We go to the Royal Easter Show every year. It was an annual pilgrimage for my family when I was growing up and we’ve continued the tradition with BJ and AJ. I know many people avoid the show because of the crowds and cost but I’m here to share my tips on getting around the show, saving money and more. Sydney Olympic Park, where the Easter Show is held, was the site of the Olympics and Paralympics so it is wonderfully accessible.
If you have any tips, please add them to the comments at the end of this post. In the meantime take a tour with us by clicking on the play button on the arrow below –
The Royal Easter Show accepts the Companion Card which means a carer goes free if assisting a person with a disability.
Tickets can be purchased at the gates but to save time I recommend booking ahead.
We will be buying our tickets in advance over the phone by ringing the Royal Easter ticket line here – (02) 9704 1000
The tickets you purchase are not date specific so you still have flexibility on when you go.
When phoning you need to provide your Companion Card number, name of the person on the card and the expiry date. Make sure you take this card with you to the show even though you will have tickets. You may be asked to show the companion card at the gate when you scan your ticket.
A Vision Impaired Persons Pass with the reference to the words ‘Plus Attendant’ will also be accepted as proof.
TRANSPORT AND PARKING
Easter Show Showlink tickets include the cost of public transport to the event.
We prefer to drive so when everyone is tired at the end of the day we can just hop in our car to head home. Parking station P1 is the closest to the Easter Show.
The car park does offer discounted parking for those visitors with a disabled parking permit. It does take a bit of planning to take advantage of this discount and it cannot be booked in advance so get there early!
You must take with you a photocopy of the front and back of your disabled parking permit. Park in the disabled parking place displaying your parking permit.
Take your parking ticket and the photocopy of your permit to the ticket booth and you will receive parking at the discounted rate.
PARKING STATION HEIGHT DETAILS
I know many of our readers have vans and the height of car parks can be restrictive. The Sydney Olympic website lists the following height details regarding clearance –
P2, P4, P5 & P6 are open air car parks.
P1 clearance – 2 metres
P3 clearance – 2.1 metres
P8 clearance – 2.3 metres
AVOID THE CROWDS
We all know that wheelchair users end up looking at backs and bums if caught up in big crowds. A part from it feeling claustrophobic it isn’t the best way to see the show. We have a bit of a routine that helps avoid this for BJ.
We arrive at the show before opening time. By the time we park, enter and make our way to the first pavilion it is usually just opening.
There are some pavilions and areas where avoiding the crowds is more important than others. We head straight to the Agricultural display. It is hard to move in this pavilion later in the day. There is an elevated platform with ramp access which allows wheelchair users and others the opportunity to view the displays from a distance which I recommend.
We then make a beeline for the show bag pavilion. We have the kids choose their show bags online here before we get to the show so there isn’t time wasted making decisions on the spot. The show bag pavilion is a nightmare at the end of the day. People in the pavilion resemble Emperor Penguins waddling around the ice in a group and it is to be avoided at all costs.
We buy our show bags, hire a locker (last year it was $12 with $2 refunded on return of key) and put the show bags and other items we don’t need (additional drinks or food) in it. Choose a locker that will remain in the shade all day (especially important if buying bags with food).
It’s then time to hot foot it down to the animal nursery. The animals are the most active, hungry and interactive in the early part of the day. If you miss the morning, the animals are full and over it.
The other pavilion which gets overwhelming is the art and craft exhibition. It is hard to get near the cake decorating and other art glass cabinets. That is our next pick.
THE MAIN ARENA AND SHOWS
Plan your day by checking out the guide online. The program changes daily.
We usually have our lunch while watching shows in the main arena. There is designated wheelchair accessible seating which is very popular.
If someone is sitting in the seating that doesn’t look to have the need (I know this isn’t always obvious but the wheelchair seating and seating beside is specifically designed so a wheelchair user may sit beside their family or those that are with them there for the day) I suggest approaching a member of staff to sort out the situation rather than doing so yourself. People tend to cave to authority more than a regular Joe asking them to do something.
Getting a shady wheelchair accessible place is tricky in the middle of the day and if you want this I recommend arriving at least a 1/2 hour or more before the shows. BJ loves the cars and motorbikes and unfortunately this show is always in the main heat of the day.
There are plenty of accessible bathrooms around the showground. The worst time to go to the bathroom is after a show in any of the stadiums. Unfortunately, the disabled bathroom facilities are also the baby change facilities and families take a while when they have several children.
FOOD AND DRINKS
We take the majority of our food and drinks with us to save money. It’s boring and a pain in the neck but it cuts down on costs. The one indulgence we have is the Country Women’s Association Devonshire tea. BJ loves his scones with jam and cream and the ladies of the CWA do a wonderful job. Please note they only accept cash.
The rides are not a huge part of the show for us. We limit the kids with a set number of rides or games each. Queuing can be difficult with a wheelchair so approach the ride operator and they will often organise entry through the exit of the ride.
BJ has always loved the dodgem cars so that is at the top of his list each year.
I think the games are a waste of money but I still remember the thrill of BJ being able to do this clown game. It was the first one he could do independently and he was pretty chuffed with himself.
THE COUNTRY COMES TO THE CITY
The show is a fantastic opportunity for kids to learn more about our farmers, their produce and animals. There are plenty of educational opportunities which is why it is so popular with school groups during the week.
The Sydney Royal Easter Show is a place where memories are made. I hope that some of my tips will help you feel less overwhelmed at tackling the show this year.
For all the official information about access at the Easter Show check out their website.
One of our Facebook friends, Fiona, has shared her tips for the show –
Visit on a weekday if possible to avoid the crowds.
If you just want to go for a few hours, there’s a twilight ticket which is cheaper (entry after 4pm)
If you are looking for a cheap snack, there are delicious cheese toasties for $2 at the front of the Woolworths pavilion.
Thanks Fiona for these tips.
If you’ve got a tip for visiting the Easter Show we’d love to hear about it.
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