If you’ve ever ordered oysters from one of Sydney’s top restaurants – think Bennelong, Rockpool or Quay – there’s a good chance it was a Sydney rock oyster. Grown along a 1,500-kilometre section of New South Wales and Victorian coastline aka the Sapphire Coast, there’s plenty of opportunities to sample these delicious morsels fresh from the farm, just a few hours south of Sydney’s CBD.
Forget the Sydney Harbour views and put this Sapphire Coast road trip on your agenda to sample award-winning oysters a stone’s throw from where they were farmed.
Get ready to shuck, sip and slurp your way through your next long weekend road trip with this guide to the Sapphire Coast.
Morning: Hit the road
Make the most of your long weekend road trip and set off Friday morning after peak-hour traffic settles, because #holidays.
Get the tunes ready and settle in for four hours on the bitumen towards your first stop: Bateman’s Bay.
Stop by one of the coastal towns along the way, from Wollongong, Kiama or Nowra to stretch the legs and refuel the petrol and caffeine levels.
If you’ve set off a little later than planned, make the journey progressive and check-in at BIG4 Ingenia Holidays Lake Conjola for your first overnight – just three hours’ drive from Sydney.
Note: In peak times, two night minimums may apply at BIG4 Ingenia Holidays Lake Conjola.
Midday: Enjoy lunch riverside
If you’re continuing on, time your arrival to Bateman’s Bay with lunch and get your tastebuds ready to sample your first Sapphire Coast oysters.
Experience oyster farming from the water at oar-speed with an oyster tasting kayak along the Clyde River.
This section of the river is an important estuary system for oyster farmers and your first opportunity to learn about cultivation techniques and oyster varieties from fourth-generation oyster farmers, as you paddle straight to The Oyster Shed to taste the morning’s collection.
If you prefer to stay landside, park your car at The Oyster Shed and dine alfresco on the banks of the Clyde River with a tray of freshly shucked oysters.
Grab some to-go to enjoy with your evening sundowners once you check-in at BIG4 Ingenia Holidays Broulee, a short 23 kilometres away.
Check-in to a cabin or set up camp at one of the scenic sites for your two-night stay – learn more about this south coast holiday park with this guide.
Afternoon: Take a sunset walk
With four-and-a-half hours of driving and a tray-or-two of oysters under your belt, make the most of your beachside location and step it out along Broulee Beach to catch the last rays of the day.
If you want to leave the cooking and cleaning to someone else this long weekend, head to the neighbouring coastal suburb for dinner at the Tomakin Sports & Social Club.
Morning: Explore Broulee island
Spend your morning surrounded by nature as you explore Broulee Island Nature Reserve.
This permanent sandbar joined to the mainland not only creates a protective inlet for Broulee Beach but is also home to native plants, birdlife and wildlife.
Follow the walkway from Broulee Surf Club to the rocks of Shark Bay to start your four-kilometre (return) journey around the island – keep your eyes and ears alert for the local fairy wren and white-bellied sea eagles.
Afternoon: Continue to Bermagui
Drive one hour south and continue your long weekend road trip to the town of Bermagui.
Stop by Blue Wave Seafood to pick up supplies for dinner – aka your next tray of oysters from the clear waters of Wapengo Lake, just south of Bermagui.
Depending on when you’ve timed your arrival, you might catch the trawlers returning to Fisherman’s Wharf with their days catch and preparing their haul for the local and overseas markets.
You can easily explore Bermagui in a day trip from Broulee, but if you’d like to mix up your accommodation, settle into a unit or villa with waterfront views at Ingenia Holidays Ocean Lake (provided two night minimums don’t apply to the period of your stay).
Given its prime lakeside location, you’ll want to arrive with enough time to enjoy a sunset over the water as you squeeze fresh lemon over a dozen oysters.
While oysters make for a great entrée, leave the main meal to someone else and head to the Bermagui Country Club or for a meal and live entertainment.
Afternoon: Take a drive to experience oyster farming
While the Sapphire Coast provides the opportunity to taste oysters fresh from the farm to your plate, it also allows you to learn about its history, biology and modern farming techniques.
Put Pambula Lake on your itinerary, 1 hour 30 minutes’ drive south of Bermagui for a true oyster farming experience.
Book a tour with Captain Sponge’s Magical Oyster Tours for two hours of oyster education while cruising the river estuary, and the chance to shuck and taste direct from the boat.
After a few hours of sampling and learning about the salty, creamy and luscious treats the Sapphire Coast has to offer, head back to Bermagui for another night or continue your road trip back to Sydney.