The quintessential guide to Brisbane's Ekka
The Royal Queensland Show, affectionately referred to by locals as the Ekka, is a 10-day annual event that offers a variety of award-winning food, thrilling rides, wood chopping, show-bags and family entertainment.
It wouldn’t be the Ekka without the sound of fireworks echoing across Brisbane city at night, and from day to night there is plenty to do if you are a first-time visitor or long-standing patron. First held in 1876, this classic event showcases the best of Queensland.
We have picked 11 quintessential Ekka experiences to help shape your own tradition or reignite the nostalgia of childhood visits.
1. Eat a Strawberry Sundae
This one is a non-negotiable. With 22,500 litres of ice-cream, 6.2 tonnes of strawberries and 830 litres of cream, it’s apparent that Ekka-goers love their Strawberry Sundaes provided by Lick! Ice Creamery. The best part is the profits from the sale of the sweetest of sweet treats go to charity, supporting the Prince Charles Hospital Foundation. Did we mention they are delicious?
2. Watch the woodchop
How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
For over 100 years, the Ekka-goers have been impressed with the might and power of these modern-day warriors. Watch the sawdust fly as they compete in time challenges and watch their pure strength in the sawing competition. For something that a lot of us city folk don’t get to see very often, these champions reign supreme as the true gladiators of the Ekka.
3. Treat your inner child, visit the Showbag Pavilion
Which one to choose? You can spend hours poring over the showbag guide to choose the perfect one - whether you are after lollies, treats, educational books or games, your head will spin with the number of options. If this isn’t your style, you can go tried and tested, with the classic favourite Bertie Beetle bag.
4. Ride the Ferris Wheel
Look down on all the action with a bird’s eye view from above. An evening ride is especially beautiful, observing the twinkling lights of Sideshow Alley and the shows at the Main Arena. It is a magical experience and one can only hope for a longer stop at the top.
5. Visit Side Show Alley for carnival fun
If you are looking for something that causes more heart palpitations than the Ferris Wheel, check out the other rides in Side Show Alley. With carnival style rides like the Fungee Bungee or the Extreme Ride these are sure to please the adrenaline junky in us all. Jump on the biggest Euro Slide in the southern hemisphere and get camera ready as the view from the top is stunning.
6. Visit the food halls and eat ALL the things
We live for this pavilion. A food-lover's paradise, the Ekka’s food halls are a great way to indulge in a huge selection of fresh and local produce from the region. There’s also heaps of opportunities to get involved with masterclasses and oodles of cooking shows to check out and lots of free tasters to get amongst. Get in our belly!
7. Pet ALL the baby animals
The RACQ Animal Nursery is the place you want to go to experience all things cute and cuddly. With over 550 baby farm yard animals to meet, feed, pat and get #selfies with, it’s no wonder this is a popular attraction for families. Play with the baby sheep, chickens, goats and ducks and try not to take any home, it will be tough, we know.
8. View the sublime bovine
Nowhere will you find this many head of cattle so close to Brisbane’s CBD at one time. With over 30 breeds of cattle on display, these gentle giants are a sight to behold. Wander through the cattle pavilion where you can beef up on your knowledge about stud beef, led steer and prime beef.
9. Have a drink with the cowboys
Us city slickers love an opportunity to rub shoulders and mingle with our cousins from the west and there’s no better place to do that than at the Stockmen’s and Cattleman’s Bars. Settle in with a brew and listen to the yarns of the men and women who make the Ekka the friendliest place around.
10. View the agricultural displays and award-winning cakes
Love bake-offs? We do and we guarantee you’ll find much to love wandering through the aisles and picking your favourites among the stalls. Learn about agriculture and how it impacts everything from the food you eat to the clothes you wear. If you prefer the sweeter things in life, come and see some of the best cake artists in Queensland battle it out for the 1st place ribbon. Tell us who nailed it by tagging @VisitBrisbane.
11. Toe tap to the music
Check out a variety of music genres from country (you know it) to jazz and rock at the main music stages at Gourmet Plaza and Stockmen’s Bar and Grill. You will hear from performers such as Amy Sheppard, Casey Barnes, Jem Cassar-Daley, Open Season Band, Hinterland, Lauren Bunney and more. Check out the Ekka entertainment section and shake ya tailfeather. We'll see you on the dance floor.
Grab a copy of the event map here and don’t forget to share your Ekka experience with us using #thisisbrisbane.
More fun to tick off your to do list