The Ekka on a budget

How to enjoy Queensland’s largest annual event without breaking the bank.

It’s getting closer to that special time of year. That time where the tomato sauce flows over Dagwood Dogs, strawberry sundaes are sold by the thousands, we splurge on showbags and then try to figure out how we can afford it all.

It is possible to enjoy the Ekka without blowing the budget. Here are some handy tips to consider.

Pre-purchase your tickets

Avoid long lines and higher prices by pre-purchasing your tickets. RACQ members can purchase discounted tickets in the lead-up to the Ekka.

Set a budget before you leave the house

An easy way to blow the budget is to visit Sideshow Alley or the Showbag Pavilion without a plan.

To avoid a budget breakdown, set a price limit for showbags and how much you can afford to spend on carnival games prior to the Ekka.

Focus on free activities

Plan your day around the free events and activities on offer. The RACQ Animal Nursery is a crowd favourite, where you can pet rabbits and lambs.

Other free attractions include the Canine and Feline Pavilion, woodchopping and sawing competitions, animal performances, fireworks displays, livestock and garden expos, fashion parades, live music and more.

Pack some snacks

Food can be costly, but fortunately you can take your own to the Ekka. Instead of splashing out on costly snacks, pack a picnic and enjoy it at one of the Chill Out Zones or in the main arena during a show.

Remember to bring your own water bottle and top it up at the free hydration stations inside the showgrounds throughout the day.

If you decide to splurge on some carnival treats, make sure to read our review of the best food at this year's Ekka.

Load up on freebies

Visit the RACQ team at the RACQ Clubhouse and score some freebies. Enjoy free food samples at the Woolworths Fresh Food Pavilion.

There are also free daily cooking classes and craft activities to enjoy.

Use public transport

Public transport is the most cost-effective way to travel to the Ekka with trains to and from Exhibition Station in the middle of the Brisbane Showgrounds. Dedicated bus stops are also available near the entry gates. Translink offers discounted travel tickets of $6 for adults and $3 for children with an Ekka admission ticket.

For those driving, Secure Parking has teamed with RNA to offer discounted parking at selected car parks near the showgrounds.

Ever wondered what goes into the humble strawberry sundae? Go behind the scenes of Queensland's favourite Ekka dessert below.