For a splurge one weekend, my husband, sister, bro-in-law and I, indulged on fresh oysters at the Birds Bay Oyster Farm Cafe, in West Tweed.
The cafe is primarily set up to cater for the Catch-a-Crab tour boat. You don’t have to take a tour to eat at the cafe. That said, you must make a cafe booking and because the cafe is only open during the tour times, you must book between 11.30am – 12 noon. The reason – once the tour group leaves, they can’t justify staff wages to hang around waiting for a late booking to arrive.
This means you get there at the same time the boat comes back from the tour. We caught the tail end of the oyster farm operations talk. We did feel a little out of place as the tour wrapped up. Nothing a round of drinks didn’t fix. We sat on a picnic table in the corner, away from the main covered deck. Once the tour group left, we had the option to move seats.
Initially the cafe staff were busy attending to the tour group lunch. We still received careful service and were made to feel very welcome. Like I said, it doesn’t run like a traditional cafe. Don’t be put off, a feast of oysters tastes better when you are sitting down by the river they were harvested from.
If you enjoy tours, Catch-A-Crab offers the experience of pelican feeding, yabbie pumping, trapping for mud crabs and fishing.
Birds Bay Oyster Farm Cafe is not visible from the main road. The turn off for Birds Bay Drive is easy to miss, it is a narrow little road more like a driveway.
You can see the oyster farm poles in the distance from the river bank. I don’t know what I thought I would see as clearly oysters grow IN the water. There is plenty of oyster farm equipment on the grounds to look at.
Birds Bay Oyster Farm covers 6 acres and was not harvesting at the time. I was told that they would be harvesting Sydney Rock Oysters next. We ate pacific oysters from a neighbouring farm. The supply of mud crabs and flat head came from the Tweed river and Terranora creek and was caught by local fisherman.
Their signature dish is chilli mud crab. With a seasonal price of $65/kg it was a little too expensive for me. I opted for the shared seafood platter. The fish on the platter (and for the fish n chips) was local flathead. It was incredible and some of the best fish I have eaten. This place is worth coming to just for the flathead.
The tour group boarded a bus and left, leaving just the four of us sitting there. We were not rushed off and enjoyed our leisurely lunch. I also had a good sticky beak around the place.
Earlier that morning we hired a little tin boat from Tweed River Boat Hire. We explored up the creek and down the river for a few hours but didn’t catch any fish. It was lovely to experience the river from a boat and not just the bank.
The Tweed river is so blue and clear. It was a great morning all round.