Skip to main content


The 16th annual Narooma Oyster Festival is set to be even bigger than last year’s record breaking event thanks to a grant from the NSW Government’s Regional Events Acceleration Fund.

Captivated people stand around a barrel topped with ice and freshly shucked oysters.The 16th annual Narooma Oyster Festival is set to be even bigger than last year’s record breaking event thanks to a grant from the NSW Government’s Regional Events Acceleration Fund.

New native food experiences, a Yuin cultural program, improved accessibility and inclusivity and a new Sunday breakfast are just some of the new additions as a result of the $239,046 grant.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole said the Regional Events Acceleration Fund is supporting the growth of existing regional events and attracting new major domestic and international events to regional NSW.

“We are serious about driving investment and tourism in the regions – and the Regional Events Acceleration Fund will put more heads on beds, fill restaurants and cafés, and help drive regional NSW’s economic recovery from bushfire, floods, drought, COVID-19 and the current flooding crisis,” Mr Toole said.

“The fund has already supported more than 100 events and attracted an estimated one million visitors to the regions, laying the foundations for a strong recovery across regional NSW. 

“Helping organisers host world-class events in their own backyard showcases our great regional towns to national and international audiences.”

A close up of a plate of rock oysters, each is a little different as they come from different estuariesHeld on the first weekend in May, the festival contributes millions of dollars to the South Coast region during a traditionally quiet time of year.

Crowd favourites like Oyster Farmers Alley, Australia’s Oyster Shucking Championships and Australia’s Biggest Oyster are some of the ways the festival promotes NSW oyster farmers, who collectively grew, shucked and presented 64,000 oysters to adoring fans in 2022.

The festival is the flagship event of Narooma Rocks, a not-for-profit, largely volunteer organisation which promotes the rock oyster as a driver for tourism for the region.

Festival Chair Ms Cath Peachey said the grant will help to improve and lengthen the festival program and attract more oyster lovers, particularly from interstate, following on from a record attendance of 10,000 in 2022.

“We are delighted to receive this critical support, it will enable us to continue to raise the profile of the rock oyster, which is largely indigenous to New South Wales, while we improve festival infrastructure and introduce new experiences as we celebrate our 16th year, “ she said.

“We expect to welcome more than 10,000 oyster lovers in 2023 and look forward to delivering an even bigger program and a festival that is more accessible, inclusive, cultural and enjoyable for everyone.”

A lady pushing another festival goer in a wheelchair at the Narooma Oyster Festival. Both with great smiles!Access and inclusion, both online and within the festival, are a key focus for next year. The committee is also working with local First Nations people to develop a new native foods and cultural precinct, complete with a new premium grazing experience on Friday, May 5.

“We are committed to sustainable regional development and jobs growth through food tourism,” Ms Peachey said. 

“Narooma Rocks is a not-for-profit company that seeks to be a catalyst for tourism, with a vibrant calendar of events headlined by the Oyster Festival, that positions Narooma and the NSW South Coast as the heart of rock oyster country.”

Other new elements include more infrastructure to support greater participation by oyster farmers, an expanded VIP lounge and a swag of improvements to the festival site.

“On the ground this will mean clearer signage and communications, improved parking and drop off zones, larger LED screens, more lighting, shade, seating and reserved viewing and resting spaces across the site,” Ms Peachey said.

“Online, we will have more resources to help people plan their trip and a website that meets international accessible standards.”

Oyster farmer shucking at shucking competition.The $40 million Regional Events Acceleration Fund is part of the $3.3 billion Regional Growth Fund, designed to support growing regional centres, activate local economies and improve services and community infrastructure for regional communities. 

Further information about the Regional Events Acceleration Fund can be found here.

The Narooma Oyster Festival will be held on May 5 to 7, 2023. Tickets will be on sale from 9am,  Monday, February 13.