The Sydney Royal Easter Show, first formed in 1823 now boasts the title of being Australia’s largest annual event, attracting around 900,000 people every year. Formed by the Royal Agricultural Society of New South Wales, its original purpose was to offer Sydney siders a chance to witness the talents and energy of rural New South Wales. However, it has now extended to become a showcase of Australian culture, exhibiting a wide variety of competitions, entertainment, shopping opportunities, carnival experiences and more.
The rides are exhilarating, however you should be prepared for queues and fees.
I visited the Royal Easter Show on its very last day - as at the time of writing this, and so I managed to avoid the more intense crowds that were present from Easter Friday to Easter Monday. Despite this, there were still significant lines and many people milling about, but I suppose this is generally expected when you visit Australia’s largest event. With so much on show, I would recommend a quick visit to the official website to browse the events of each day. However, even without prior planning, you are sure to come across various forms of entertainment.
The first thing that impressed me as I entered the show grounds was the wide variety displayed in their stalls. Everything from caricature to game stalls was present. And that’s not even mentioning the colourful hand wax models which so impressed my artsy friend who has a fascination with drawing hands.
Caricature and other such arty amusements can be enjoyed in various stalls across the Royal Easter Show
My artsy friend was particularly impressed by these wax hand models, as were the children preparing their hands for the mould.
Quirky sights are sure to be seen as you wander amongst all the stalls. One particularly quirky sight comes to mind as I write this - an enormous moveable tank filled with fish was used as a means for demonstrating a fishing technique.
Expect the unexpected - one display demonstrates proper fishing technique through the use of a giant fish tank.
If you're an animal lover, you are sure to appreciate the wide variety of animals displayed at the Royal Easter Show. With almost 14,000 animals on site, you'll have the opportunity to see a great variety of livestock and domestic breeds. Furthermore, most of the animal experiences are free. I eagerly followed the blue paw prints across the show grounds to see the cattle, horses, reptiles, goats, and some of the strangest chickens I had ever seen.
One of the strangest chickens I have ever seen. Found at the Poultry Pavilion.
Two very photogenic goats
I was very eager to see the dog show, but unfortunately the dog pavilion had closed the previous day. However, it was replaced by a reptile and insect display which contained some very zen frogs (seriously, one was sitting on the edge of its water bowl, legs hanging over the edge like it had hopped out of a Beatrix Potter book), and many different species of snakes, lizards, spiders, and large cockroaches to name.
This bearded dragon was surprisingly soft to touch
I was happy to see two dogs at least in the sheep rounding display which took place in the afternoon. It was interesting to see them at work, and to hear about the training that enabled them to round sheep so effectively.
Two dogs demonstrate their sheep rounding abilities
Children had the opportunity of petting the different animals, and talking to the handlers. The animal nursery was particularly popular with children who were delighted to run up and pet the goats, lambs and sheep milling around. My friend joked about the animals not knowing that this was their ‘last shift’ for the year, but they were surprisingly blasé about being petted every few seconds by excited children.
Children loved petting animals in the Animal Nursery
Animals aside, the Royal Easter Show provides an opportunity for various artistic, creative and talented persons to showcase their skills through competitions and talks. A personal favourite of mine was the arts and craft pavilion, showcasing everything from buyable paintings to cake decorations. I also enjoyed the garden and horticultural displays, though I unfortunately missed the talks that took place earlier on in the day.
The Arts and Craft Pavilion
The Cake Decorating Competitions
The displays in the garden show are impressively creative
Overall, my day at the Easter Show was fairly enjoyable. I would say however, that if you are more likely to enjoy the show if you bring a wad of spending money along. Show bags, stall games, rides and food all require spending money, and can be relatively pricey.
The rides are fun, but require spending money.
Bring cash along to enjoy the various stalls set up at the Easter Show
On a tight budget, you can still enjoy the cheaper show bags (browse the official sight to find appropriate prices); pop music concerts; wood chop displays; free samples at the Fresh Food Dome; the night fireworks, and of course the animals; but if you bring spending money, the range of your experience sis likely to be significantly expanded.
Some free samples may be found at the Fresh Food Dome, but if you bring spending money, you will sample a greater variety of food.
Where: 1 Showground Road, Sydney Olympic Park at Homebush, NSW.
Why: To enjoy the rides, stalls, seeing the animals (domestic and livestock), visiting the fresh food dome, watching performances and buying show bags.
Note that entry tickets purchased later in the day are cheaper. Public transport is included with entry ticket fees.
These piglets engaged in a play fight then seemed to tire. So they decided to just relax together
When: The show opens at 8am and closes at 9pm, though the Coca-Cola Carnival will usually remain open until late.
Good for kids: Most certainly. There are many activities (including face painting, colouring activities, petting zoos and shows) tailored especially towards children. And they are certain to enjoy the show bags as well.
Chicks huddle together adorably in between their petting shifts.