Sunday, 7 October 2018

Royal Melbourne Show 2018

Last week we went to the Royal Melbourne Show (aka The Show).  It was a fun but tiring day of food, carnival rides, cat judging, cake competitions, quirky displays and showbags. Here are some pictures.  We had glorious weather but were too tired to stay for the fireworks.

First stop is always to gaze at the showbags and think about which ones we might buy on the way out.

Then the ferris wheel.  It gives a great birds eye view of the showgrounds with the iconic pie in the sky.  Views also extend beyond the showgrounds to the Melbourne skyline.

While the Show has a huge carnival area, I really like some of the areas more related to the agricultural show.  These cow sculptures, on loan from Shepparton, were lots of fun and as close as I came to seeing cows.

We stopped for lunch in the Woolworths Fresh Food Pavillion quite early to beat the crowds.  E and Sylvia went to the baked potato stall.  I went to SpanThai where I had (I think) pad see ew.  Lots of dry flat noodles flavoured with soy sauce and some vegetables, bean sprouts and lemon.  I didn't mind that there weren't more vegetables as Sylvia quite liked trying my noodles.  I also bought a glass of lemon, ginger and mint drink which was wonderfully refreshing.  When we sat down to eat, beside us were two families from Sylvia's school.  It is a small world.

We enjoyed wandering around the food stalls and having some samples.  I really loved the people at Gourmet Morsels and all their wonderful spice mixes.  I bought the Jackaroo Dukkah but it was really hard to choose just one dukkah as they were all really good.  The red velve dukkah was tempting.  I also bought Pop'd popcorn and Uncle John's licorice.

Sylvia had a small cup of blue chocolate from the chocolate fountains at the strawberry stall.  I had a chocolate covered strawberry.  We went to the animal nursery but Sylvia is not keen on goats coming towards her so we didn't stay in there for long.  Then we had a walk through the carnival area and up to see the cats.

The cats in their cages weren't too excited but I enjoyed seeing the cat judging.  I think we might have even seen Grumpy Cat! 

Sylvia had a go at a few carnival games.  Above is the fishing game where you fish out characters with numbers on the bottoms that are added up to show the range where you can select a prize.  She also did the laughing clowns.  We went on the dodgems and the swing ride carousel.  Then we stopped for an ice cream (strawberry with condensed milk filling) and to watch some horses.

Then it was onto my favourite place, the Spotlight makers pavillion for the cakes and craft.  The talent on display is amazing.  Above is an Alice in Wonderland cake.

We loved this Wizard of Oz cake.  It was fun spotting the four "gifts" that the Wizard gave to Dorothy (shoes), the Scarecrow (a diploma certificate), the Tinman (a ticking heart) and the Lion (a medal of bravery).

These cakes were on the theme of The Show.  I really loved the one with the pie in the sky and the ferris wheel.

These two cakes were the stand out this year.  Everyone crowded around exclaiming at the details.  They look too real to be made of sugarcraft.  And that cat is so cute.

We enjoyed working out what was on all the cupcakes.  Some were obvious and others less so.  So clever and so creative.

I love all the regular bakes and perserves.  This fudge above looks perfect.  Some of the jars of preserves were so beautiful and there were lots of great bakes like rainbow cakes, slices and breads.  I confess to walking past the breads and exclaiming I could do better.  But on the second last day of the show, some of the baking is a little old.

We started to look at the crafts but didn't get far as it is so easy to get distracted by another attraction.  I loved the teacosy display.

And here is the distraction.  A display of the history of showbags.  I was surprised to read that showbags is an Australian tradition.  It started with businesses giving out samples and then organising bags to carry the samples in. 

I really love this twisties bag for the ridiculous claim that it is a wholesome snack.  Twisties are processed crisps with lots of artificial flavouring.  But I guess in the 1960s you could get away with saying anything. 

The showbags were all a bit older than ones I had as a kid but I remember them fondly.  I really loved how there would often be a toy in them among all the chocolate bars.  But there were never the hug selection of showbags like they have today.  According to the display, in 1957 there were 42 sample bags on offer and in 2018 there are 400 showbags you can choose from.

Our last stop was the showbag pavillian.  It was not as busy as last time we were here but it is still overwhelming.  Everywhere you look are displays of showbags you can buy if you could only get past the people and get the attention of the people behind the counter.

There is something iconic about the Bertie Beetle showbag.  I think part of its popularity is because you can buy one so cheap.  It appeals to those who have very little cash left, to little kids who have very little to spend and to those like me who remember when showbags were cheaper and simpler.

These are more typical of the confectionary showbags.

And now there are showbags that are about brands, tv shows and toys.  These are more about commercialisation and branding than the old fashioned idea of samples.  We quite liked the look of the Adventure Time showbag but at around $30 a bag, you really had to want it.

Finally we stopped for a potato twist and a doughnut before leaving at 5.30.  We were tired as we waited 20 minutes for a train from the showgrounds and then another 20 minutes for a train on our line.  However public transport is the only way to go as we found one year when we drove to The Show and left without going in because parking was such a nightmare.

We got quite a few showbags this year.  E got the Bertie Beetle and the Red Rock crisps bags.  I got the Twisties bag.  Sylvia got the Girls Only, the Oreo, The Slime Zone and a Cadbury bag.  She didn't actually pay for the Cadbury bag but someone put it in another of her bags. 

The Slime Zone bag was probably one of her favourite bags.  She has had lots of fun playing with all the different slimes.  I am not a fan of slimes so Sylvia has been on her best behaviour with this messy stuff.  Mostly!

I decided to only get one showbag and buy some samples from the fresh food pavillion.  Here are some of my purchases.  It was a fun day out.  The child in me still loves The Show and coming home with some showbags.

To read about my previous trips to The Show, have a look at:


  1. Bertie Beetles are not the easiest things to get where I live, perhaps a Royal Show would be the best option. :) You don't get much in those $10 showbags anymore, I remember when that used to be pretty decent value.

  2. The cakes are always amazing but that dog and cat are incredible! :o My favourite ever showbag was the wonder woman one.

  3. My days of doing a full day at the Show, with kids in tow, are thankfully behind me, but still fresh in my memory.
    We always worked to a formula. Our kids were only allowed limited show bags, so they always put in quite a lot of research effort in the days leading up to the big event. When we arrived, our first stop would be the show bag hall where they made their purchases in the relative peace and quiet of the morning. My husband would take them back to the car, giving us the rest of the day free to explore, with that particular hassle behind us!

  4. That looks like such a fun day out. I think the cows are my favourite! If all cows looked like that, the countryside would be such fun!
    I am not surprised the cat looks so grumpy.... if it's just come out of a cage to be 'examined'...
    I have to agree with you though.... those cakes look incredible.... the detail on them is quite beautiful x

  5. I went to the Show too. I love Uncle Johns licorice and bought the show bag.


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