Where are you from?
I was born and bred in Brisbane and now live
Where’s a good place to go for breakfast in
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
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
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 $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
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
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
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.
| BNE July/August 2015
is undergoing a multi-
billion dollar makeover
but the Ekka show goes
on, for the 138th year,
from 7-16 August
RNA and Brisbane