An attempt to visit every suburb in Sydney.

We're here to see off the end of 2022, and as such it's time for the highly prestigious Golden Ibis Awards.  Over the past year, I&#...

The Golden Ibises 2022: The Fifth Annual Completing Sydney Awards

We're here to see off the end of 2022, and as such it's time for the highly prestigious Golden Ibis Awards. 

Over the past year, I've been to 125 more of Sydney's suburbs in my attempt to visit them all, and the Golden Ibises are where I take a look at the past year and give awards to some of my favourite (and least favourite) suburbs of the year. 


Part of this year's focus for me was to give walking ridiculously long distances a crack, culminating with my attempt at walking all the way across Sydney, but otherwise 2022 has been another solid year of walking around this town's endless suburbia, taking photos of people's houses and getting yelled at by the occasional resident in the process. 


Eligible Suburbs

To see which suburbs were visited this year, you can check out the below Google Map:


The link to the map is here.


And now, without further ado, let's get on with the awards.


Awards

There Was an Old Lady Who Lived in a Shoe Award

Most people in Sydney live in fairly normal looking houses. This award is given to the whackiest house seen in the past year.

Winner: Dr Evil's Lair (Palm Beach)
Nestled in the trees of Palm Beach is none other than Austin Powers' nemesis. 


Honourable Mention: The many Pizza Hut houses of the north Mount Druitt area (combined mention to Hebersham, Dharruk, Blacket, Shalvey, Willmot). 

This bit of Sydney loves itself a stepped and/or pointy roof. 

 

Honourable Mention: Pride House (Enmore)

Now that's a colour scheme.


The Wasting Everybody's Time Award

Sydney has almost 700 suburbs in it. Many of those suburbs really don't need to exist. This award is for the suburb that most has no reason to exist.

Winner: North Harbour
North Harbour is Sydney's only landless suburb, comprising of the waters between Manly, Fairlight and Balgowlah. Why did the NSW Geographic Names Board register it as a suburb? Probably just to waste my time.


Honourable Mention: Tallawong

There was always a suburb here. It was named Schofields. My personal conspiracy theory is that they invented Tallawong to obfuscate from the fact that the government couldn't be bothered running the metro a further 3km up the road to connect it to the real Schofields station. 


The Bin Night Award

Sydney has some excellent food in it, and so it's difficult to explore this place without having an excellent feed. This award is for the best thing I've eaten over the year's suburbsing.

Winner: Greek sweets at (Eastlakes)
This was a hard choice this year, but I couldn't go past the incredible Greek baked goods sampled at Born to Bake Greek in Eastcakes Eastlakes. It was of course washed down with a Greek frappe. 

Honourable Mention: DIY rice paper rolls (Canley Vale)
In Canley Vale, I dropped by Hai Au Lang Nuong Vietnamese restaurant where they sell a DIY rice paper roll set, with delicious grilled pork, sugarcane prawn, herbs and spring rolls.


Honourable Mention: Chicken shawarma (Greenacre)
Greenacre's Mr Shawarma does an excellent crispy-breaded, garlic-lathered chicken shawarma. Pretty good falafel too.

The Diamond in the Rough Award

This award is given to a suburb which had nothing much in particular to see, except for one single, really awesome thing. 

Winner: Enfield
In Enfield, I didn't see too much, other than this one rather remarkable church.


Honourable Mention: Belfield
In Belfield, like a little boy who loves Thomas the Tank Engine, I was enamoured by the suburb's immense (and surprisingly green) rail lines running by. 

Honourable Mention: Mount Annan
Mount Annan is a perfectly cromulent Outer Western Sydney residential suburb. It also features the incredible and huge Australian Botanic Gardens, a Southwest Sydney must visit with bushwalks, picnic areas and even a lab that maintains plant samples. 

The One Man's Trash Award

This is a new award this year. While exploring Sydney, I come across a lot of random crap dumped on the side of the road. This award is for the one I found most entertaining.

Winner: Chullora
In the completely industrial suburb of Chullora, I found this perfectly fresh cucumber chilling on the side of the road. Somebody's gone to their local greengrocer, picked out a cucumber, purchased it, and then immediately taken it to the Australia Post Distribution Centre. What a world.


