need I say more?

Honourable Mention: Como Pleasure Grounds
They could have called it Como Park. But they didn't, and that's wonderful. 

The Punching Above It's Weight Award

Sydney has plenty of suburbs which have a great reputation as somewhere to go see stunning natural beauty, eat great food, indulge in a cultural excursion, or check out pretty heritage architecture. It has also way, way more suburbs which are completely unknown. Some of those are actually more interesting than they have any right to be. This award celebrates those suburbs. 

Winner: Stanhope Gardens

Stanhope Gardens is pretty much a completely bog-standard slice of Northwest Sydney suburbia. Despite this, here I found empanadas, geese, water features, a number of funky statues, and a modern-looking pointy church. Not bad for a random suburb in Blacktown Council. 

Honourable Mention: South Hurstville

South Hurstville is not a suburb you'd find in any tourist guides, and for good reason. That being said, here I found a giant shrine to a Chinese Poet, ate baked goods, saw a surprising number of apocalypse-ready vehicles and ran into an interesting mix of homes from across the twentieth century. 

The Ambassador Award

Before I started doing this blog, I used to love visiting one of the seemingly infinite number of Sydney's ethnic enclaves. It was these types of Sydney suburbs which encouraged me to begin this challenge. In these suburbs, you can browse unusual stores, eat amazing food, and travel the world without needing a PCR test or hotel quarantine. The Ambassador Award recognises these suburbs that give Sydney its diverse brand.  

Winner: Pendle Hill
Pendle Hill's town centre has a distinctly South Asian flavour. Here, you can buy sarees and idols, pick up the Indian answer to a sausage roll from a place that looks like a fish shop, and drink a product manufactured by Elephant House. 

Honourable Mention: Granville
To directly copy from the article itself: is there a more iconic Western Sydney combination than charcoal chicken with garlic sauce, baklava and shops selling foreign DVDs under questionable copyright license? 

The Wasting Everybody's Time Award

There are around 700 suburbs in Sydney these days. Many of those really do not need to be a suburb. This award recognises those suburbs which seemingly only exist to waste everybody's time. 

How could a beachside suburb be wasting everyone's time? Simple, this suburb doesn't have a beach in it. Instead, you've got a few streets of new houses which should really be considered part of the far less pointless Cronulla

Honourable Mention: Singletons Mill
Singletons Mill is a semi-rural Suburb by Technicality. The reason it's wasting everyone's time isn't this, it's the fact that it seems to be an arbitrarily sliced out piece of bushland that you can only access by driving down a single gravel road. Just give it to Canoelands guys, their name is way more fun anyway.

The Bin Night Award

Sydney is absolutely filled with great food, and while I don't eat a meal in every suburb I visit, it would be near impossible to explore this town without managing to enjoy some great food. This award, named after the humble ibis' favourite buffet (remember buffets? Covid sucks), calls out some of the best food I've had this year for the blog. 

Winner: Marayong
Marayong's dowdy town centre features an awesome Filipino bakery named Mrs Ube. This place was so unique (to me) that it's the first time that a dessert has taken out the Bin Night Award. Here, I enjoyed a range of unique Filipino baked goods as well as a purple drink. Things like this is why Western Sydney can be criminally underrated.

Honourable Mention: Wahroonga
At Wahroonga I dropped by Burger Hounds for their "Canuck" burger. This thing was an intense Canadian-themed burger with beef, maple-bacon-jam, cheese, and tater-tots poutine. My picture is crappy, but I assure you, this heart-slowing burger is one to try.

Honourable Mention: North Ryde
I really, really like yum cha. North Ryde RSL's House of Tong is very good yum cha. That is all.

There Was an Old Lady Who Lived in a Shoe Award

I spend a lot of time walking around suburbia taking photos of people's houses. Some of those houses can be a bit whacky. The There Was an Old Lady Who Lived in a Shoe Award picks the whackiest. 

So I found out about this place through a hokey Current Affair story about some guy who's either gotten ripped off by a property developer or hasn't quite understood what he was buying. While it is a sad story for the owner, the fact of the matter is what's whackier than half a house?

Bonus points go to the fact that there's another half-house one street away from that one too.

Honourable Mention: Haberfield
It looks like it's from the set of a 1970s game show. 

The Sore Feet Award

There are a number of Sydney suburbs that are immense. The Sore Feet Award does not award a suburb for its size, but for being huge and full of stuff to see. Leave a free day if you want to properly enjoy these 'burbs.

