Image: Joshua shows his baby sister a young chick at Ekka 2013. Credit: Ursula Skjonnemand.

The challenge:

Ekka 2013 on a low budget. Maximise fun and value and stick together as a family.

The team:

15-year-old Stephen, 13-year-old Josh, baby Zoe and Mum.

Time limit:

Four hours.

Ekka 2013: one family's experience View Full

Images by Ursula Skjonnemand, Joshua Klumper and Stephen Skjonnemand.

How did we do?

Fun was on par with an average good weekend (maybe this is an indication that we're spoilt here in Queensland). There were a couple of new experiences to be had, but not many. We blew out budget (by almost 100%) mainly on food but the boys resisted show bags and rides.

Fun was on par with an average good weekend (maybe this is an indication that we’re spoilt here in Queensland). There were a couple of new experiences to be had, but not many. We had a budget blowout of more than 150%, mainly due to food but saved money on not getting show bags or going on rides.

All in all we had a fun family day together even though it cost much more than we’d hoped.

I was pleasantly surprised that the teenagers agreed to do the free things first. They spent quite a bit of time feeding and patting the farm animals with baby Zoe.

We managed to stay together throughout the day, taste testing anything we could find, buying lots of food and drink, checking out whatever free entertainment piqued our interest and trying our luck at a game or two each.

Amazingly the boys opted not to go on any rides or buy any showbags (Josh used his showbag money on chilli sauce). As it turns out it was the food and drinks that we spent a lot of money on.

We felt the free samples were few and far between, and the country exhibits and events could have done more to attract our attention. Except for the baby, none of us learned anything new about rural life or work and in my opinion, that’s an opportunity lost.


Animal nursery
Everyone enjoyed interacting with the farm animals and petting the baby chicks was free.
Trial bike show
The boys and I loved the free trial motorbike show, backflips and all.
Cheap pizza
Stephen took advantage of the 2 for 1 pizza deal and got four slices for $10.


Ball in bucket game
After easily getting the first ball in the bucket both times yet missing every other shot, we felt dubious that this game was rigged and it gave Josh a negative experience of feeling ripped off.
Expensive chilli
Josh forked out $20 for one small bottle of the world’s hottest chilli sauce.
Freebies hassle
While we were able to sample some product hassle free, other times it wasn’t worth the spoonful of food for the sales push we endured. The boys refused to take freebie stickers, saying that it was not a gift but actually free advertising for the business.

Money spent

Transport (by train)
Student ticket x 2
Single ticket x1
Baby free
Total = approx. $30

Adult (15 year old) x 1
20% off child (with pre-Ekka discount voucher) x 1
Baby Zoe free
Mum free (on media pass)
Total = approx. $35

Bought food and drinks
Animal food (everyone fed the farm animals)
Strawberry sundae (Josh)
Coffee (Mum)
Water (Josh and Stephen)
Fairy floss (Josh and Stephen)
Spices (Mum)
Chilli sauce (Josh)
Sushi (Mum, Stephen and Zoe)
Fudge (Mum)
Lemonade (Stephen)
Pizza (Stephen)
Marshmallow strap (Josh, who shared it around)
Strawberry and marshmallow skewer (Josh)
Dagwood dog (Stephen)
Total = approx. $90

Sideshow games
Hammer game x 1 (Stephen)
Bucket ball game x2 (Josh)
Shooting game x 1 (Mum)
Total = $40

Total spent = aprox $195 (excluding transport approx. $165)

Freebies and money saved

Entry discount voucher
Total worth = approx. $4

Free samples
iced tea – 1 tbsp x 3
curry and rice – 1 tbsp x 2
steak – 5g x 2
corn chips – 5g x 2
lolly straps – 50g +5g +5g
nougart – 5g x2
chilli on chip – 5g x 2
Total worth = approx. $5

Prizes won
Small plush x 2
Medium plush x 1
Total worth = approx. $14

Free entertainment
Petting zoo
Chick patting
Short trial bike show
Total worth = approx. $45

Total free value = approx. $68

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported.

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2 Comments Leave a comment
  • Cas Allan

    Yikes on cost! Love the graphics and the costings Ursula.

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