How to do the Sydney Royal Easter Show on a budget

People walking at the Sydney Royal Easter Show, sticking to a budget.

There’s nothing quite like a day at the Easter Show. Australians have been flocking to this agricultural celebration for decades (since 1823, if we’re really counting), and it has become the country’s largest annual ticketed event. 

Whether you’re there for the horse show and cake icing competitions, or the wild carnival rides and corndogs, it’s a helluva fun day out for all ages. But all that adventure can be a real drain on your bank account.

So, we’ve developed this guide to help you save money at the Sydney Royal Easter Show in 2022. It’s running from 8-19 April, so it’s time to pull on your gumboots and get prepped for the Show.

Pre-planning

While rides, snacks and armfuls of showbags can make an Easter Show outing a costly affair, there are plenty of things you can do before rolling up to Sydney Showgrounds that’ll help keep the bill to a minimum. Here are some things to consider before the festivities.

Meals and snacks before the Show

This may seem obvious to breakfast-lovers, but it’s wise to arrive at the Easter Show with a full belly. A sated appetite will reduce spontaneous chip-on-a-stick splurges, and also save you from roller coaster-induced bellyaches if you muddle up your ride schedule and fairyfloss eating. 

And remember, you are allowed to bring your own drinks and snacks into the grounds, so you can pre-pack lunch and water to save more pennies. If you want more everyday money-saving tips, check out Mozo’s guide to building a budget.

Easter Show tickets and transport

How much do Easter Show tickets cost? That depends on who you are, when you buy tickets, when you want to go and who your Show companions are.

Public transport to the Show is once again included in the ticket price, so travelling by train, bus or ferry is still generally the most wallet-friendly way to get to the Show. Parking is available at nearby stations and lots, but it's often limited and can be expensive.

A standard adult ticket price is $49, kids come for $33.50 and a family of four can waltz in for $99.50. We’ll get into how you can cut ticket costs below.

Are there any discounts for the Royal Easter Show?

There are a bunch of ways to make your trip to the Easter Show more cost-effective in the ticket department. 

Firstly, by booking Early Bird tickets by 7 April, you can shave the adult price down to $39 and kids down to $23.50. Then there are other discounts for group bookings and special price-reduced days for seniors (13 April ) and kids (19 April).

Evening adventurers can book twilight tickets which offer around five hours of show fun from 4pm and only costs adults $33 and children $12.

If you or you kiddies go wild for rides, you might also consider pre-purchasing ride coupons, which can save you up to 27% compared to paying for rides on the day, according to the Show’s website. And if you’re going on day one of the Show, there are 6,000 unlimited ride wristbands going for $39.99 each which you can purchase on the ground (just remember they’re only valid from 10am-2pm on the day, and it’s first in best dressed).

Check out this guide to handling your post-lockdown finances for tips to becoming a saving superhero beyond the Show.

Can you get a refund for Easter Show tickets?

If the Show is cancelled due to COVID-19, you’ll get a full refund on your tickets, pre-purchased ride coupons, competition entries and parking. Just remember, this generally won’t apply if you simply can’t attend on the day you've booked for other reasons.

Cut spending on the day

Woodchopper cutting a stump at the Sydney Royal Easter Show.

It wouldn’t be a day at the Show without forking out a few dollars in exchange for a sugar rush. So you don’t blow your Easter budget, we’ve got a few pointers to keep you on an affordable spending track while enjoying the best of the Show.

Cheap Easter Show food 

If you want a classic Aussie feed, make your way to the Big Bush BBQ where a different NSW Show Society will be turning snags each day. Proceeds from your affordable lunch will all head right back to the communities these tong and fire masters hail from.

Bargain hunters looking to experience local flavours should head to the Woolworths Fresh Food Dome. Here, you can sample everything from regional cheeses and chocolates to oysters and baked goods (maybe stock up and take some home) while you marvel at the always impressive District Exhibits towers of tessellating fruit and veg. This year the centrepiece will be in the form of 3D timeline of the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW over the last 200 years.

Free-entry fun

Yes, rides can be riotous fun, but there are heaps of free events and exhibits to experience at the Show. Check out the woodchop and sawing comp, pig and goat pavilion (for pats), flower and garden show (complete with scarecrow competition), roaming street theatre, and daily Bicentenary Street Parade – all free of charge.

Setting a showbag budget

Nowadays showbags often contain more than Bertie Beetles, Chupa Chups and buckets of Wizz Fizz powder, and many are priced in the double digits. 

So, if you and your gaggle of kids (or Easter-enthusiast adult friends) are mad about showbags, it might be a good idea to set a spending limit. This way, you can go all out on a double-digits bag or collect a bunch of smaller sugar-filled options for the same price.

If you’ve got some leftover Easter spending money, store it in a high interest savings account to get more out of your cash.