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Sydney Fish Market and Behind the Scene Tour

Sydney . 2013 . May 24


This post is part of our Sydney 7 days 6 nights Trip Itinerary and Report. Do check out the full itinerary and our reviews here.

In the wee hours of a rainy Friday morning, Tommy and I dragged our tired selves out of our comfortable bed at the Mercure Sydney as we got ready to start another eventful day of our Sydney vacation.  Nope, we were not going to watch the sunrise.  Instead, we were going to watch the business of seafood retailing unravel at the Sydney Fish Market, the world’s third largest seafood market!
The world’s largest fish market is terms of volume is Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo; the second largest is Mercamadrid in Spain).  Sydney Fish market is also the largest seafood market in the Southern Hemisphere and the second largest in the world in terms of variety of seafood sold. 
It was pitch black as we trudged through the wet and slippery grounds to the Sydney Fish Market.   From a distance, the buzz of activity at the fish market was apparent and we closed in for a better look as seafood retailers begin to offload their fresh produce.

Sydney Fish Market includes a working fishing port, a wholesale fish market, auction hall, a fresh seafood retail market and cooked seafood, a seafood cooking school, fruit and vegetable markets, florists, cafes, and indoor and outdoor sitting areas for visitors.   All seafood lovers will certainly find great delight in the wide array of fresh and delicious seafood at the Sydney Fish Market.



Sydney Fish Market Behind the Scene Tour

For those who are curious about the origin of the seafood that arrives at the Sydney Fish Market, and what goes on behind the scene from the time seafood arrives at the fishing port to its distribution to top restaurants and retailers, the Sydney Fish Market Behind the Scene Tour is just for you.  Not open to the general public, this tour for a limited group has to be booked in advance and is conducted by the staff of Sydney Fish Market.



All of us on the Behind the Scene Tour were told to gather outside Doyle’s Café before the early hours of 6.40am. 

Led by an authorized Sydney Fish Market guide, we were issued with a bright vest before making our way to the closed door live auction hall.

It was an eye-opener as our guide explained to us the Dutch system of auctioning while auctions of boxes after boxes of seafood were already in progress.  Each day, about 150-200 buyers (many of them regulars) gather at the auction house of the Sydney Fish Market at 5.30am to bid for more than 100 species of the freshest seafood through a computerized system.  Every day, about 2,800 crates of fresh seafood is auctioned off through this method.

Note that Photography and videography are strictly prohibited in the Sydney Fish Market. Here's some photos that we retrieved from the official Sydney Fish Market website.

Sydney Fish Market Live Auction (Credits: http://www.sydneyfishmarket.com.au)



The most memorable part of the tour was when our guide brought us right to the auction grounds to have a close look at the produce being auctioned off at that very moment.  She also explained to us how to assess the quality of seafood and the variety of seafood, crustaceans and shell fish.

Outside the auction grounds, at the retail area, there is a live demonstration of oyster shucking.  It’s a pity that these species of oysters don’t come with pearls in them.





It’s not every day that you get to see some professional tuna slicing, but that’s exactly what we got for our Behind the Scene Tour.  Sashimi, anyone?

The Sydney Fish Market Behind the Scene Tour had a duration of about 1.5 hrs, after which we were free to roam around the publicly accessible retail wet markets.  By this time, all the retailers had their produce out on display and were open for business.





How about some scorpion fish?

Or Tasmania Octopus?

King Crab Legs.  It brings back fond memories of our trip to Alaska and our fabulous meal at the Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge.



The fruits and vegetables wholesaler at Sydney Fish Market.



Indoor and al fresco dining areas at Sydney Fish Market.  The most amazing part of visiting the Sydney Fish Market is getting your fresh seafood cooked to your liking and having it there.  Join us in our next post as we breakfast at the Sydney Fish Market.




How to Get to Sydney Fish Market

Sydney Fish Market (SFM) located at Bank Street Pyrmont, is open every morning (except Christmas Day) from 7.00am.

By Metro Light Rail

You can catch the Metro Light Rail from Central Station, Haymarket or Darling Harbour to the Fish Market stop which is located across the road from the Market. Services run every 10 - 15 mins from 6:00 am to 11:00 pm (12:10 am Friday & Saturday) from Central and 6:00am to 11:20 pm (12:30 am Friday & Saturday) from Lilyfield.



By Bus

501: Bus service departs from outside the Sydney Electricity Building, on the corner of George and Bathurst Streets, and Central Station every 20 minutes during weekdays and every 30 minutes on weekends. Passengers disembark on the corner of Harris Street and Pyrmont Bridge Road. The Market is a five minute stroll down Pyrmont Bridge Road.

443: Bus service departs from outside the Queen Victoria Building every 20 minutes during weekdays and every 30 minutes on weekends. Passengers disembark on the corner of Harris Street and Pyrmont Bridge Road. The Market is a five minute stroll down Pyrmont Bridge Road.

By Boat

Sydney Fish Market is easily accessible by boat. Simply go into Blackwattle Bay. Casual berthing is available on the pontoon wharf for a maximum of two hours.

About the Sydney Fish Market Behind the Scene Tour

Your trip to the Sydney Fish Market will not be complete without finding out what goes on behind closed doors.  The Sydney Fish Market Behind the Scene Tour cost AUD$25 per adult and $10 per child (ages 10-13).  Children below the age of 10 are not encouraged.  A AUD$5 voucher for use within the Sydney Fish Market retail areas are given to every participant at the end of the tour.
 
Behind the Scene Tours are held every Monday, Thursday and Friday (except Public Holidays and days between Christmas and New Year) and are limited to 12 pax per guide.  Tour places do get sold out, so plan early and go online to book a place here.

Sydney Fish Market
Pyrmont Bridge Rd,
Pyrmont NSW 2009,
Australia

This post is part of our Sydney 7 days 6 nights Trip Itinerary and Report. Do check out the full itinerary and our reviews here.


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