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EKKA Public Holiday: 30 Things to Do Instead of EKKA

We’ve rounded up a fantastic list of 30 EKKA alternatives you can do this EKKA public holiday! Click on the links for further details for things to do on the Brisbane EKKA public holiday and feel free to share your own ideas in the comments below.

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 public holiday in 2023?

The EKKA public holiday is usually celebrated on the middle Wednesday of the 10-day show. Here is a list of which dates the EKKA is celebrated in each region in Greater Brisbane:

  • 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

Things to do on the EKKA public holiday Brisbane

If you are looking for FREE things to do on the EKKA public holiday – click here

Indoor things to do on EKKA public holiday Brisbane

1 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 public holiday (it is closed on the Monday) from 10 am to 4pm. Find out more here

2 City Hall Clock Tower Tours

City Hall Clock Tower Tours
Take a City Hall Clock Tower tour

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 but you do need to pre-book online. Find out more

3 Monet in Paris | Hamilton

Monet in Paris Kids and Families1200w
Monet in Paris Kids and Families

Accompany some of the most fearless artists of their time on an exhilarating adventure across 19th century Paris and the lush countryside of France. Breathtaking paintings are projected on an enormous scale, illuminating the bold brushstrokes of Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas and many more. 

Step back in time into bohemian Paris where the lights shine bright, and an unprecedented period of artistic and cultural flourishing is in full swing. Stroll through the central Artist’s Square of Montmartre, where Monet once lived, and savour the distinctly Parisian delights of Le Bistro. Explore the immersive spaces that take you from absinthe nights to dreamy wildflower field days, to dappled ponds and delicate water lilies, and finally to Monet’s Studio in Giverny. Find out more here.

4 Explore the State Library

The State Library of Queensland (SLQ) is a GREAT place to visit with kids this EKKA public holiday. For families looking for FUN, the State Library hosts a heap of free and paid activities where kids can get hands-on, dance, play and socialise with other kids. Importantly, they regularly update their program to respond to families looking for something educational AND fun to do! Plus, the play spaces are vibrant with spots for parents to relax while kids can safely explore the environment and learn! Find out more here.

5 Discover a discovery centre

EKKA Public Holiday Discovery Centre
Visit a Discovery Centre this Ekka public holiday

A visit to a discovery centre makes a great day out for the family. In and around Brisbane we have lots of local discovery centres to choose from offering experiences from animal encounters, interactive displays and nature play, to bushwalks and wildlife discovery – and a whole lot more!

6 Head to a shopping centre to play

We’ve listed all the best shopping centres in Brisbane and beyond that are family-friendly based on them having parenting rooms, play areas, parents with prams parking spots, libraries, kids clubs, book swaps and activities during festive and holiday times designed to get your kids hearts racing. See them all here.

7 GOMA (Gallery of Modern Art) 

We really love how hands-on GOMA is for kids because who doesn’t love not having to say ‘no, don’t touch that’ for the thousandth time in a day. At GOMA there are enough interactive activities to keep kids engaged and active for hours. Check out our full review here.

Outdoor things to do EKKA public holiday 2022

8 Strawberry picking various locations

EKKA Public Holiday
Go strawberry picking this Ekka public holiday!

Make your own iconic EKKA Strawberry Sundae and show the kids where strawberries really come from when you pick your own fresh from the farm! Strawberry picking this EKKA public holiday will make lovely memories with your munchkins.

9 Follow the Gruffalo Trail at The Ginger Factory | Yandina

EKKA Public Holiday The Ginger Factory
The Gruffalo Trail at The Ginger Factory

The Ginger Factory at Yandina is almost a mini EKKA in itself. It has rides, produce, ice cream, demonstrations, and lots to explore. See the bees make honey, travel the world on an amazing indoor boat ride, sample fresh local produce, ride the mini train, and visit the wonderful old-world shops and displays.

Plus, you can explore The Gruffalo Trail this EKKA public holiday. Make the most of the Brisbane EKKA public holiday by taking a day trip up the coast and visit the Ginger Factory

10 Geocaching various locations

EKKA Public Holiday Geocaching
Try geocaching!

Have you tried this amazing outdoor treasure hunt? Make a day of it and pack a picnic. Everything you need to know is listed on this geocaching with kids link.

11 Take the kids on a fairy adventure

We’ve compiled a list of cool places for kids to find fairies in Brisbane! This EKKA public holiday get ready to be a kid again as the wonderment and magic of fairy dust is sprinkled throughout your life (and possibly your car). Wiggle your nose, tap your toes and away we go!

12 Train ride, various locations

EKKA Public Holiday Train Ride
Go for a train ride

We have put together a comprehensive guide to half-day train trips around Brisbane. Take a look and plan your day.

13 Ipswich Nature Centre

The Ipswich Nature Centre (Ipswich Zoo) is the perfect place to take animal-loving kids. Nestled in historic Queen’s Park in Ipswich, the Ipswich Nature Centre boasts free entry with a gold coin donation. Australian wildlife is housed inside exhibits that are exactly like their local habitats. There is full accessibility for both wheelchairs and prams as ramps and footpaths gently wind their way around the exhibits so everyone can have a close look at the animals which include bilbies, various farm animals, and reptiles. When you ask families where to go to see animals this is always top of the list! Get more details here.

