There’s an abundance of possibilities around Australia to sample the fruits of the sea. Australia is surrounded by fresh seafood, with a great breadth of varieties available. From shucking fresh oysters in Sydney; spear-fishing for barramundi in the Northern Territory; or dining on chilli-infused lobster in a top quality restaurant, there’s an abundance of possibilities around Australia to sample the fruits of the sea.
New South Wales
Head to Sydney Fish Market to see oysters freshly shucked on-site, then take to the waterside to enjoy a platter of fish and chips cooked to order. Keen cooks can learn to prepare dishes at the resident Sydney Seafood School, while Flying Fish restaurant nearby serves a dedicated seafood tasting menu – think blue eye trevalla with white curry and mango yoghurt. On the South Coast, a few hours’ drive from Canberra, seafood aficionado and celebrity Chef Rick Stein has his own restaurant at Bannister’s boutique hotel, where local produce is the catch of the day overlooking the rugged beach below.
Australian Capital Territory
Adorned with nautical flair – think retro maritime posters and red-and-white striped walls – Cape Cod Seafood restaurant serves up a menu of modern Australian dishes, like seared scallops with chorizo and butternut pumpkin puree, or crispy skin barramundi with sautéed spinach and caper and dill sauce. For the catch of the day, visit the renowned Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets where Ocean Fresh Seafoods offers freshly shucked Sydney Rock and Pacific oysters; while Sea Harvest stocks Australian-caught seafood and prepares fish for quick home-cooked meals – try their salmon fillets marinated in stoneground mustard, honey and sesame oil.
The Northern Territory is most famous for wild barramundi, which comes into season usually from March to through October. On the far north coast, fish for your own barramundi, longtail tuna and Spanish mackerel, then cook it up for a fresh seafood meal at Arnhemland Barra Fishing Lodge. Pick up locally sourced ingredients such as live mud crabs and red snapper at Darwin Fish Market. Here you can also learn how to prepare your purchases with regular live cooking demonstrations, serving up salt and pepper squid and Thai fish curry.
South Australia’s rock lobster and whiting are particularly good from South Australia. They also have sustainable certification on their green prawns, which is another plus. The Eyre Peninsula’s seafood trail maps an epicurean adventure along the coastline. In Elliston, visit Pedro’s Crayfish to hand-pick your own, cooked on the spot for a beachside picnic, and meet the farmer on a tasting tour at Pure Coffin Bay Oysters, where you can taste them freshly shucked. On the marina at coastal Glenelg, sample simple seafood dishes at fish restaurant using local produce like chilli-infused South Australian mussels and grilled whole lobster with garlic butter.
Tasmania is mainly known for lobster, Pacific oysters, octopus and abalone. Don a pair of waterproof waders at the Freycinet Marine Farm and sample the freshly harvested goods. In the Huon Valley, along with fine wines, the trout fishing is spectacular. Rod & Fly runs guided fishing tours ranging from a full-day to a three-day trip. At Josef Chromy Wines near Launceston, you can try your hand at fly fishing in front of the cellar door restaurant. Take the Seafood Seduction boat tour around Bruny Island with Pennicott Wilderness Journeys and enjoy fresh abalone and crayfish straight from the sea.
The climate of far north Queensland is perfectly suited to saltwater barramundi, along with tiger and Crystal Bay prawns. Here you’ll also find the famous Balmain and Moreton Bay bugs, plus spanner, blue swimmer and mud crab. Join Kuku Yalanji Cultural Habitat Tours to catch crabs and scallops on a spearfishing trip near Port Douglas. Or try a mille-feuille of coconut-coated banana prawns and pan-fried barramundi fillet with champagne butter sauce at Zinc Restaurant & Lounge Bar (Re-opening on 12th May).
There’s an abundance of fish species that can be caught in the lake regions of Victoria including flathead, snapper, John Dory and silver dory. Seafood lovers visiting Melbourne should head to the self-described ‘ocean-to-plate’ restaurant, The Atlantic. The deluxe diner comes complete with a dedicated oyster bar and dishes such as pan-roasted hapuka from Portland in Victoria with confit fennel and tomatoes, green pea puree and a soft herb jus. Gone Fishing runs chartered boat trips in Port Phillip Bay and the Bass Strait to show keen fishers the best spots to find King George whiting, yellowtail kingfish and snapper.
Western Australia’s lobsters are the biggest-selling lobster by far. It’s a smaller species, so it’s usually a good price. The limestone retreats at Clover Cottage on the southern coast are just the spot for fly fishing fans to stay when venturing to nearby lakes in search of brown and rainbow trout.