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Oktoberfest Brisbane: An Authentic German Experience for Families

*** PERMANENTLY CLOSED****

The Brisbane Oktoberfest is no longer operating.

Alas you are going to need to pack away your dirndl and lederhosen as Oktoberfest Brisbane has said Auf Wiedersehen after 15 fun-packed years. While Oktoberfest in the Gardens has started to run annual events in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast, you need to be 18+ to attend, so it’s no longer a family-friendly event for children.

You can find out about past Oktoberfest Brisbane events in this article.

With six huge festival days across two weekends, the bold tastes, sounds and spirit of one of the world’s most iconic festivals will transform the Brisbane Showgrounds, bringing together stein-raisers from across the country.

No matter which day you visit you can expect to take in the flutter of colour of swirling dirndls, the smell of warm, salty pretzels in the air, and to move to the beat of the legendary Oompah band… it will be like Munich to your ears!

Treat your taste buds to a formidable feast of pretzels, pork knuckle, the best wurst, and of course traditionally-brewed world-class German Bier. Prost!

What’s the history behind Oktoberfest?

The festival that celebrates all things German, takes the lead from the world’s largest Volksfest (People’s Fair) held in Munich each autumn. Most people are familiar with Oktoberfest and its association with the consumption of lots-and-lots-of beer, although historically, the traditional 16-day festival incorporated much more than beer drinking. Two centuries ago, families were invited to enjoy an array of agricultural events at Oktoberfest with horse racing, game playing and musical entertainment.

Modern day Oktoberfest’s around the world such as Oktoberfest Brisbane have changed a fair bit over the past 200 years; there is no horse race nor agricultural celebration, but there is much merriment for the whole family, and yes there is beer.

Oktoberfest Brisbane

Oktoberfest Brisbane is the largest of its kind in Australia, and the largest German Festival in the country. Held at the Brisbane Showgrounds, Oktoberfest Brisbane is held over two October weekends. Voted one of the top ten Oktoberfest’s in the world, Oktoberfest Brisbane introduces the very best of Deutsch culture to South East Queenslanders, transforming a corner of Brisbane’s inner suburb Bowen Hills into a makeshift German township.

When is Oktoberfest Brisbane?

This year’s Oktoberfest Brisbane event will run over two weekends in October. This year’s Oktoberfest Brisbane program incorporates plenty of thigh slapping good times for people of all ages. There’s no need to leave your children at home either; kids 17 and under are free with a paying adult on Sundays and there is plenty of child-friendly fun to be had.

On Fridays and Saturdays the Festival is open from 12pm to midnight. On Sundays, the festival is open from 12pm to 8pm.

What is on at the Oktoberfest Brisbane?

Friday & Saturday

Following century-old Bavarian tradition, Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner will tap the first keg of beer at the festival’s Anzapfen ceremony on the first Friday, signalling the flow of bier, good cheer, entertainment and cultural indulgence.

The Bavarian Oompah Band will have everyone swaying and chinking steins along with their catchy tunes. Heidi’s yodels lift the audience into the Alpine treetops, and the frenetic energy of the Alpenrosen Dance Group never fails to get everyone shoe-slapping. Join the roaring crowd as the search is on for the most German at heart with the Miss Oktoberfest competition and cheer on the Bavarian Strongmen battling it out for the title!

Sunday

Sunday sessions at Oktoberfest Brisbane have never been better with the Bavarian Village open from 12pm to 8pm and all the entertainment favourites back for another day. Sundays are perfect for families, with kinder focused entertainment, games, and more activities than you can poke a pretzel at! Not to mention FREE rides all day!

What can (and should) you wear for Oktoberfest Brisbane?

Clothing plays an important role in German national identity. If you’ve been to Oktoberfest Brisbane before, you’ll know that most people dress the part so you may feel disappointed if you don’t wear traditional German clothing (aka Tracht), because everyone else will be!

If you want to join in authentic German dress, you can find exquisite traditional German Dirndls, Lederhosen and accessories, for ladies, men and kids. Have a look at the official traditional clothing partner Schnucki Dirndl & Lederhosen for options.

Is Oktoberfest Brisbane suitable for families?

Grab the family a real taste of Germany in the bustling ‘Marktplatz’ Market Square, filled with food stalls serving hearty fare. Introduce mouth-watering German flavours to your little folk with schnitzels, sausages and Black Forest cake, Schweinshaxe (baked pork knuckle), sauerkraut and strudels, washed down with non-alcoholic beverages, and a beer or two for you.

Just like in a real German Festival there’s lots to keep the kids entertained from the minute you enter. Sundays are the best days for families, as they have a relaxed and chilled out atmosphere. Oktoberfest has plenty of kid-friendly entertainment including singing and dancing plus fabulous yodelling and German dancers, always a favourite – the youngest dancer is only five. Kids can join in the Hat Dance or groove along to the Chicken Dance.

Outside, there are rides, baby farm animals to pat, a real German-style puppet show with heaps of other fun thrown in, goal kicking, a photo wall, roaming musicians, fashion shows (with kids in them too) and lots more to be announced not to mention heaps of delicious food and drink for those hungry tummies. 

How much does Oktoberfest Brisbane cost?

Food & Drink

Drinks range from $9-$16 and food ranges from something smaller like a pretzel at around $5 to a pork knuckle to share for around $26. 

Tickets

A General Admission ticket to Oktoberfest Brisbane will grant you access to the Bavarian Village. Children 17 years and under are free of charge on Sundays but they must be accompanied by an adult (18+). 

  • General Admission Friday & Saturdays: $40 online | $50 at the gate
  • General Admission Sundays: $25 online | $35 at the gate

What’s the best way to get to Oktoberfest Brisbane?

Oktoberfest Brisbane Festival held at Brisbane Showgrounds, Bowen Hills, QLD 4006. Entry is via Gregory Terrace.

  • Parking: Parking is available at the Brisbane Showgrounds.
  • Taxi: At Gregory Terrace there is a supervised taxi rank. 
  • Rideshare: Gregory Terrace has a dedicated drop off and pick up zone.
  • Bus: Royal Brisbane Women’s Hospital or Wickham Street (Fortitude Valley) stations.
  • Train: Bowen Hills (except Ferny Grove line) or Fortitude Valley.

Families Tip: Oktoberfest Brisbane is a cashless Festival and cash will not be accepted as payment for anything inside the Festival. Card payments will be accepted at all purchase points, meaning you can tap and get back to the party quicker than you can say Bezirksschornsteinfegermeister (actually a word.) There will be no ATMs at the festival.

Looking for more family fun? Check out list of all the family friendly festivals around Brisbane here.

Has the Oktoberfest inspired you to pack up and travel again? Find everything you need to know about travelling to Germany here. And check out our article on a great German theme park.

Looking for more family fun in October? 

Halloween just happens to also fall in October and we’ve got your ultimate guide to Halloween in Brisbane 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.

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