AUSTRALIA'S first oyster-based food trail was launched at the Narooma Oyster Festival on Saturday making its easier for food lovers to explore the estuary delights of the NSW South Coast.
“This is a fantastic initiative by the South Coast oyster industry, which will ultimately generate significant economic benefits for the whole region,” said NSW Minister for Finance and Services and Member for Bega Andrew Constance at the launch.
The Australia's Oyster Coast “Oyster Trail” shows visitors where they can experience the region's oyster industry first-hand from the Shoalhaven River to the Victorian border.
“Our oyster farmers have the world's best environmental management systems in place and produce world-class oysters,” said Australia’s Oyster Coast (AOC) executive officer Andrew Wales.
“We know this but the world doesn’t. We’re putting this part of the world and its oysters on the map by promoting them through oyster tourism and by developing Australia’s Oyster Coast as an internationally recognised and prestigious brand.”
AOC is an association of the region’s leading oyster farmers working to ensure the South Coast oyster industry is the most environmentally sustainable in the world.
“The Oyster Trail promotes South Coast NSW as a unique food destination and identifies where people can buy fresh local oysters, go on estuary tours, visit oyster sheds and eat at AOC associated restaurants,” Mr Wales said.
Australia's Oyster Coast developed the trail in partnership with Eurobodalla and Bega Valley shire councils and Shoalhaven Tourism.
Official stops are identified with the AOC Oyster Trail logo and there will be signage at the destinations.
Visitors will be able to download a smart phone and tablet app to follow the trail on the road and they can plan their journey on a dedicated website at www.oystercoast.com.au
The association plans to include other food providers, wineries and the best accommodation along the trail, as well as partner organisations.
Narooma Oyster Festival has formed a strategic partnership with AOC to deliver an annual celebration of the region's oyster industry.
“We're proud to support Australia's Oyster Coast as it moves to attract more visitors to our region,” festival spokesperson Cath Peachey said.
“Our region has stunning natural assets and, through the growing reputation of events like Narooma Oyster Festival, it makes sense that oysters and tourism can help drive greater economic development in the region.”