Brisbane Stories and Tips

The Rides

The Ekka Photo, Brisbane, Australia

There is certainly no lack of rides at the Ekka. They stretch for what seems like miles from the entrance, only broken up by the endless array of carnival games.

We didn't ride anything when we first arrived, although after seeing the crowds later, we realized this would have been the best time to go. However, we opted to explore the Showgrounds instead, and before long ended up at the complete opposite end of the show from the carnival. Luckily, there was a chairlift from the end of the International Food village straight back to the rides. Partly out of laziness, partly out of wanting to see the Ekka from the sky, and partly because Michelle wanted to conquer her fear of heights, we jumped on.

Getting a bird’s eye view of the Ekka cost us $5, and the ride lasted a few minutes—much longer than most of the rides there! The view at the beginning wasn’t particularly great—just a bunch of tents and the Granny Rapper, still going on about the terrors of being 65. However, once we went over the train station (which goes straight through the Showgrounds), the view got a lot better. On the right, we could see all the way to the woodchopping pavilion (although sadly, we couldn’t actually see the woodchopping) and in front of that, the main stadium where equestrian events were taking place. To our left was the Ekka carnival, with all the rides packed and going full tilt. We came very close to the $15 ride (the most expensive besides the Bungy Bullet); this was the one that sends you flying towards the ground at 5Gs! It was funny to see people fly past us screaming, but at the same time, I was really hoping no one would get sick!

Once we got back on the ground and celebrated Michelle being fairly calm for the entire ride, we started wandering, trying to find the one perfect ride to spend the remainder of our money on. Unfortunately, we didn’t find one, but we did see two rather amusing things in the process. The first had to do with the $15 ride. This ride wasn’t exactly booming, since not many people wanted to spend $15 for a short, nausea-inducing ride. It held four riders on each end, and at one point, only two riders got on and wanted to ride side-by-side. This meant that one of the workers had to jump on to balance it out, and the guy that got chosen to do so hopped on—with his mobile phone! He proceeded to text message throughout the entire ride, whilst spinning and hurtling towards the ground! It was amazing to see, since everyone else was screaming their lungs out and he was just calmly tapping away. The second rather amusing thing happened when we turned away from looking at that ride and began walking down one of the show alleys, only to see someone vomit on one of the rides closeby. It was a fast, spinning ride, which only contributed to its becoming a liquid projectile. I’d hate to be the unsuspecting Ekka-goer that it landed on!

Rather than going on a ride, we decided to play a game—we told ourselves that at least we might get a prize out of it! We wandered around, looking for a fun-looking game with good prizes, but we just ended up playing the one with the best marketing. It was the game where you have to toss a ball into a tilted bucket, but if it bounces out, you lose. The man working there told us that he’d give us a special deal—rather than each of us getting two out of four balls in to get a small prize, three balls for a medium prize, and four balls for a massive Simba toy, he’d let us combine our scores. So, we only had to get 2 out of 8 balls in for a small prize instead. This sounded pretty good, and Michelle got her practice shot in, so we paid our ridiculous $10 each and had a go.

I went first, and managed to get two balls out of my four in, only to watch them bounce right back out again. Then, it was Michelle’s turn; she pulled through, getting two out of her four in. I should have just paid and let her go twice! We got a little stuffed polar bear (which happens to be the mascot for my favorite Australian drink, Bundaberg Rum), which Michelle let me have, even though I didn’t do much to help her win it!

After this, we left the rides area for the Showbag Pavilion. James was incredulous when I later told him that we hadn’t been on a ride at the Ekka, but we had a blast without them. Who needs being sick after going on a dizzying ride when you can go win Bundy Bears or buy giant fluffy hats instead?

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