A small island in the mighty Southern Ocean is the perfect place to find exceptional seafood.
From oyster shacks to seaside fish-and-chip vans to fine-diners, seafood figures highly in menus and roadside stops on journeys around the state.
Get in the swim with this guide to Tasmanian seafood experiences.
Pacific oysters are farmed across Tasmania, and are at their best in winter. Many oyster farms have farm-gate eateries on site and often in sight of the leases.
Grab a dozen oysters from the retro caravan at Melshell Oyster Shack and head to the top of the adjoining dunes to eat in view of the racks. Choose from natural, baked or in a wheel of 13 different oysters at Tarkine Fresh Oysters. And you can get no closer to the oyster action than on a tour of Freycinet Marine Farm with Oyster Bay Tours – they’ll have you wearing waders and shucking direct from the baskets. Head to restaurants and wine bars around the island for more deliciously dressed bivalves, including Bar Wa Izakaya in Hobart, where Japanese flavours shine during ‘oyster happy hour’.
Southern rock lobster – known locally as crayfish, or simply crays – is one of the ultimate Tassie treats. The fishing season runs from about November to May, when the fresh white flesh becomes one of the tastes of Tasmania. Head to Bicheno for a lobster roll (and a whole lot more) at the Lobster Shack Tasmania, with its dining deck overlooking the fishing boats in the Gulch. In Stanley, Hursey Seafoods specialises in fresh-caught crayfish – look for the large (fibreglass) cray on the roof.
Tasmania is the world’s largest wild abalone fishery, producing about 25% of the total annual global production. Pay homage at Candy Abalone Tasmania, near Hobart Airport, which runs tours of its drying operation of wild-caught abalone.
Finding abalone on local menus is a treasure hunt filled with reward – most of the catch is exported, but it makes cameos in fine restaurants and is a regular on the menu at Hursey Seafoods and the Barilla Bay oyster-farm restaurant, upstairs from Candy Abalone Tasmania. Check menus ahead online.
Scallop pies, found in bakeries across the state, are a Tasmanian institution. Featuring a cluster of scallops flavoured with curry powder, these pies are a source of continual debate – which bakery produces the best pie? It’s an argument settled each year at the Tassie Scallop Fiesta, held in Bridport in winter, with a contest for the state’s best scallop pie.
Elsewhere, scallops are a staple item at fish-and-chip shops and vans, and appear on many restaurant menus. They’re at their finest in winter.
Fish and chips
Generations of Tasmanians have grown up on seaside fish and chips, and the experience remains an essential part of the coastal Tasmanian experience.
Park up at a fish van in a small town such as Triabunna, St Helens and Doo Town, or pick from the menu of a floating fish punt on Hobart’s famous Constitution Dock, where fishing boats bob in the breeze and a salty ocean scent fills the air.
There’s even fish and chips at a winery cellar door - Devil’s Corner mixes wine with views of Freycinet Peninsula and food from the Fishers seafood eatery on site.
Or paddle up to one of the Hobart fish punts for a floating feed of fish and chips on a half-day paddling trip with Roaring 40s Kayaking.
To the source
The seafood goes straight from the water to the barbecue to your plate on a Tasmanian Seafood Seduction boat trip. The full-day trip out of Hobart follows the River Derwent and D’Entrecasteaux Channel to the southern end of Bruny Island, harvesting oysters, abalone and sea urchin. They’re cooked on the spot aboard the boat and served alongside local crayfish, mussels and salmon.
Fishing charters are plentiful around the Tasmanian coast. St Helens is the state’s saltwater game-fishing capital, making it a good place to start the quest to catch dinner. Charters are also available in the likes of Coles Bay, Swansea, Eaglehawk Neck, Strahan and Hobart.