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3.

MY BRISBANE

Where are you from?

I was born and bred in Brisbane and now live

in Brookfield.

Where’s a good place to go for breakfast in

your area?

The Brookfield General Store is the perfect

spot for breakfast on the weekend.

What’s your hot tip for country visitors to

see or do when they come to Brisbane?

I think Shorncliffe is a great place to visit – it’s

nice to walk along the Esplanade and look out

over Moreton Bay, followed by fish and chips

for lunch.

Any tips for a good farmers market to go to?

We often go to the Moggill Markets at

Brookfield, which are close to home. They have

great local produce and you can talk directly

with the farmers.

Favourite meal out?

I can’t go past Cha Cha Char Wine Bar &

Grill at Eagle Street in the city, especially when

they are serving the award-winning steaks from

the RNA’s Royal Queensland Food and Wine

Show. But in August, I would have to say the

Royal Queensland Steakhouse – they really do

serve Australia’s best steaks.

What is your favourite leisure activity?

Mountain biking – I love getting outdoors and

challenging myself. My favourite spot is around

Gap Creek in Brookfield.

What’s a favourite journey close to

Brisbane?

The drive out to Samford is a really relaxing

one along Gap Creek Road. The scenery is

beautiful and it’s a great way to explore some of

the areas surrounding Brisbane.

Brisbane Showgrounds is undergoing a

major transformation, what work is being

done and what does that mean for Ekka in

the future?

The $2.9 billion Brisbane Showgrounds

Regeneration Project is a once-in-a-

lifetime legacy build which will ensure the

showgrounds become a year-round, world-class

events and lifestyle precinct.

The project includes the state-of-the-art

Royal International Convention Centre

(completed in 2013) and construction is

currently underway on new apartments, a four-

star hotel and King Street which will house

some of Brisbane’s newest bars and restaurants.

The major reason the RNA embarked on

this transformation was to ensure the Ekka

remains at its birthplace for many generations

to come. We will be celebrating the 138th show

this year.

You have three daughters, what are their

favourite Ekka experiencs?

Kate, my 13-year-old, loves the EkkaNITES

entertainment, especially the pop stars who

perform. Last year she got to meet one of our

headline acts, Prinnie Stevens, so she was

thrilled. For Gabby, my 12-year-old, it’s all

about the rides and showbags. Sideshow Alley

is a highlight for her. Emily, the youngest (who

is 9), constantly visits the Animal Nursery, she

loves seeing the baby animals.

What’s your favourite Ekka experience?

I have been coming to the Ekka since I was a

child so I have many great experiences but I

really love the quality of the delicious food and

wine on offer. We have access to the greatest

produce in the state and it’s all on show in

August, whether it’s in the Royal Queensland

Steakhouse, at Gourmet Harvest or in the

Woolworths Fresh Food Pavilion.

What are your top 5 not to miss activities or

events at Ekka?

EkkaNITES will feature country music legend

James Blundell this year. There will be amazing

fireworks, and a whole new design … and I

do love watching the extreme monster trucks

and FMX riders; the Animal Nursery is one of

the Ekka’s most popular attractions (and my

daughter’s favourite). It’s a must do for every

family with hundreds of baby animals to meet;

and the Showbag Pavilion will have more than

300 show bags on offer.

Ekka is also a foodies paradise showcasing

the best of the best in food and wine, award-

winning produce including Australia’s best

steak, wine and cheese… and our Ekka

Strawberry Sundaes are iconic.

The Grand Parade is an Ekka tradition and

a great way to see all of the amazing animals on

show. It’s quite a sight to see when thousands

of animals, of all shapes and sizes, take over the

Main Arena on People’s Day (12 August).

How many people visit Ekka?

Since 1876 almost 30 million people have

attended the show. Each year, thousands of

people travel from the country to enjoy their

annual trip to Ekka – we have exhibitors

travelling with their prized animals, lifelong

RNA members and those who want to enjoy a

bit of time in the city.

Your hot tip for good coffee in Bowen Hills?

One Drop at Green Square, but soon we’ll have

the best coffee in town on the newly created

King Street which will be opening in early

2016.

What else is worth the visit to Bowen Hills?

There are some great restaurant and bar options

popping up around the Brisbane Showgrounds

and, as we are on the fringe of Fortitude Valley,

we are walking distance to dining hot spots

such as Alfred & Constance and Alfredo’s Pizza

on Constance Street.

The Old Museum (corner Gregory Terrace

and Bowen Bridge Road) has a program of

regular concerts and special events and the

Royals Equestrian Centre (10 O’Connell

Street) brings a bit of the country experience to

the city, providing riding lessons for all ages.

What is your favourite short break outside

Brisbane?

If I’m heading away for the weekend, my wife

and I really like to visit Stanthorpe. It’s the

perfect way to experience cooler weather and

enjoy Queensland food and wine straight from

the paddock to the palate.

36

| BNE July/August 2015

Brisbane Showgrounds

is undergoing a multi-

billion dollar makeover

but the Ekka show goes

on, for the 138th year,

from 7-16 August

BRENDAN

CHRISTOU

Chief Executive

RNA and Brisbane

Showgrounds