The Rock Oyster

The hardiest oyster species

When clammed shut and kept cool but not cold (12-15°C is the optimum temperature), they can live out of water for up to 20 days.
Its shape can vary from a medium deep to a shallow cup, a reflection of its provenance.

A flavoursome & unique shellfish

Characterised by its deep, rich and sweet flavour, the Rock Oyster has a lasting mineral flavour.
The Rock Oyster is a truly unique shellfish, an indigenous ingredient of which we should be very proud.

Indigenous species distinct flavour

The Rock Oyster is a truly unique shellfish. In the Rock Oyster, we have a species that is indigenous not only to our shores, but to New South Wales too.
It is unique and one of the world’s great eating oysters with a lasting deep, rich and sweet flavour that is unlike any other oyster on the planet.

Appellation Oysters Estuary Map

Naming the Rock Oyster

Unlike many oysters around the world we have always referred colloquially to it as the ‘Sydney Rock Oyster’ (even though none are produced in Sydney) rather than the estuary it comes from.

And yet, oysters all around the world have long-been sold under their regional name, a credit to the intricacies of flavour provided by their merroir, rather than simply their species.
As such, the Sydney Rock is a strange name for an oyster that grows naturally along some 1200km of coastline – with each estuary adding its own character to the oyster.

Thus it makes much more sense to call them Rock Oysters - and name them by the estuary in which they grow.


The somewhat triangular ‘cupped’ shell of the Rock Oyster is thick, smooth and fluted.
It takes between two to four years for an oyster to grow to a medium (Bistro) size, about 70mm/45g, the large size (Plate) go to market at 75mm/50g.


Peak season for Rock Oysters moves from spring to winter and north to south along the coast. Generally speaking, northern oysters will be at their best during spring.

Mid-coast oysters are best in summer through autumn and the south coast peaks in late autumn through winter.

As a generalisation, the north coast of New South Wales has Rock Oysters in best condition in the summer months and the south coast of New South Wales has the best condition Rock Oysters in winter.


That said, oysters can often be found outside peak times in many regions, and in great condition because they are influenced by the weather and environment.


The seasonality of Rock Oysters is affected not just by air temperature, but also the temperature of the water - this is where the experts come in.


The wine industry has a unique word for the special alchemy that occurs when environmental factors, farming practices, the attributes of land and soil from a specific place combine to create the flavour profile of a wine. That word is terroir.

Like wine, the flavours and textures of an oyster are determined by the unique environmental attributes of the marine ecosystem in which the oysters are cultivated.

Thus, the Rock Oyster industry works to a little known merroir system, which similarly distinguishes an oyster based on its marine environment, as well as the farming and harvesting practices of the estuary in which it is grown

Factors that affect Merroir








The intimate relationship between oyster & farmer

The oyster demands attention. A good farmer has an intimate relationship with their crop from the moment the baby oyster is caught or procreated in a hatchery.

They constantly monitor the condition of their oysters and the water in which they grow, ensuring the oyster is kept in the best condition and growing constantly without spawning.

Growth Conditions

The essence of oyster farming is giving the oyster maximum access to water and food, while containing them so they can't drift away or be eaten by predators. Our farming techniques create the best conditions for growth.

Conditioning Oysters

Oysters may be moved intra (within) or inter (between) an estuary to provide the oyster with the best environment available depending on their condition, the season, the food in the location of the estuary and the salinity.

The adductor muscle

Keeping the Rock Oyster out of water for short time periods removes over catch and conditions the oyster by making the adductor muscle work. This makes the flavour profile sweeter and improves post-harvest shelf life.