Bluff Oyster Festival -Schedule & Menu – Wide Food Choices

May 26, 2018

The 2018 Bluff Oyster & Food Festival is on again, with another great day planned on Saturday 26 May for those fortunate enough to have secured tickets. The big attraction, the iconic Bluff Oyster, will be in plentiful supply along with a myriad of other succulent southern seafood and non-seafood treats as well. A fantastic range of musical entertainment and the ever popular Oyster Competitions, complete with some exciting new innovations, will enthral and entertain festival goers again this year.


People come from far and wide for the Festival to enjoy the iconic Bluff Oyster. Whether you like them battered, raw or served as Oyster Balls you will find them in plentiful supply with around 20,000 of the succulent delicacy on hand.

The food stalls will also serve many other tasty seafood offerings.

  • smoked and grilled salmon
  • blue cod
  • paua patties
  • creamed paua
  • fresh kina
  • seafood chowder
  • salted and stuffed muttonbirds
  • muttonbird heart stew
  • scallops
  • prawns
  • crayfish cheese rolls

are set to make the mouth water.

As well as the bounty of seafood there is:

    • lamb
    • pork
    • venison burgers,
    • pork belly burgers
    • bacon & egg ciabatta
    • escargot in the shell with garlic butter
    • and much more to enjoy.

A range of beer and wine plus barista and instant coffee and hot tea are available to accompany the tasty fare.

Gates open at 10.30am to allow festival goers into the site prior to the traditional Piping In Of The Oyster and the reciting of the Ode to the Oyster at 11.00am. Well known former Bluff man Tony Laker steps into the big shoes of another Bluff icon, Spencer Morrison, to recite the Ode this year. Sadly Spencer, who performed the Ode since it was written many years ago, passed away shortly after last year’s Festival.

After the Ode, Festival Chairman John Edminstin will declare the event officially open and the festivities will be underway.


On the venue’s main stage the popular Bluff School Kapa Haka Group will commence proceedings with a great line up of musical entertainment to follow. Five acts, four of them with strong Southland links, offer a variety of music genres.

Lachie Hayes of Tokanui, recently crowned Southland Entertainer Of The Year whilst also picking up the Song and Album Of The Year awards, begins with his alternative folk infused blues followed by Invercargill band Otepuni Moonshine, a popular act at last year’s event. Next up is another who appeared last year, Helen Henderson, supported by the Mollymawks. Henderson is based in the United States but also owns a house in Bluff. She is followed by Gore born, but Nashville domiciled, Jackie Bristow at the end of a nationwide tour. In recent times Bristow has opened for Bonnie Raitt and Foreigner, impressive credentials indeed. Dunedin modern rock quartet, The River Jesters, then take to the stage to rock through to the end of the day.


Shed 3 is the home of the famous Oyster Competitions with the first event – the Novice Opening races leading off an afternoon of competition. The Novice event is new this year and designed to give first time openers encouragement and confidence and the opportunity to compete on level terms with others of similar experience. Old favourites, the Blindfold Race, Women’s and Men’s Open races follow. Of interest will be the appearance of Vic Pearsey of Bluff in the Ladies Open as she chases her eighth straight title.

The Factory Team Relay race will round off the Oyster Opening before the very popular Oyster Eating competitions begin where participants are chosen from the crowd to down one dozen of Bluff’s best in the fastest possible time. A new competition rounds off the day, bringing new meaning to the term “hot competition.” The Wasabi/Chilli Challenge will invite contestants from the crowd, to down ten Bluff Oysters – dipped in chilli oil and wasabi!!! It is sure to be an interesting watch.


A return bus service operates from Invercargill on the day at a cost of $20 return.

Departs first stop in Invercargill at:

  • 9.45am
  • 10.45am
  • 11.45am

Returns from Bluff at:

  • 3.00pm
  • 4.00pm
  • 5.00pm
  • 6.00pm
  • 6.30pm

Bus Route 1:

  • Sacred Heart School 435 North Road
  • Waikiwi Shopping Centre Bus Stop
  • Dee St – Herbert St Bus Stop
  • Avenal Hotel Bus Stop
  • Dee Street – Opposite McDonald’s
  • Movieland Bus Stop – Opposite Wachner Place
  • South of Clyde St – Tweed St Roundabout
  • Cnr Clyde St – Elizabeth St

Bus Route 2:

  • James Hargest College (Snr Campus)
  • Ascot Park Hotel – Tay St
  • Bill Richardson Transport World – Tay St
  • ALL Bus Stops on South Side Of Tay St
  • Elles Rd Roundabout – by KFC
  • South City Shopping Centre – Cnr Elles Rd/Martin St – outside Subway sandwiches
  • Kingswell Motors Bus Stop – 600 Elles Rd

Some buses on Route 2 will cover the following and not travel down Elles Rd:

  • Birchwood/Townsman Motels


Festival merchandise – t-shirts, hoodies, beanies and more – are on sale at the Festival venue.


Once again this year Festival organisers are offering a prize for the Best Costume, a reward for those who put so much preparation into their day out.


Once again this year Invercargill Airport will experience a busy day as Air New Zealand jets from Auckland and Wellington bring in over 300 people on a day trip package to attend the Festival. The jets arrive early on the day before departing late in the afternoon. Eight buses transfer the passengers to and from the Festival.


Tickets for the 2019 Bluff Oyster & Food Festival scheduled for 25 May 2019 will go on sale at 6pm on 26 May as the curtain comes down on the 2018 event.

Tickets will be available on Trade Me (authorised seller – OysterFestival) and at ticketdirect 0800 224 224 – service fees apply.

Over the counter sales will be available from the Southland Chamber Of Commerce in the SIT Arcade at 48 Esk Street, Invercargill, the Foveaux Dairy, 268 Gore Street, Bluff and Dough Sea Dough at 26 McNulty Road, Cromwell. Tickets are $35 each while children 14 & under are $15 although children must be accompanied by an adult.


For those who do not have tickets to the Festival, Gore Street in Bluff will be the scene of a craft market on Saturday with a range of stalls stocking a variety of wares.

You may be interested

DOC Completes Tahr Control for 2020
Environment, News
Environment, News

DOC Completes Tahr Control for 2020

News Desk - Nov 26, 2020

The Department of Conservation (DOC) has completed its planned Himalayan tahr control operations within the tahr feral range for 2020.…

Flood Protection ‘Shovel Ready’ Projects Get Go-Ahead
News, Southland
News, Southland

Flood Protection ‘Shovel Ready’ Projects Get Go-Ahead

News Desk - Nov 26, 2020

Flood protection ‘shovel ready’ projects worth $18.5 million, which are expected to create more than 100 jobs in Southland, have…

NZ Volleyballers In The South This Weekend
News, Sports
News, Sports

NZ Volleyballers In The South This Weekend

Aimee Wilson - Nov 26, 2020

Invercargill has become Volleyball Central with 2000 players converging on the South for a week-long competition and exhibition matches, including…