Ekka day trip – How to make the most of your visit to Brisbane for the Ekka
The secret to having a fun-filled family day out at the Ekka is all in the planning. If you live outside of Queensland’s capital and plan on attending our state’s biggest regional show, then just a little planning will make a big difference to the success of your visit. Here are our tips for out of town visitors for saving time, saving money and avoiding any tears or tantrums at this year’s Ekka!
Where to stay in Brisbane so you can walk to the Ekka
There are plenty of accommodation options located near the Brisbane Showgrounds. If you book a hotel in the CBD or Fortitude Valley, then it’ll only be a short bus, train, taxi ride or walk to all the fun of the Ekka. We’ve even compiled a guide for families that are planning a holiday in Brisbane, with ideas for family friendly places to stay, places to eat and things to do.
Buy your Ekka tickets online before you go to save time and money
To save time, purchase your tickets for the Ekka online before you go. This will mean you can skip the queue on the day and walk through the pre-paid entry. You can also save money by purchasing online, and you can even buy ride tickets or food vouchers before you go. For more money saving tips, read our ultimate guide for saving money at the Ekka with kids.
Map out an itinerary
The Ekka website is very comprehensive and lists all the shows, entertainment, attractions, rides and displays that you will find at the Ekka. You can download and print a map and create a personalised itinerary on the Ekka website by selecting the items that you and your family are most interested in. This will help you organise your day, and ensure that you don’t miss anything. Planning your day before you go will also help you to make the most of the free events on offer. For families, there’s everything from art displays to fashion parades to cooking classes for kids to check out. And be sure to make time to experience the true spirit of the Ekka – a city meets country agricultural show. Take the time to watch the wood chopping, pet the farm animals, enjoy some delicious scones at the Country Women’s Association, or chat with a farmer and find out about life on the land.
Getting to and from the Ekka for out of town visitors
There is limited parking available near the Ekka, so it makes sense to catch public transport. There is a train station located within the Brisbane Showgrounds, and a number of bus stops around the perimeter of the venue. Brisbane’s AirTrain also makes it easy for visitors flying into the city for the Ekka, offering a discount of up to $13 to Ekka-goers travelling from the domestic or international airport terminals. If driving into town for the Royal Queensland Show is your only option, Secure Parking has special discount offers for carparking close to the Ekka, with several handy locations to choose from. You’ll find full details of the above offers in our detailed guide to how to get to the Ekka with minimum stress and maximum fun.
Plan your meals at the Ekka
The Royal Queensland Show can be a big day out, especially for families with younger children, and you will need to plan snacks, lunch and dinner, depending on how long you wish to stay. You can bring your own food and enjoy it while watching one of the many events, or you can purchase meals and refreshments at one of the Ekka’s many food outlets. It’s a good idea to bring your own water bottles, as this will save you money, and you can refill them at any of the numerous water fountains located throughout the Ekka. If you’re planning to splurge on something, make it a famous Ekka Strawberry Sundae. This well-known favourite dessert is not only delicious, but every cent of the profit made from the tasty treat goes towards the Prince Charles Hospital Foundation. For healthy food options at the Ekka (because not everyone likes Dagwood Dogs!), read our article here.
For many people, a quintessential part of the Ekka experience is the fun of picking out show bags and rifling through the goodies when you get home. The show bags range in price, from the budget picks (who can resist the $2 Bertie Beetle bag?) to more expensive bags that are brimming with products. If you are allowing your children to purchase show bags, be sure to set a budget and browse through the many options online first, to save you having to endlessly circle the show bag pavilion while your kids make a decision. The show bag pavilion is a lot quieter earlier on in the day, and you can then leave your purchased show bags in a locker until you are ready to head home. Alternatively, you can visit the show bag pavilion as your last stop on your Ekka itinerary.
Health, safety and amenities at the Ekka for visitors to Brisbane
The Royal Queensland Show is an exceptionally busy place, especially in Sideshow Alley, so it’s a good idea to visit the Queensland Police stand when you first arrive at the Ekka and collect a free ID wristband for your child. It’s also a good idea to remind your child of the importance of staying close to you at all times. To keep your child safe in the Ekka crowds, we have written this handy guide.
There are a number of toilets and parent facilities located throughout the Brisbane Showgrounds. These will all be marked on your downloaded map for easy reference. You may also like to take some wipes and antibacterial lotion for incidental clean-ups on the go during the day. Remember to be vigilant about hand washing, especially after coming into contact with any of the animals at the show. The Ekka supplies anti-bacterial soap and taps within Animal Boulevard to help with this.
Ekka by night
If your kids are old enough to stay up for the evening entertainment and not too tired, it is well worth waiting around for. The action begins in the main arena from 5:30pm, and continues through to the fireworks finale which starts at 7:45pm. Entry to the EkkaNITES show is included in your general admission ticket and it really does offer something for everyone – including monster trucks and LED-decorated horses. This is a very popular event, so it’s advisable to secure your seat early and send a member of your party off to gather dinner to eat there. Sideshow Alley, most of the food outlets, and the Showbag Pavilion are also open until 9pm each night and it can be a quieter time to visit these areas whilst the EkkaNITES show is running.
Making special family Ekka memories
Some families have long-standing Ekka traditions or favourite experiences that make the Ekka special and nostalgic to them. Others may be attending for the first time and are keen to explore all the Ekka has to offer. Either way, the Ekka offers an amazing day of family memory making, photo opportunities and shared experiences that can be reflected on for years to come.
We asked a group of Brisbane Kids what they love most about the Ekka. This is what they had to say –