Winner: Manly
Manly's a funny one. Most people (me included) might take a ferry in, head to the beach, maybe take a stroll to Shelly Beach, and call it a day, but this suburb is absolutely epic, with eight beaches, an entire national park, endless lookouts, a bustling commercial centre, and streets full of heritage. It's no wonder this one's a tourist favourite. 

Honourable Mention: Oatley
Far less visited than Manly but still immense is Oatley. This is a suburb with bushland trails, a castle, swathes of suburban streets, swimming spots and lookouts, as well as a very cool bridge leaving the place. 

The Diamond in the Rough Award

Many suburbs are entirely uninteresting. Some suburbs are almost entirely uninteresting, apart from having one unusual or notable gem somewhere in their bounds. The Diamond in the Rough Award finds those gems. 

Winner: North Rocks
North Rocks is a very regular Western Sydney suburb. Head into a bit of bushland behind an industrial pocket, however, and you are rewarded with the immense Northmead Dam. 

Honourable Mention: Horningsea Park
Another completely random Western Sydney suburb is Horningsea Park. There ain't much to see here, apart from a flea market designed after after an Arabian Market, for some reason.

The Derek Zoolander Award

Make no mistake, Sydney can be bloody gorgeous. The Derek Zoolander Award is for the suburbs which are really, really ridiculously good looking

Winner: Woolloomooloo
Woolloomooloo is gorgeous. It's got a gorgeous wharfy-bit on the sparkingly-blue harbour and a gorgeous walking street of European-looking houses just begging for a Christmas market. What more do you want?

Honourable Mention: Wisemans Ferry
Head north to Sydney's northernmost suburb for a tremendous lookout and lush hills.

Honourable Mention: Barangaroo
Another Inner City spot, Barangaroo combines the wonderful harbour with shiny glass and steel, throwing in a great urban reserve for good measure. 

The Best Duck Award

I like ducks. I see many ducks while out and about. Why not award the best ones?

Winner: Cheltenham
Mother duck swimming Cheltenham's canals with her ducklings. I can confirm I melted.

Honourable Mention: Baulkham Hills
Who says ducks don't play tennis?

The Wooden Ibis

Not all awards are complimentary. The Wooden Ibis is my least favourite suburb of the year. 

Winner: Silverwater
This industrial suburb is so exciting that they named parts of it after the UK's Slough

(Dis)honourable Mention: Oxley Park
Look, there's nothing particularly wrong with this suburb, but there's also no reason to come here. It's the plain toast of suburbia. 

The Platinum Ibis

And finally, the most coveted Platinum Ibis. This goes to nothing more than my favourite suburb of the past year. It can be hard choosing these, but the best Platinum Ibis suburbs take a little bit from many of the above categories and package them up into a great day out.  

Winner: Pyrmont
Pyrmont is an awesome place to spend a half-day walking around. From the beautiful waterside parks, to the endless heritage buildings, to the iconic fish market, if you're looking for some Covid-safe outdoor activities just a stone's throw from the CBD, come take a walk around Pyrmont. 

Runner Up: Haberfield
Haberfield is another awesome Sydney suburb. This Inner West spot features interesting older houses and buildings and is famous for its great Italian food and the Donald's hamburger restaurant, all while sitting on the much loved Inner West Bay Run. A very worthy day out.

Thank you

Congratulations to our winning suburbs. And to the losers - stop being so crappy. 

As always, this is a heartfelt thank you for those who are regular readers, and also to those who are not but have taken the time to read this post. 

2021 was not an easy year for most, and nobody knows what 2022 will bring. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and I'll see you all on the other side of the fireworks for more suburbs. 

In the meantime, if you liked this, you may want to check out the previous years' Golden Ibises

You may also wish to consider seeing what other suburbs I've covered so far

And finally, if you want to follow along in the new year, you may wish to consider subscribing to this blog over Email, Facebook, Instagram or Reddit in order to be notified when a new suburb drops - I make two posts a week. 


  1. I can't believe it's 4 years already!OK OK I will follow you on FB too!

  2. I saw your post on reddit - this is really cool!
    Huge fan of the best Duck award! Can't wait to see what you say next year :)

  3. I enjoy your droll musings about Sydney's suburbs. Keep up the good work.

  4. Golden Ibis Awards - just wonderful! Thanks Yaz.

  5. Great list - nice of you to include Haberfield's half-pipe house.

  6. Your blog has really made me proud and curious about our wonderful "little" city. Hopefully this year brings you more adeventures. I'm really looking forward to the next Ibis awards!