Last Sunday, I shared some photos from our family day out at Oktoberfest Brisbane. I’ve had so many people messaging me and stopping me in the school grounds to ask me what it was like for kids, so I thought I’d write a post about it. Even if you aren’t based in, or moving to, Brisbane, hopefully this post will give you an idea about what to expect from the other German festivals around Australia too.
Disclosure: I do some freelance writing and blogger outreach work for Oktoberfest Brisbane so our entry to the festival and some of the food and drink we had at the festival was provided. This post also contains an affiliate link.
Oktoberfest Brisbane is SO family friendly. It runs over two consecutive weekends every October at the Brisbane Showgrounds. This year it is Friday 6th – Sunday 8th October, and Friday 13th – Sunday 16th October. So if you’re in the area and you’re reading this just after I’ve hit publish, you’ve still got three days to choose from. Sundays are the main family days though as they are a lot quieter which makes it so much easier to get around, find tables and get on the rides. Kids under 18 go in free every day of the festival, but on Sundays they also get two free rides which definitely saves money if you have a big family.
Oktoberfest Brisbane is a really family-friendly event. Yes, there is beer too but last Sunday it was packed with families having a good time. I personally had a great time BECAUSE we took out kids and got to enjoy it through them. They can’t stop talking about how much they enjoyed themselves and they even got me to send in lots of photos to their teacher so they can do show and tell about it.
What to wear to Oktoberfest Brisbane
As it was my first Oktoberfest, I was a bit unsure what to do about finding an Oktoberfest costume. Luckily Matt and the boys all had checked shirts and hats that passed as being a bit German-looking, and Matt managed to dig out some braces that made him look particularly German! I scoured the local Westfield shopping centre and found a perfect dress from Review in Myer that was in gingham and was just the right shape and style to pass as German while also being something I could wear again. I found lots of cute gingham outfits for my daughter in Myer too (from leggings and shirts to dresses and playsuits). Both my dress and my daughter’s playsuit were in the sale too which was perfect (so I’d definitely advise heading to Myer if you are trying to find something to wear at the last-minute)!
Getting dressed up isn’t essential. You won’t feel out of place if you don’t get dressed up. But equally loads of people there are dressed up in the full Oktoberfest attire in dirndl costumes and lederhosen, so if you want to dress up you will fit right in and I think you will enjoy the day even more. If you don’t have time to buy anything in advance, you can shop at the official clothing partner, Schnucki, when you get there too.
What to eat and drink
Where do I start? The food was beyond incredible. Budget plenty for eating because you will want to try so many different things. Most of the questions I’ve had from people have been around the types of food available and the price of food, so here is a rundown.
Matt had a pork knuckle which was $29 and he is still talking about how delicious it was three days later (slow cooked and soft on the inside with crispy crackling – and it was HUGE!!).
I had half a roast chicken and chips for £16 which was also delicious and juicy. The kids had a burger, schnitzel and sausage which varied in price but budget from $10 – $16 for most of those kinds of meals. Popcorn was $5. Pots of ice cream were $5 (the honeycomb was divine) and King of Cakes is my new favourite place – the jam doughnuts ($4.50) and flourless chocolate cakes ($6.50) were to die for. $4.50 would buy you a pretzel bigger than your head!
German wine was $11 a glass (I particularly loved the sparkling) and a stein of beer was $13 (you buy a stein and cooler when you enter or in advance when you buy your ticket online). Bottles of soft drinks were $4.50. We took a couple of refillable water bottles for the kids. The security staff sniffed it when we entered the Showgrounds to make sure it was water not alcohol and let us keep it but I believe some people emptied theirs and refilled them inside the venue.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t know the moves – you will learn! Our 5yo thought the dancing was the best part of the day. If you don’t believe me, just take a look at the smile on her face in this video:
She became a pro at the Fliegerlied too by the end of it (if you don’t think you know the song, search for it on YouTube and you will have heard of it!). They repeat the main songs through the day so as people get more used to them (and drink a little more beer) everyone gets more confident at joining the dance floor.
We only used the two free rides for the kids so I’m not sure exactly how much the rides cost but I think it was around $7/$8 a ride (there was an unlimited ride pass for $37 but I think buying individuals would be more economical unless you have kids that want to go on the same rides over and over as there weren’t that many rides – especially for little ones). Ours spent SO long on the jumping castle so the one ride ticket lasted them for about an hour and a half! (I’m not sure if this was just because we caught it at a quiet time – perhaps at busier times there is a time limit on it). We also went in the petting zoo which was a huge hit and now my kids all want a pet fluffy chicken.
There is a programme of shows on in the KinderZone so if you have little ones head there first and take a photo of the programme so you know when to head back. The Snake Boss show was a big hit for us.
Two of mine had their faces painted – it was $7 for a small face (which they both had) or $14 for a full face. We spent more money on a toy for each of them at the stalls and a light up flower crown but these were just extra treats that we could have avoided if we were on a budget.
The venue is cashless, so be sure to load up some money into your digital wallet before you attend. I set mine up the day before with my ticket numbers and then when you arrive on site you get a wristband which you hold onto a sensor to activate and then, voila, the money is automatically there ready to use. When you order anything, you tap your band to start and then again to confirm the price and it flashes on screen to tell you how much you have left which is really handy. You can read more about the Digital Wallet here:
I’m a massive believer in doing things that create memories for our kids. This festival is going to be something they talk about for years as they had such an amazing time. The atmosphere, the music, the food – it was spot on for families looking to spend a fun and memorable day together.
We booked a hotel around the corner so that we could both enjoy a couple of drinks which I think was worth the effort. It does add more cost to the day but it made it so much more relaxing to know we could stay until 6.30pm and just walk around the corner and put the kids in bed. Check out the best Brisbane hotel prices here.
There are parking offers on through the festival though, so if you are driving then check this out:
Online tickets are cheaper than at the gate, so pre-book in advance and buy your step and cooler too to save money and avoid the queues. Buy tickets here.
Did you find this post useful? If so, please share it with your friends! Most families I’ve met had never considered attending Oktoberfest Brisbane with their kids so it would be great to get the word out about how family-friendly it is.