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Updated August 2017

“Starting in 1876, the “Intercolonial Exhibition of 1876″ was created to promote and encourage agricultural and industrial development in Queensland”

To anyone that grew up in Brisbane, the word “Ekka” conjures up memories of dagwood dogs, fairy floss, nausea-inducing rides, animals, showbags and fireworks. For me it brings back memories of shovelling cow poo and watching the precision driving team (though not at the same time). You see, my family is full of dairy farmers, and every year they would bring their best show cows to Brisbane to enter them in the dairy judging at the Ekka.

Ekka is where Country meets City

That’s where the Ekka originated. Starting in 1876, the “Intercolonial Exhibition of 1876” was created to promote and encourage agricultural and industrial development in Queensland. Over time the Ekka has morphed into a massive “fun for the whole family” event, with plenty of rides, attractions, animals and fun activities for kids of all ages.

ekka brisbane kids face paint

Ekka is held at the RNA Showgrounds in Brisbane for 10 days every year in August. It can be great fun, and if you have kids they’ll no doubt be nagging you to go. Ekka can be quite an expensive day out, especially if you have a large family. But it doesn’t have to be all about rides, showbags and expensive food. There are plenty of free activities and attractions to see, lots of learning for youngsters to do, and there’s a great nighttime program in the main arena including a fireworks finale. We’ve put together our top Ekka tips below to help you get the most out of your visit and to make it more affordable.

Top Ekka Tips

  • Get a discount when you purchase tickets from RACQ, or by purchasing direct.
  • Pack lunch and drinks and take them with you, as food and drink can be quite expensive.
  • Plan your visit out before you go by looking at the What’s On section of the Ekka website.
  • Make your way to the main ring early for the evening show if you want to get a good seat.
  • Don’t forget to experience what the Exhibition is really about. Have a wander through the animal pavilions and agricultural areas to experience a little piece of the country in our city.
  • You must eat a strawberry ice cream. Yes, they’re expensive, but the money goes to charity and it’s an Ekka tradition!
  • The queue to get into the showbag pavilion can be unbelievably long at times. Last year we went in the late afternoon and the line was quite short. The other benefit of going late is that you don’t have to lug the bags around all day (though all the Bertie Beetle bags might be sold out)!
  • Travelling by train or bus is the easiest way to get to the Ekka. Queensland Rail opens up the Exhibition station and runs special services for the whole 10 days. You might even be lucky enough to ride on a steam train! If you take your pre-purchased ticket to any attended QR station or on board any TransLink bus or ferry, you can travel for only $6 return for adults and $3 return for children & concessions (valid across the entire network).

What are your top Ekka tips? Let us know in the comments below.