Honourable Mention: Also Chullora
An honourable mention must also go to Chullora, where some worker, after a hard day working at the factory, has gone to town on a family box of Ferrero Rochers. Christmas came early for that lad. 

The Ambassador Award

We all know that Sydney is a very multicultural place, and some of my favourite suburbs to visit are the ones that transport you around the world. Here you can eat some of Sydney's best food or browse through unusual stores without needing your passport. 

Winner: Lakemba
Rather than being dominated by one particular ethnic group like most of the Ambassador Award winners of the past, Lakemba is more of a pan-Islamic affair, with offerings from the Middle East, South Asia and Southeast Asia. I visited Lakemba during the becoming-famous Ramadan markets and highly recommend it for great food and an amazing vibe.  

Honourable Mention: Ryde
I had no idea that I would find a mini-Iran in Ryde of all places. Eat a Persian sandwich, have some Persian sweets and peruse a Persian grocery store. I did and I loved it.

The Punching Above It's Weight Award

This next award is presented to a suburb who you expect to suck, but ended up still making for an enjoyable visit. 

Winner: Birrong
Birrong is in a fairly unglamorous patch of Sydney. Regardless, here I was able to visit the impressively large Maluga Park (with its very own Ibis Island), eat waffles, see a house overrun by soft toys, and even come across what was clearly an undercover ASIO surveillance operation.

Honourable Mention: Mount Druitt
Sydney's alpine region is usually the butt of everyone's jokes. Despite this, I found an interesting Filipino-themed burger shop with some brilliant "chicken adobo fries", and a park with a number of interesting war monuments. 

The Sore Feet Award

Some Sydney suburbs are small and quick to check off. Some are huge and contain a stack of things you really ought to see if you come visit. The sore feet award recognises those in the latter category.

Winner: Concord West
Prior to me "Completing" Concord West, I used to use this place as just a free Olympic Park parking spot. It turns out that the suburb is a whole lot more, with its largest highlight being the endless grounds, heritage buildings and walking trails in and around the hospital. You might even spot a black cockatoo.

Honourable Mention: Greenwich
This surprisingly packed suburb features bushwalks, an incredible waterside view, the rather aesthetic Greenwich baths, old sandstone houses and a healthy sprinkle of upper-middle-class local drama. 


The Derek Zoolander Award

Sydney can be a very beautiful place, and this award goes to a suburb that's really really really ridiculously good looking.

From walking along the wharves or some sandstone heritage, to the spectacular Observatory Hill Park, Millers Point really is a rather handsome chap.

Honourable Mention: Palm Beach
Sydney has no shortage of gorgeous ocean shores, and the Northern Beaches are (in my view anyway) the best. Palm Beach has a unique thing going for it in that it's a narrow peninsula with both a spotless ocean beach, and a beautiful inland beach facing Ku Ring Gai Chase National Park.

The Best Duck Award

Next in line is arguably the most important award. I see a lot of good ducks on my travels through Sydney and in a way, they are all the best ducks. Still, like children, choosing your favourite is an important task.

Winner: Seven Hills
Seven Hills, I came to learn, is a suburb with a shocking level of bird segregation. Despite this, the local ducks here are cute and friendly. 

Honourable Mention: Nirimba Fields
In Nirimba Fields, I found a closed school swimming pool. Thankfully, it wasn't closed to the ducks who chose to repurpose it for themselves.


Honourable Mention: Rouse Hill
Technically, this is a coot, not a duck, but I don't discriminate on this blog. This particular coot was investigating a doll-homicide, so that's pretty cool.

The Wooden Ibis

So, we're up to the award you don't want to win. The Wooden Ibis is simply my least favourite suburb of the year.

Winner: Box Hill
Yet another cookie-cutter, car-dependent development in the outer northwest's floodplains, with the same grey houses sitting around the same identical park. Hooray.

Dishonourable Mention: Concord
Despite liking bits of Concord, I wasn't able to enjoy the package as a whole. The town centre is too car focused with a big fence running through the middle of the street, the (actually quite pretty) waterside path goes through private property and they want you to know it, with a mean looking sign banning cycling, and the whole vibe just feels a little bit... unfriendly. Some will love the place, but it just isn't my jam.

