Home » Things to do » Family Fun Days Out » Free Things to Do

15 FREE EKKA Public Holiday Ideas + EKKA Holiday Brisbane Dates!

Looking for FREE EKKA public holiday 2023 ideas?

We’ve compiled an awesome list of things to do on the EKKA public holiday in Brisbane. These ‘non- EKKA’ ideas are family-friendly and FREE!

Disclaimer: This article is not yet updated with the latest Ekka information for 2024. When it is, we will let you know! (Especially if you sign up to our emails!) 😉

When is the EKKA holiday in 2023?

The EKKA holiday is usually celebrated on the middle Wednesday of the 10-day show. 

Here is a list of which dates the EKKA public holiday is on in 2023:

  • Brisbane City Council celebrates show day on Wednesday 16 August 2023
  • Redland City Council celebrates show day on Monday 14 August 2023
  • Logan City Council celebrates show day on Monday 14 August 2023
  • Moreton Region celebrates show day on Monday 14 August 2023

15 FREE EKKA Public Holiday 2023 ideas

Here are our picks of the best things to do for free this EKKA public holiday …

Queensland Museum

Queensland Museum is a museum of natural history, cultural heritage, science and human achievement that tells the changing story of Queensland.

The Museum houses permanent and changing exhibitions and also provides in-depth education experiences, innovative public programs, early childhood activities and entertaining holiday activities. We aim to connect visitors to Queensland, its people and Queensland’s place in the world – past, present and future, through exhibitions, displays and public programs. 

You don’t need to spend any money at Queensland Museum, but if you have a budget for your day out you could also buy tickets to Dinosaurs of Patagonia.  Find out more here.

Museum is open 9.30am – 5.00pm. A great free Ekka public holiday idea for kids.

Museum of Brisbane

Rather than a museum of fossils and old bones, Museum of Brisbane is part of the living history of the city, examining how Brisbane and its people continue to change over time and revealing how each of our individual and collective stories are the milestones of the city’s evolution.

The Museum explores seemingly ordinary people and places of Brisbane to uncover unexpected and fascinating stories. The City Hall clock tower is the most iconic feature of the building and an important landmark and timekeeper for the city. The clock tower is open seven days a week from 10.15am to 4.45pm. Entry is free. Obtain a ticket in person on the day at the Museum of Brisbane reception counter on Level 3.

Brisbane bike adventures

Family Cycling
Family out cycling

Take advantage of this beautiful weather while it is not too hot and not too cold.  Discover some of Brisbane’s most beautiful and spectacular bike rides in Brisbane Bike Adventures. From bay to forest they have mapped out some of our favourite places to ride for fun and fitness. A great free Ekka public holiday idea for you and the kids.

Fishing platforms

A girl who has just caught a fish
A girl who has just caught a fish

Another great idea for this time of year is to spend the day fishing.  Enjoy land-based recreational fishing from fishing platforms located in Brisbane City Council parks and reserves across the city. This free Ekka public holiday idea will take some planning, so quick quick!

City Hall Clock Tower Tours | Brisbane

Enjoy the old-world charm of our Clock Tower tours. Step into the original 1930s hand-operated lift, travel past the Art Deco-styled clock face to arrive at the final, 64m-high platform for a bird’s-eye view of the city. There is a reason this has been a time-honoured tradition for Brisbane families for almost 90 years.

Tickets are free and allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. You can obtain a ticket in person on the day of your visit at the Museum of Brisbane reception on level 3 of Brisbane City Hall. Only eight people can fit into the lift, including the lift operator. We advise you to arrive early to avoid disappointment – particularly during school holidays and public holidays. Museum of Brisbane.

Discover a new park

We’re spoilt for choice when it comes to play spaces for kids, but where are the most AMAZING playgrounds in South East Queensland? We think we know where some of them are but we bet we didn’t catch them all. Take a look and see what you’d add to our lilst (and what you’d take off!).

IAG Kids Clay Studio | Ipswich Art Gallery

Let’s get messy! IAG Kids Clay Studio, based in our Children’s Gallery, offers children and adults alike the chance to get creative with their hands.

Suitable for all ages, the gallery is open 10am – 5pm daily. No bookings required. The clay sessions run in the morning and afternoon. Find out more here. 

Skate parks

Alexandra Headland Skate Park
A skatepark

Do your children nag you to go to the skate park like mine, but they always seem so crowded?  Take advantage of the areas in Brisbane that do not have a public holiday and visit a skate park.  They should be quieter and your little ones can experiment to their heart’s content.


We keep telling you about this amazing activity because you MUST try it.  You will not regret it and the children will love it. The weather is perfect for this. Geocaching is the free high-tech treasure hunt where you use your GPS receiver to find caches hidden by other players. It’s a great way to be outdoors, enjoy the environment and revel in the thrill of the hunt! Read our article

Climb a mountain!

Mt Coolum perches majestically looking down on the Sunshine Coast and surveying the entire area around. So is climbing to the top WITH KIDS completely out of the question? Here’s our advice on what to know before you go!

Visit Roma Street Parkland

Roma Street Parkland Playground
Roma Street Parkland playground

Have you been to Roma Street Parkland lately?  There have been some changes that are very worth checking out!  We have put together a great review to help you plan a day trip.

Go climb a Tree

So where exactly are the best climbing trees in Brisbane? Everyone can agree that one of the best things to do as a child is climb trees. From scaling massive tree trunks and swinging on its branches to looking down at the park below, it’s easy to understand why it is such a popular hobby among children of all ages. Want to give your kids a chance to scale some of the best climbing trees in Brisbane? Keep reading to discover the top seven places in Brisbane to climb trees.

What Lurks Below | Redcliffe

What Lurks Below
What Lurks Below

Visit the Imaginarium at Redcliffe Museum and explore life under the sea – without getting wet at What Lurks Below! 

Pop in to enjoy it on the Wednesday (as it is closed on the Monday) from 10 am to 4pm. Find out more here

Have some free fun at home

Keeping kids entertained doesn’t have to be expensive, read this to learn budget friendly fun things to do with kids! Every child is different and will have diverse interests, this includes siblings! Just because they are related does not mean they will enjoy the same activities. Before you go and spend unnecessary money on games, try these activities!

Bake at home!

Have fun with the kids and do some baking together. We have heaps of recipes on our website to try out. Find them here.

Photo of author

Janine Mergler

Janine Mergler is a veteran Queensland teacher, graduating from QUT with a BEd majoring in Social Sciences. After many years in the classroom, Janine moved on to academia. She has proudly trained new generations of teachers in her role as a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Education. She has also worked in the Queensland Government as an education specialist, developing education resources and delivering community awareness programs to help families conserve water. Currently she is the owner and editor of Families Magazine, a publication specifically targeted at parents who value a quality education for children.  Janine leads a team of professionals who write about family lifestyle, early childhood, schools and education information and family-friendly events.

5 thoughts on “15 FREE EKKA Public Holiday Ideas + EKKA Holiday Brisbane Dates!”

  1. The photo that’s in the article….where is this please? Looks awesome I know without a doubt my boys would absolutely LOVE it!?

  2. I can recommend the Northside Fun Fair if you want an Ekka experience without the crowds and big costs. The circus was great (especially as it is free). We didn’t see the fireworks as they were a bit late for us, but I have heard they are good. Still expect to spend a pretty penny on food and rides though!


Leave a comment