4 December 2020

New Narooma plan to rock the oyster world

| Kim Treasure
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David Maidment serving up Australia's Oyster Coast Appellation oysters.

David Maidment serving up Australia’s Oyster Coast Appellation oysters. Photo: Supplied.

Tourists and locals have long known that Narooma rocks, now the NSW South Coast town is planning to take that message to the rest of Australia.

A new tourism brand, Narooma Rocks, was launched last week by the company that delivers the town’s flagship event, Narooma Oyster Festival.

The company plans to build on the success of the annual oyster festival by delivering year-round events to drive food and oyster tourism and grow employment in the region.

“We are taking the best parts of the Narooma Oyster Festival and delivering these as bespoke events and immersive visitor experiences throughout the year,” said Narooma Rocks chair Cath Peachey.

“We are harnessing our natural assets: our world-class oysters, incredible local harvests, passionate producers, our rich Aboriginal cultural history, and our landscape that makes this stretch of coastline unmistakably Rock Oyster Country.”

With many discerning tourists now looking for quality local produce experiences as part of their holiday destination decision making, Narooma Rocks believes the time is right to tap into this demand.

READ ALSO New Gourmet Coast food trail will offer an authentic taste of the south

“Visitors are seeking more immersive, small-scale and interactive food experiences that encourage them to get hands on at mealtimes and also offer an opportunity to meet and engage with locals,” said Ms Peachey.

“We will be giving visitors the authentic food experiences they crave while educating them about oyster merroir and why NSW South Coast oysters are the best.”

Following a horrific year for many South Coast businesses with the COVID-19 pandemic on the back of the Black Summer bushfires, Ms Peachey said the need for year-round tourism offerings is more important than ever.

Due to COVID-19 event bans, this year’s oyster festival did not go ahead as planned. The Narooma Rocks board used the downtime to develop an event strategy with a vibrant program of activities to promote Narooma, its regional neighbours and the South Coast oyster industry.

READ ALSO Between a rock and a taste place – this year, take the Narooma Oyster Festival home

“The annual Narooma Oyster Festival will still be our flagship event, with plans for the 2021 festival well underway for the weekend of 1 May, 2021,” said Ms Peachey. “However, one of the great lessons from the bushfires for summer tourism towns such as Narooma is we need to give people a reason to come all year round.

Kelly Eastwood, Paul West, Cath Peachey.

From left: Kelly Eastwood, Paul West and Narooma Rocks chair Cath Peachey at the launch. Photo: Supplied.

“We hope Narooma Rocks can play a role in contributing to that.”

The event strategy includes the oyster festival as the headline act alongside a seasonally inspired destination dining series launching early in 2021. The plan also involves a roving oyster bar that sells multi-estuary rock oyster tasting plates and aspires to hosting a state food tourism conference.

Narooma Rocks is the trading name of Narooma Oyster Festival Limited, a not-for-profit company established in 2019 with a voluntary skills-based board.

Tickets for the 2021 Narooma Oyster Festival are on sale now.

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