The Platinum Ibis

And finally, we finish up with the much coveted Platinum Ibis. Just as the Wooden Ibis was my least favourite, this one is nothing more and nothing less than my favourite of the year. 

Winner: Haymarket
Is it a bit unfair to give the suburbs prize to a CBD suburb? Possibly, but I do love this place. Host to Sydney's Chinatown, the shiny new Darling Square, the great Goods Line and endless eating options, Haymarket is, in my eyes, the CBD's dynamic heart. And lucky for you, Central Station is here, meaning there's about half a million transport options to come and check it out. 

Honourable Mention: Windsor
On the complete opposite end of the spectrum is Windsor. Windsor is Sydney by Technicality, but it still counts. Here, you can enjoy a Gold-rush aesthetic town centre, an interesting local (free) museum and the most impressive frozen yoghurt I've ever seen. They've even still got a Pizza Hut buffet for some reason. 

And that's all

So that's it for this year's Golden Ibises, and for this blog (for now). 

As mentioned a few suburbs ago, early next year I'm heading overseas to London for a couple of years, while I'm still young enough for Charles to let me in on a youth visa. That means that Sydney shall remain uncompleted (by me anyway) for now, with a total count of 468 suburbs checked off and about 200 more remaining. 

I want to thank everyone who made it through this year's Golden Ibises, with a special thanks to the regular readers who have been reading the usual suburb posts too (who knew that people want to read about places like the many Kellyvilles). Without you I wouldn't have had the motivation to keep this going for four and half odd years now through plagues, bushfire smoke, rain and tired feet. 

So. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and hopefully I'll see you again in a couple of years. Maybe.

And no, there definitely will not be a Completing London :) 


Need more? Check out the previous years' Golden Ibis awards.

12 comments:

  1. Thank you for 4 fantastic years of Sydney exploration, as a long-time reader it’s been wonderful to learn so much about my own city and you’ve inspired plenty of curiosity and exploration by others. All the best for the years ahead

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the commitment to this project. I’ve learned heaps about Sydney from you. All the best for your time in London.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Safe travels, and thanks for the adventures by proxy. It's been fun, it's been educational and it's been real!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh you're leaving! Thank you! I have really enjoyed this blog! And completely agree with you on Born to Bake Greek (former suburb) and Birrong (next to current suburb Yagoona -so very underrated lol). All the best in London!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Did not disappoint as always. Thank you for such a fun and informative trip through my home city. Have an amazing time in London. I hope you do come back to finish the rest of Sydney. Happy New Year!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks for all the hard work on your great blog Yaz, I wouldn't claim to have read every post but I've read hundreds of them. You always manage to find a bit of humour in even the most mundane cookie cutter newish suburb. All the best for your time in London and hopefully you'll be back to finish your monumental task one day.

    ReplyDelete
  7. What a year it's been! Thankyou for your suburb meanderings and musings. There's a lot to learn out there. The Pride House in Enmore...is that next to the railway line and can be seen from from the train ride? If it's not it, then there's another. Have a fabulous time in England. Best wishes to you Yaz and Mrs Completing Sydney.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Nice read, I also was surprised about Concord-West with all the trails. Was riding my bike around and followed a trail along the river that ended up behind a fenced off area in the hospital and got stuck ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Enjoy London, I immensely miss it when I did my working holiday there. You should attempt the "Monopoly pub crawl" in London.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thanks for the years of walking through Sydney Yaz. We will miss you! Enjoy your adventures in London. Concord is not that bad - I’ve lived her for 21 years! Hope you come back to complete our suburbs.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thank you so much for the information and images. I lived in about 12 Sydney suburbs before moving to the Central Coast many years ago. My favourite was Glebe , ( before it became trendy) ☺️Have a brilliant time in London and thanks again.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Oh my, so this is goodbye then? As much as I desperately want Completing London in the same humourous style I also want you to explore without the pressure of documenting. Thank you for 4 brilliant years. I treasured every single one.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Laters Yaz. Always awesome to tune in and see which suburb I'd never heard of was up to the plate.

    ReplyDelete