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Great Eastern Wine Week, 9-18 September 2022

Wednesday, 21 July 2021

On the trail of mighty fine molluscs


There are plenty of gourmet trails across Australia; dozens of wine trails, too, but the folks from Destination New South Wales want to lift awareness of their state's oysters trails.

August is apparently the prime time to sample the much-loved mollusc, with Sydney rock and Pacific oysters both at their peak at this time.

Sydney rock oysters are native to Australia and have been cultivated since the late 1800s. They can now be found across the state's coastline.

Pacific oysters, in contrast, are a relative newcomer to Australia's waters, introduced from Japan in the 1940s. They are now the country's most common farmed variety and can be found at Port Stephens, north of Sydney, and Shoalhaven, south of Sydney.

Also native to Australia is the rare Angasi oyster.

The trail: North of Sydney

Around 400km north of Sydney on the state's mid-North Coast, Port Macquarie sits at the mouth of the Hastings River. Start your oyster adventure just to the south in the laid-back town of Laurieton. Savour freshly-shucked oysters overlooking the Camden Haven waters, or from the farm gate at Rockin' Oysters. If you're visiting Port Macquarie in December, be sure to attend Oysters in the Vines at Cassegrain Wines, the event uniting local drops with mountains of oysters.

Just 80 kilometres south of Port Macquarie lies Taree, where Stones Oysters & Seafood is a good place to stock up on fresh oysters, plus prawns, lobsters, crabs and fresh-caught fish. It's another 40km on to Forster, where you can discover these molluscs at Graham Barclay Oysters, the state's largest supplier of Sydney rocks. This is part of the Great Lakes area (which includes Myall Lakes National Park).

Further along the coast, the Soldiers Point peninsula juts from the southern shore of Port Stephens. It's here you'll find family-owned Holberts Oyster Farm, where you can enjoy a dozen or so at a waterside table with a bottle of wine.

The Hawkesbury River is 200km south; the oyster industry here dates back to the 1870s. In the town of Mooney Mooney, the Hawkesbury River Oyster Shed shucks while you wait. Nearby, the Central Coast waterside hamlet of Ettalong Beach hosts the Brisbane Water Oyster Festival every November.

Sydney


There are dozens of places to sample oysters in Sydney, but you can't go past the perennially bustling Sydney Fish Market (above) for a selection of the state's finest (alongside everything else from the sea). Pick up a dozen and head for a bench to enjoy them overlooking the water.

South of Sydney

Shuckers don't get any faster than the owner of Jim Wild's Oysters, occupying a shack at Greenwell Point near Nowra (160km south of Sydney). The estuary of the Crookhaven and Shoalhaven rivers is the breeding ground for Jim's distinctive Greenwell Point rock and Pacific oysters.

Travel south 115km to discover the Oyster Shed and Pearly Oyster Bar on the banks of the Clyde River at Batemans Bay. Order shucked Sydney rocks as well as native Angasi oysters while soaking up the views.

From here south to Tathra (160km) is oyster heaven, the coastline characterised by oyster sheds, wharves, markets and restaurants where you can sample freshly shucked produce. At Tathra Oysters try Sydney rocks grown in the waters of Nelson's Lake in Mimosa Rocks National Park, also known for its sea caves and rock stacks.

It's a 30km drive on to Wheelers seafood restaurant in Pambula, where you can take a guided tour of the oyster factory. If you've ever wanted to learn how to shuck your own oysters (then enjoy with a squeeze of lemon), this is the place.

This part of the NSW Sapphire Coast is home to a number of other oyster farms, including Broadwater Oysters, Hazelgrove Oysters and JJ Oysters, all selling produce from Pambula Lake.

For further details visit www.visitnsw.com 

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