The ultimate Brisbane champagne and oyster cruise is putting oyster lovers right in the middle of Moreton Bay oyster leases with a Brisbane River cruise.
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The ultimate Brisbane champagne and oyster cruise
As a self-confessed oyster addict, I admit to being more than a little excited by River to Bay’s new high-speed day trip to Kooringal Oyster Farm on the southern tip of Moreton Island. Eating freshly shucked oysters while sipping cold champagne within metres of where they have grown is a bucket list event for me.
River to Bay’s sleek boats depart from North Shore Hamilton and take guests for a day of sea life spotting on a fast trip to the southern tip of Moreton Island. On arrival, there’s champagne, oysters and information on oyster farming.
Brisbane river cruise
The boat goes down the Brisbane River towards Moreton Bay, passing under the Gateway Bridge. There’s also the chance to see the new Brisbane International Cruise Terminal from the water.
Despite high winds, it was a comfortable ride, and we still managed to drink champagne while walking around the deck. Others stayed in their seats and enjoyed the view. Unfortunately, the rough seas limited options for seeing sea life such as stingrays, dugongs and dolphins, but we did spot a turtle.
They dropped anchor when we reached the oyster leases, and tables were slotted onto the boat’s sides. They held a champagne glass and oysters perfectly! As spawning was underway at Kooringal Oyster Farm, on this occasion, the first oysters consumed were from Coffin Bay. Each guest receives a half dozen (with the option of ordering more oysters) and three glasses of champagne. If you don’t like oysters, there is an optional cheese platter to order.
Kooringal Oyster Farm owners Leisa and Andrew Robson came out to our boat in their dingy with a bag of freshly harvested oysters so we could try the local product. They were shucked onboard for ultimate freshness. The oyster flavour was intensely salty with a delightfully sweet aftertaste. Worth savouring!
Nothing makes a party like good champagne, so I ordered an extra bottle of Mumm to share with our friends and get this Brisbane River cruise really going.
Enjoying the champagne and oyster cruise
Moreton Bay oysters
Oyster aquaculture in Queensland is a niche industry with a product highly sought after by local chefs. In the late 19th century, oyster farming was one of the area’s first primary industries, and oysters were exported interstate. However, current production is just 59 tonnes, five per cent of Queensland’s domestic consumption, compared to 3,500 tonnes in NSW.
Moreton Bay oysters are similar to Sydney Rock Oysters but with sweet-salty flavour characteristics generated by the pristine waters of Moreton Bay. The oysters are grown using sticks, racks and trays on tidal land.
As oysters feed by filtering and cleaning ocean water and reducing nitrogen build-up, low-impact oyster farms are environmentally beneficial. A single oyster can filter over 20 litres of seawater every day. The clear water lets more light through to support seagrass. More seagrass means more fish and dugong.
When we finish eating our oysters, the shells are returned to the ocean as this helps reduce acidification and keeps the water healthy.
Kooringal Oyster Farm owners Leisa and Andrew Robson
Salty, sweet Kooringal oysters
Kooringal Oyster Farm
Kooringal Oyster Farm’s new owners, Leisa and Andrew Robson, bring freshly harvested oysters over to the boat, where they are shucked for the eager guests. They are the sea change dream breathing new life into a previously abandoned island lease after relocating from northern New South Wales.
Leisa developed a strong desire to become an oyster farmer after she fought and beat non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. With 20 years of experience in agriculture, Andrew is now learning about oysters, sandflies, ticks, and sharks on the run. They live in a shed but plan to return the farm to its glory days.
Leisa and Andrew also manage Kooringal Airfield. They are working on the property to open it for private functions. I imagine the oysters will be unlimited!
Brisbane International Cruise Terminal
Brisbane Champagne and Oyster Cruise details
This River to Bay Brisbane River cruise leaves from the jetty at Northshore Hamilton. There is plenty of parking near Eat Street Markets. It’s $149 for adults and $289 for a couple.
Recommended for – Couples and groups of friends looking for a special day out.