14 Daisy Hill Koala Centre

Daisy Hill Koala Centre entrance sign
Daisy Hill Koala Centre

Daisy Hill Koala Centre is a great choice for families looking for an inexpensive, fun, and easy day out. There is a long boarded walkway (pram and wheelchair accessible – easy for everyone) that meanders through the enclosure. On our last visit, there were four koalas in residence much to the delight of our kids. We also enjoyed exploring the large bushland area which surrounds the main building enjoying a picnic before heading off for a short bushwalk. The mountain bike trails are amazing so be sure to bring your bikes if you’re into riding. Find out more here.

15 Day trip Mt Nebo

Mt Nebo, in Brisbane’s backyard, is an ideal place for a day trip with kids. It’s just 30 minutes North West of Brisbane and has so much to offer. Head out along Mt Nebo Road through The Gap for a truly wonderful experience for your children. Read our guide to Mt Nebo.

16 Day trip Samford

Cedar Creek has long been a popular day trip from Brisbane for families. Cedar Creek runs approximately 20 kilometers from the Mt Glorious state forest to where it adjoins the South Pine River in Eaton’s Hill. Pack a picnic and enjoy the day.

17 Horse riding various locations

EKKA Public Holiday Horseriding
Go for a horse ride

If you like to marvel at the horseback displays at the show, why not have a go yourself? There are lots of horse riding venues around Brisbane where kids and adults can learn to ride like a professional, or simply enjoy a trek through the bush.

Check out our Brisbane horse riding guide for kids for all you need to know.

18 Day trip to a dairy farm

EKKA Public Holiday Maleny Dairy Cows
Visit a dairy farm

See how milk gets from the cow to the supermarket with a fascinating tour of Maleny Dairies. At this award-winning farm you will visit the cows, see how hand-milking was done, and get to taste some of the delicious produce at its freshest.

19 Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, located in beautiful Fig Tree Pocket, Brisbane is the ideal place for a thoughtful, enjoyable and educational family outing. The Lone Pine Zoo has been a Brisbane institution since 1927 and is open 7 days a week from 9am to 5pm. Lone Pine is open over Christmas and New Year!

You can find out how to get Lone Pine discount tickets because we have them cheaper than on the gate!

20 Climb Brisbane’s best climbing trees

EKKA Public Holiday Tree Climbing
Climb a tree this Ekka public holiday

Get amongst the timber with a tree climb. Kids love to scale branches for a bird-eye view of the world below, and we’ve found the best climbing trees in Brisbane to do just that!

21 Pet farm animals

EKKA Public Holiday Farm Animals
Go to a petting farm this Ekka public holiday

There are lots of places in and around Brisbane to get your fix of cute baby animal encounters this EKKA public holiday, from calves and goats to llamas and deer. Check out our list of fabulous family-friendly petting farm destinations.

22 Take a hike!

EKKA Public Holiday Hiking
Take a hike!

Brisbane’s walking trails are some of the best kept secrets in the city and surrounds. Tire the family out with a long hike through one of our stunning national parks and gardens.

23 Play mini-golf

EKKA Public holiday Putt Putt
Play mini golf!

Mini golf is a family-friendly game in which players navigate a number of twists, turns and obstacles along a miniaturised golf course.  These are some of our favourite places to play Mini Golf in Brisbane, so if you’ve ever fancied swinging your putt on the green, give these a try!

24 Create an obstacle course

kids obstacle course
Build an obstacle course!

Building a simple obstacle course for kids is fun, cheap and super easy! And we all know that the benefits of exercise for kids are many (not to mention it wears them out so they can sleep well at night!).

25 Plant an edible garden

You don’t need to spend a fortune or have a big space to create an exciting and productive edible garden that both you and your kids will want to spend time in. By far the best part about creating an edible garden is eating what you grow!

More ideas for the Ekka public holiday 2023!

26 Build a cubby

EKKA Public Holiday Cubby House
EKKA Public Holiday – build a Cubby House

A simple cubby or tree house is hours of fun for little ones. If you’re stuck indoors it’s amazing what a couple of sheets and pillows can create especially if you have a large table. For outdoors options, you can create an EKKA public holiday cubby in minutes from items as simple as a hula hoop and curtains or a blanket thrown over a line. The kids will love their new crafting, reading and picnic space!

27 Make pikelets

Stay in and spend some quality time in the kitchen with your little ones. Read our hilarious recipe for making pikelets here. Find other recipe ideas here.

28 Be a scientist for a day

Science and technology can really spark a child’s imagination. If your child loves to learn about the natural world around them, set them up as a scientist with these simple at-home STEM activities.

29 Science at home – Walking water science experiment

The Walking Water science experiment is a wonderful colourful and fun way to teach kids about absorption and mixing primary colours. Everything you need, you will probably already have at home. Find out what to do here.

30 Dinosaurs of Patagonia at Queensland Museum

Dinosaurs of Patagonia Titanosaur

See the world’s largest dinosaur! Discover the roarsome Dinosaurs of Patagonia at Queensland Museum from 17 March – 2 October 2023 featuring sixteen life-sized skeletons from South America’s Age of Dinosaurs. Find out more here.

Need more ideas?

For more ideas of fun things to do over the 2023 EKKA public holiday long weekend, take a look under these tabs:

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 “EKKA Public Holiday: 30 Things to Do Instead of EKKA”

  1. What about things for those of us who don’t have our health? I need a walking stick. That stops me taking kids to much at all. Something for the grandparents is the only option I have


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