Royal Canberra Show*

23 Feb

I’d never been to the ACTEWAGL Royal Canberra Show. Something about the idea of it’s never quite clicked for me – I think it might be that all the shows in Queensland are connected with a public holiday, so in my mind a show that isn’t probably isn’t that special or big . I’m glad to say that I’ve been proven wrong!

While we had the best intentions last year, it rained all weekend and we’d only just moved into our new place so were still settling in. This year, with weather on our side, we agreed we’d make a day of it. Boyfriend spoke fondly of past Canberra shows which also gave me a little bit more confidence in what I was about to experience. At the last minute, I was very kindly offered a free double pass for the Saturday and gratefully accepted.

It’s now 11am on the Saturday morning, and the first hurdle to overcome is parking. Kilometres away from the entrance, parking is still a whopping $10 per car. I completely understand and support the need for pay parking, but $10 is huge – especially when you’re not enjoying the convenience of being close. We park very, very, very far away and try to enjoy the incidental exercise (!).

On entrance, I realise just how lucky I am to have a free ticket. I’m perfectly aware that shows are always expensive, but a $48 saving is pretty significant. The website offers the pre-purchase of tickets to ‘save’ but there’s no saving for single or even two adults.

Where to start once inside? Again, my impression has always been that it’s a small agricultural show with just a handful of rides but I’m totally wrong. The halls at EPIC have been beautifully laid out with the competitors and winners of art and flowers and jams and honey and cakes. I could spend hours looking at it all!

Winning floral arrangement

Winning floral arrangement

Pretty!

Pretty!

Perfect rose

Perfect rose

What colours!

What colours!

018

Some very clever kids!

Some very clever kids!

My favourite :)

My favourite πŸ™‚

Simple but effective!

Simple but effective!

Love this!

Love this!

Outside, it’s hot! We grab a drink of raspberry lemonade which is sweet and sour – as you’d expect.

Raspberry lemonade ($5)

Raspberry lemonade ($5)

It’s a really lively atmosphere – it’s busy, but not crushingly so.

Bright and lively with old favourites in the distance

Bright and lively with old favourites in the distance

There’s free beer tasting in one area (but it’s expensive to buy).

The Bundaberg Rum Distillery tent catches our eye, but it’s really just a walk through some old Bundy memorabilia – with a free taste of molasses (!). Don’t bother.

035

Mm molasses

Mm molasses

It’s all I can do to resist the dagwood dogs, showbags (still regret not getting the Warhead one – seemed like a good throwback to my childhood and value for money!) and new crowd pleaser Chips on a Stick.

So tempting

So tempting

Even more tempting

Even more tempting

Incredibly tempting!

Incredibly tempting!

For rides, we start with something tame: the ‘9D experience’ (as opposed to 3D). It’s a matter of hopping into a seat, putting on glasses and holding on as we travel through a world of dinosaurs (there are a handful of other worlds to choose from). At $10 a visit, nine people per ride and with the ride lasting four minutes, it’s making a helluva lot of money for not much apart from a few jerky seat movements and bubbles blown at us – the Batman ride in the mid-90s at Movieworld was better.

There are some big rides available!

There are some big rides available!

Embarrassed to have been on some a tame ride, I insist we do something a little scarier. I’m not one for being thrown upside down in the air for lengthy periods, and I have refused to get back on the Zipper since Year 9 (having to hold yourself so you don’t crash face first into the cage as it spins around is enough to put me off for life). The Hurricane looks like a good compromise between tame and out of this world frightening. What’s more, it’s $12 for two which seems to be one of the cheaper rides at the show.

Looks totally fine

Looks totally fine

I’m not sure whether it’s seeing how little is holding the bar in place, being on the outer edge, or coming dangerously close to the machinery as we swing around, but I haven’t screamed this much since the great leech attack in the Blue Mountains in 2011. It’s only over 90 seconds of non-stop screaming (only stopping for breath) and realising there’s no way they’re going to stop the ride for me that I calm down.

Suffice to say it’s a very dizzy and fast ride … and a good reminder that I’m clearly not as game as I used to be!

Gorgeous creatures!

Gorgeous creatures!

It’s very, very hot so our final stop is to drop in to see the reptiles from the Canberra Reptile Centre.

Very cute!

Very cute!

Less cute... that's two snakes there

Less cute… that’s two snakes there

Unfortunately, we miss seeing the rest of the animals, especially things like the sheep dog trials – but I know they’ll be among the first things I see when we head back next year.

* As above, I was the very lucky recipient of a double pass to this event; a saving of about $50. We paid for everything else ourselves.

Date: Saturday, 22 February 2013

Where: Exhibition Park in Canberra (EPIC)

Cost: We received free entry and parked very far away so did not pay for parking. See prices here. Other costs ranged from $5 for drinks to $10 for rides.

Worthwhile factor: Worthwhile – will definitely lock it in the calendar for next year.

Want more: See the website here.

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9 Responses to “Royal Canberra Show*”

  1. Gary Lum February 23, 2014 at 1:27 pm #

    Great review Tara. Good a see a little Queensland in there with the Bundaberg distillery even if it is just a chance to taste molasses. As a proud RNA member I still like going to The Ekka πŸ˜‰

  2. Heike Herrling February 23, 2014 at 3:25 pm #

    Oh wow – I didn’t know they did flower arranging and cakes. That was always my fav part of the EKKA πŸ™‚

  3. Heike Herrling February 23, 2014 at 3:26 pm #

    OH OH and the strawberry ice-creams – canberra needs some charity money raising strawberry ice-cream stalls!!!

    • inthetaratory February 23, 2014 at 10:26 pm #

      This will sound sacrilegious… but I never went to the Ekka while I lived in Brisbane! Maybe as a very young kid. I know Gary Lum is a big fan tho πŸ™‚

      • Heike Herrling February 24, 2014 at 8:36 am #

        Oh Tara – please put that on your bucket list pronto!

  4. Adam Spence February 23, 2014 at 6:22 pm #

    Canberra Show used to be linked more to the Canberra festival and Canberra Day, but the city’s annual celebration has largely degenerated into a few disparate events, a shadow of what it used to be and the Canberra Show is kind of on it’s own now.

    • inthetaratory February 23, 2014 at 10:26 pm #

      That explains a lot! Thanks!

      • Pauline Cooper February 25, 2014 at 5:54 pm #

        At one time there was a was a bus that did a circle of the show ground every 15 minutes picking up and dropping off at the entrance gate. This bus was replaced at the last two shows with a train, which was quite fun for the children but not very practical for the older show goers. This year no transport at all was provide within the showground. I find this extraordinary considering the cost of entry tickets and the cost of parking has been increased and the News Reports telling us that every year the show attendance is increased.

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  1. Coming Up in 2014 #3 | In The Taratory - March 24, 2014

    […] Yep, the Collector Pumpkin Festival is back on again. It’s kinda like the Royal Canberra Show, but it revolves around pumpkins. It’s dog friendly, and it’s rural without having to […]

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