The best seafood festivals in Australia

Discover the freshly caught treasures dished up at these great events across the country and enjoy a real Australian seafood experience. The best seafood festivals in Australia
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The best seafood festivals in Australia

Discover the freshly caught treasures dished up at these great events across the country and enjoy a real Australian seafood experience.


By Cole Latimer 

Including our beautiful islands, Australia lays claim to over 60,000 kilometres (37,000 miles) of diverse coastline. With such easy access to the ocean, it’s hardly surprising that fresh seafood is a celebrated staple in the Australian diet. Come and share this love of seafood at any one of these family-friendly festivals across the country. Indulge in the freshest seafood and expand your palate at Australia's best seafood festivals.

Taste the sea's bounty

HERVEY BAY SEAFOOD FESTIVAL, HERVEY BAY, QUEENSLAND (August)

Held as part of the larger Hervey Bay Seafood Festival, this seafood festival provides the opportunity to taste a variety of fresh, wild caught seafood from local waters. The seafood festival follows the annual Blessing of the Fleet, a centuries old tradition believed to ensure a safe fishing season, and is the only seafood festival in Australia run by the people who catch the food. The world famous Hervey Bay scallop is on show at the event, as well as a variety of prawns, whiting, calamari, bug, and crab dishes, paired with regional wines, ciders and beers. You can also learn about seafood sustainability through a series of masterclasses.

TIN CAN BAY SEAFOOD FESTIVAL, TIN CAN BAY, QUEENSLAND (September)

Held on the parklands overlooking Tin Can Bay – a fishing village famous for prawns and scallops – the Tin Can Bay Seafood Festival attracts more than 10,000 people. The program features entertainment for all ages, with fun such as clowns, amusement rides, a sand sculpture display, a classic car and motorcycle parade, and competitions including mullet throwing and “win your weight in prawns”. Attendees can also enjoy helicopter joy flights, and sample from stalls offering seafood and market wares, with most activities free of charge.

OYSTERS IN THE VINES, PORT MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES (November)

A highlight of the local calendar, Oysters in the Vines combines some of Australia’s best oysters, fine wines and live music in the grounds of the Cassegrain Wines vineyard. The festival offers freshly shucked natural oysters with a selection of exotic dressings. The event also includes the Artist Market in the Vines, which showcases local art and artisan stalls.

NAROOMA OYSTER FESTIVAL, NAROOMA, NEW SOUTH WALES (May)

The Narooma Oyster Festival celebrates produce from the Oyster Coast in southern New South Wales. At the Naturally Gourmet Fair you can sample oysters from eight nearby South Coast estuaries, as well as local seafood, wine, dairy and organic produce. The festival features cooking demonstrations, live music, boutique beer and wine sampling, as well as oyster shucking classes, a cruise to the oyster leases, local art, and free children's fishing and kite activities. One of the main events is the oyster shucking competition. The world record hasn't been beaten since 1984, when a local farmer opened 30 oysters in two minutes 31 seconds.

BALLINA PRAWN FESTIVAL, BALLINA, NEW SOUTH WALES (November)

The home of the Big Prawn (a structure that has become a famous landmark) also plays host to New South Wales' largest prawn festival. The event is a celebration of the town's coastal heritage, and includes prawns, fresh fish and other local produce such as beer and wine. The highlight of the Ballina Prawn Festival is the prawn shelling competition, the record for which currently stands at just under four minutes for shelling and eating half a kilogram (1.1 pounds) of prawns. The festival includes children's activities, tastings, cooking demonstrations, a beer and wine garden, free movie screenings, a raft building and race challenge and a civic dinner.

PORTARLINGTON MUSSEL FESTIVAL, PORTARLINGTON, VICTORIA (January)

For more than a decade thousands of people have been gathering for the annual Portarlington Mussel Festival, where more than 10 tonnes (11 tons) of mussels are sold every year. Sourcing produce directly from 20 mussel farmers in Port Phillip Bay, and celebrating the region's sweet and versatile blue mussels, the event features cooking demonstrations, products to try and buy, food and wine producers, children's activities, live entertainment, an art exhibition and a classic car display.

APOLLO BAY SEAFOOD FESTIVAL, APOLLO BAY, VICTORIA (February)

Home to the only working fishing harbour on the Great Ocean Road, Apollo Bay hosts an annual Seafood Festival that features cooking demonstrations, live music, roving performers, a farmers market and local students cooking dishes made with produce grown in their kitchen garden. The event kicks off with the Friday Night Sea Folly cocktail party. There are also pop-up restaurants, children's activities, wine, beer, and, of course, an abundance of seafood.

TASTE OF TASMANIA, HOBART, TASMANIA (December and January)

Tasmania is well known for its fresh seafood and produce, and at the Taste of Tasmania you have the opportunity to sample all the state has to offer. Held on Hobart's waterfront, the event showcases the island's specialities including fresh seafood, Bruny Island cheese, Bicheno berries, renowned cool climate wines, peaty malt whiskies, boutique beers and more. The event includes a New Year's Eve party with two stages, bands, roving performers and DJs. The festival coincides with the finish of the annual Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

TUNARAMA FESTIVAL, PORT LINCOLN, SOUTH AUSTRALIA (January)

For more than half a century the Tunarama Festival has highlighted and celebrated Port Lincoln's tuna fishing history and the town's role as Australia's seafood capital. Over five days, a range of food, art and multicultural events are held celebrating the local region. The festival showcases world famous Coffin Bay oysters, Spencer Gulf king prawns, southern bluefin tuna, local produce and regional wine. One of the major events is a tuna toss competition, with the world record standing at 37.23 metres (122 feet). Don’t miss the street procession, long table lunch at beautiful Boston Bay, gala ball, Steakarama Beach BBQ party, fun run, fireworks and a charity beauty quest to find Port Lincoln's next ambassador.

FREMANTLE SEAFOOD FESTIVAL, FREMANTLE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA (March)

Right on the harbour, the Fremantle Seafood Festival celebrates the long history of the region. Fresh fish, teamed with local West Australian wines, are in focus for the Fisherman's Table Seafood Feast, held overlooking the blue waters of Bathers Beach. Food isn't the only draw, with music and seafood masterclasses from some of the state's best chefs also on offer, all accompanied by Fremantle's other celebrated produce, Little Creatures Beer, served from a pop-up floating bar. You'll also find competitions to win accommodation at local establishments.

MANDURAH CRAB FEST, MANDURAH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA (March)

Mandurah has held its annual Crab Fest for almost 20 years and it's now Western Australia's largest regional free festival, drawing more than 100,000 people in 2016. This two day event features 45 different seafood dishes, with 33 different crab meals presented in a range of ways, from crab tacos to crab calzone to crab biryani. Other local produce, such as eco-friendly, unfiltered, unpasteurised beers made using only fresh rainwater, solar power, and eco-friendly gas, are also at the show. Crab fest also plays host to a local art competition, with free sand sculpture workshops available, as well as a Barista Battle for the best local coffee. Offshore, Mandurah’s waterways host water acrobatics and motorboat displays.

OYSTER FRENZY, MELBOURNE, VICTORIA (April)

Oyster Frenzy is Melbourne's longest running all-you-can-eat oyster event. The one-night event really is a frenzy, with more than 22,000 molluscs eaten at The Deck at Circa in the Melbourne beach suburb of St Kilda. The event features freshly shucked and hot oysters, as well as mussels, clams and other fresh seafood.

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