Royal Easter Show: all the weird and wonderful sights

Take a walk through the Alpaca Promenade to get up close and personal with the animals at Sydney Royal. Picture: Destination NSW
Take a walk through the Alpaca Promenade to get up close and personal with the animals at Sydney Royal. Picture: Destination NSW

For country folk it may seem like a busman's holiday, but for almost a million visitors each year, the Royal Easter Show returns to Sydney Showground bigger and better than ever.

Held from 3 to 14 April this year, it is a big drawcard for many Australian families over the Easter break. First held in 1823, the Easter Show is the country's largest annual ticketed event and marks the celebration of Australian culture and agricultural life.

From feeding farm animals and watching adrenaline-filled shows to buying the legendary showbags, families with kids are guaranteed to be entertained during the 12-day event held at Sydney Olympic Park.

There's the baby puppy competition with dogs aged three to six months romping around the Dog Pavilion and capturing every kid's heart. Held every afternoon, animal lovers will adore the display as the best pup of the day is picked and awarded a trophy. To see big dogs in action, check out the agility and obedience competitions.

If you want to see which merino are producing the best-quality fleece, head to the Sheep Pavilion, open across all 12 days of the show.

The Grand Champion rams and ewes will be on display in the Supreme Exhibit on 11 April with judges scanning every detail of each competitor, including the fleece type and weight, and running ultrasounds to determine the animal's fat and muscle levels.

Bird lovers should visit the Pet Pavilion on Riverina Avenue. You can make some feathered friends at the Tame Parrot show, see endangered birds at the Aviary Bird Display and also learn how to talk to a parrot.

If kids are keen to learn why turtles are one of the oldest and slowest-moving reptiles in the world, they should visit the Pet Pavilion on 13 April. The one-day event will explain why the turtles' shells slow them down but also protect them from predators.

Try goat yoga at the Pig and Goat Pavilion lawns and learn how to balance your chakras with a curious goat by your side. The free class will teach you some simple yoga moves.

If you don't mind slithering and scaly animals, the Frog and Reptile Show at the Pet Pavilion will be held on 13 and 14 April, and features a huge collection of non-venomous snakes, lizards and frogs.

Alpacas have always been a big attraction at the Easter Show. Introduced to Australia in the late 1800s, alpacas at this year's show will be judged on their density, lustre and uniformity to determine the best fleece. The competition will be held from 10 to 14 April at the Alpaca Pavilion.

Besides wood-chopping competitions, dance shows and cooking classes, there will be lots of rides for children of all ages to enjoy.

Little kids will love the Kids' Carnival. Big kids will hit the Crazy Spinning Coaster, Pirates Revenge water rollercoaster and Kyle and Jackie O's Haunted House.

ShowLink tickets: Combine your entry fee with transport costs in a ShowLink ticket. Same-day return public transport is included and earlybird prices are available until 2 April. Cost: $38 per adult, $23 per child, $99.50 per family of four. Purchase from Woolworths or through Ticketmaster (1300 030 374 or see

Bus: Starting at 7am, major event buses will run every 30 minutes with more frequent services at peak times.

Ferry: From the Sydney CBD, head down the Parramatta River by ferry and take the bus connection onward to Sydney Olympic Park.

Train: There are frequent direct services between Central and Sydney Olympic Park stations until late.

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