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The Bluff Oyster and Food Festival


Updated: 2 May 2017

To New Zealanders, the Bluff Oyster and Food Festival is about as kiwi as it gets. It’s an NZ institution on the festival calendar and one not to be missed. It’s the stuff of legends. It’s the best place in New Zealand and some would argue, the world to try oysters and it’s coming around again for one day only!

Where is Bluff??


Image of the lower South Island of New Zealand with Bluff highlighted

For many of our readers, you may be asking yourself ‘where the heck is Bluff?’ and it’s an understandable question. Bluff is located in the deep deep south, almost as far as you can go before you hit Antarctica so it is off the beaten track for many tourists but we recommend you get it onto your itinerary if you are down in the South Island on the 20th May as you’ll be in for a treat.

Bluff is often seen as the gateway to Stewart Island but for one weekend a year, people flock to Bluff simply for the Oyster and Food Festival and they never leave disappointed.

What’s the Bluff Oyster and Food Festival all about?

Image of Bluff oysters and a bottle and glass of champage

If you’re not a huge oyster fan then fear not. Despite its name, the Bluff Oyster and Food Festival is more a celebration of all things seafoody. Don’t get us wrong, when in Bluff it would be rude not to sample some of the delicious oysters (they truly are amazing!). We’re simply saying that there are heaps of options for food lovers including crayfish, paua, scallops, salmon, blue cod and whitebait.

Not a seafood fan?

No problems. The festival also celebrates the wild foods of New Zealand’s South Island so if meat is more your thing, then happy days. There are some amazing food vendors at the festival and you can take your pick from venison, muttonbird, lamb, beef and pork. What’s better, you can wash all this down with a great southern ale and a great selection of New Zealand wines.

You see, it’s about way more than just oysters!

Festival entertainment

As with all of New Zealand’s food and drink festivals, there is plenty going on throughout the day to keep festival goers entertained. This year there is a great range of live music planned including The New Entrants, festival favourites the Bragg Brothers, The Stoutfellows and Otepuni Moonshine.

Image of the oyster shucking at the Bluff Oyster and Food Festival

If you’re the competitive type, there are a number of competitions running throughout the day including oyster shucking, oyster eating and blindfolded competitions – all a bit of fun and a great way to get into the festival spirit.

Bluff Oyster and Food Festival Ticket Information

Tickets are now SOLD OUT for the event so you may have missed your opportunity for another year but make sure you bookmark this article and keep your eye out for the 2018 event. This is without a doubt one of New Zealand’s most popular festivals and one to tick off your NZ Bucket List so make sure you don’t miss out next year!

If you’ve managed to bag yourself a ticket for this year’s event, we’d love to see some of your photos and find out more about the event so we can share it with our GO Explore fans – drop us a comment or a DM on our Facebook page as we always love to hear from our GO Explorers.

Things to do in and around Bluff

Obviously the Oyster and Food Festival is the star of the weekend but there is plenty to see and do whilst you’re down in this neck of the woods. Cruise Fiordland will be running Fresh Wild Bluff Oyster day cruises out of Bluff all through oyster season and there will be cruises running on the day of the festival. The cruises also include fishing for blue cod so this is a good chance to throw yourself into the full deep south experience!

Image of Aurora Australis over Stewart ISland

It would quite frankly be rude not to head across to Stewart Island whilst you’re down in Bluff. This literally is the last stop before Antarctica heading south and is one of New Zealand’s unspoilt wonders. This time of year is perfect for star gazers with clear skies making Aurora Australis (the Southern Lights) visible for those lucky enough to catch the perfect night. If you rent your car with GO Rentals, you can also get a 10% discount on a ferry or cruise to Stewart Island with Real Journeys. Bonus!

If you’re looking for something more local, the Bluff Art Gallery and Garden Walk is always a favourite with displays from local artists and some great artwork for sale.

Whatever you get up to, an adventure to New Zealand’s southernmost tip is always an awesome road trip. If you’re looking for ideas of other things to do for a long weekend down to Bluff, make sure you check out our 3 day road trip itinerary from Queenstown to Stewart Island with plenty of ideas for things to do and some hidden gems not to be missed.

If this sounds like an awesome trip to you, check out our great car rental deals at either our Queenstown or Christchurch branch and get planning your road trip today!

For more information about the Festival, please visit the official website.

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GO Play activities in this area

  • 10% Off

    Ferry or Cruise to Stewart Island

    Picturesque Stewart Island is well off the beaten track, but just 30 kms from the southern tip of New Zealand’s South Island. Most of the Island is part of the Rakiura National Park. The island’s densely forested hills, tiny population and untouched coastline of rocky outcrops and creamy golden sand beaches make it a natural refuge for marine and bird life and a wonderful destination for people who value nature and wild places.

    24 Foreshore Road, Bluff. Tel : 03 212 7660

  • 10% Off

    Cruise in Doubtful Sound

    Travel with them to this untouched world deep in the heart of Fiordland National Park. The beauty and vastness of Doubtful Sound will take your breath away as you experience its deep wilderness. Escape to the peace and tranquillity of Doubtful Sound on a magical overnight cruise.

    Waiau Street, Manapouri. Tel : 03 249 6000