A trip to the Ekka wouldn’t be complete without a bump on the dodgem cars. (ABC News: Giulio Saggin)
Ekka season has finally arrived.
Almost half a million people are expected to converge on the RNA Showgrounds in Brisbane for the Royal Queensland Show these 10 days.
Before you run off for a day of dagwood dogs, showbags, and strawberry sundaes, take a gander at our handy guide to make sure you get the most out of your Ekka experience.
When is Ekka running?
It’s on right now!
It starts today, Friday August 10, and goes until August 19.
It’s at the Brisbane Showground, 600 Gregory Terrace, Bowen Hills.
Gates open everyday at 9:00am, and close at 8:00pm.
How much is it to get in?
Prices vary, depending on your age and whether you’ve got a concession, or whether you’re a member of RACQ.
A single-day adult ticket is $35, for a child it’s $20, and concession is $25.
Of course things get cheaper if you buy a family pass (two adults, two children for $80), or if you only want to check out Ekka at night you get in for the last two hours of the day with a $20 twilight pass.
Ekka diehards can go every day if they want for $100.
A ticket gets you entry to the showgrounds, plus all the free activities and events inside the gates such as access to the competition halls, the events in the main arena, and the big EkkaNITES.
Showbags and food, those will cost you extra.
RACQ members can score discounts on their tickets when they buy online.
How do I get there?
Ekka officials recommend public transport as the easiest and most efficient way to getting into the show.
- Train: According to TransLink you can catch any city-bound train and swap to the Ekka loop service at Roma Street, Central, or Fortitude Valley station. The loop services run approximately every 20 minutes from 9:00am-11:00pm daily. On People’s Day TransLink will also operate a special heritage steam train from 10:00am until 3:45pm, alongside its regular service on the loop.
- Bus: Herston busway station is the main bus hub for Ekka. It’s a short walk to the Sideshow Alley entrance. To get there, jump on an Ekka shuttle from Carindale and Eight Mile Plains, or any route 330, 333 or 340 service from Chermside direct to Herston. You can use the TransLink journey planner to plan a trip to and from the Herston station.
- Cycling: You can’t ride inside the showground, but you can lock up your bike in Carriage and King streets.
- Parking: RACQ recommends against driving to the Ekka given the expected traffic, changed road conditions, strict parking restrictions and expensive private car parks, but there are some parking lots close to the RNA Showgrounds if you’re absolutely determined to drive in. Ekka officials recommend booking in advance to secure a spot. They recommend the Valley Metro Car Park, Chinatown Car Park, or McWhirters Car Park. Best bet is to book ahead to guarantee a spot.
When is ‘People’s Day’?
That’s Wednesday, August 15.
It’s a public holiday in Brisbane, so expect to see more than 50,000 people through the gates at Ekka this day alone
Ticket prices are the same on People’s Day as any other day.
What can I eat inside the Ekka?
So, so much.
Traditional favourites are dagwood dogs, hot chips, and of course the iconic strawberry sundae.
If you’re trying to save some dollars, you are allowed to bring a picnic lunch with you to Ekka.
You will also find food trucks at the Ekka, as well as a couple of restaurants and bars.
How much will a showbag set me back?
According to the Ekka website there are close to 70 bags under $5 available to purchase, close to 120 priced between $5-$10, more than 80 priced $10-$15 and more than 235 of them at more than $15.
The dearest bag on offer will set you back $45.
What rides will there be?
There are more than 30 rides at Ekka ranging from the family-friendly dodgem cars and the famous ‘Expo Wheel’ to the extreme ‘Speed 2’ and ‘The Beast’.
Ekka claim ‘The Beast’ is the largest travelling ride in the Southern Hemisphere — measuring 25 metres tall with a swing of 45 metres high. It swings back and forth like a pendulum, getting higher and higher, reaching speeds of 120kph.
Here’s a sneak peek, if you dare.
What animals will I see at Ekka?
There are competitions set for alpacas, cattle, cats, dogs, goats, horses, poultry, sheep, and even fish.
If you want to get up close and personal there’s an animal nursery with more than 550 farmyard animals including calves, lambs, ducklings, chooks and goats.
You also have the chance to see baby chicks hatch from eggs in a special incubator.
If you’re lucky enough you’ll get to cradle one in your hands.
What displays can I see?
Take your pick — there’s agriculture, bush poetry, cookery, decorated cakes, flower and garden, quilts, and of course woodchop and sawing.
Woodchopping is always a Ekka highlight. This year axemen and women from as far as New Zealand and right across Australia will show off their incredible skill and pure strength in this more-than-a-century-old competition.
Woodchop and sawing will be housed this year in the new undercover Woodchop Arena, with competitions to run until 7:00pm or later every day.
If that’s not you’re style, there’s always the decorated cakes display, created by some of the best cake artists in the state.
Will there be fireworks?
It’s a big part of ‘EkkaNITES’, which runs from 6:00pm-8:00pm every night of the Ekka.
Acts include a high-speed stunt challenge with horses, V8 utes and monster trucks.
Children’s fireworks are on between 6:05pm and 6:15pm, while the big ‘Fireworks Spectacular‘ runs from 7:45pm to 8:00pm every day.
And just for something different, this year there will be remote-control cars zooming around the arena at more than 100kph, firing off pyros.
What else do I need to know?
Here are some fast facts: