Ultimate guide to the Royal Melbourne Show

Living Well | Tianna Nadalin | Posted on 10 September 2019

Everything you need to know to plan a perfect day at the Royal Melbourne Show.

It's that time of year again. From 21 September to 1 October 2019, Melbourne Showgrounds will play host to a carnival of rides, live music, hands-on animal experiences and some of the region's best food and drink producers. And let's not forget about the showbags.

But, if you thought you knew the Royal Melbourne Show, think again. With more rides, animals and attractions than ever, as well as the world’s largest exhibition of showbags, this year’s show is set to be one of the biggest events yet. 

Here’s everything you need to know to nail a day at the Show

When is the Royal Melbourne Show? 

The Royal Melbourne Show runs for 11 days from 21 September to 1 October and is held at the Melbourne Showgrounds in Flemington. Presented by the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV), it is Victoria’s largest agricultural showcase, with 2019 marking its 171st year. 

How to get to the Show 

Train 

One of the easiest ways to get to the Royal Melbourne Show is via public transport. Trains to the Melbourne Showgrounds will run from Flinders Street, Southern Cross and North Melbourne stations every 10 to 20 minutes during the Show period, with the first trains departing from Flinders Street at 9.10am, and the last trains leaving the Showgrounds at 10.30pm. Travel time is approximately 15 minutes.  

V/Line 

If you’re travelling to the Show on V/Line, show your Royal Melbourne Show ticket when you buy your V/line ticket to get return economy tickets for $15 when travelling off-peak from any V/Line destination. To get the special fare, customers must be travelling with a V/Line paper ticket, it is not available with a myki.  

Tram 

Catch the number 57 tram from the corner of Elizabeth and Flinders streets and get off at Epsom Road, stop 32, for the Melbourne Showgrounds. Journey takes approximately 25 minutes. 

Bus 

The Melbourne Showgrounds is also serviced by a number of bus routes, including the 404 from Footscray to Moonee Ponds and the 472 from Williamtown to Moonee Ponds, both of which run along Epsom Road. 

Is there parking on site? 

If you’re planning on driving to the Royal Melbourne Show, public parking is available at the Flemington Racecourse carpark for $25 a day. Entry to the carpark is via Epsom or Smithfield roads and it is open from 8am to 11pm.  

Need help planning your journey? Download the RACV’s arevo journey planner app for real-time public transport information, traffic updates and even closest parking locations. 

Cute black bulldog with droopy face
Chef making fresh gnocchi

Puppy cuddles are one of the best things about the Royal Melbourne Show. Indulging in fresh pasta isn't too bad either. 


How much do Royal Melbourne Show tickets cost?

Your ticket to the Royal Melbourne Show is basically an access-all-areas pass to all the fun and excitement. Standard family tickets (two adults and two children) cost $80 (or $70 for one adult and three children) but RACV members can save up to 25 per cent on Early Bird tickets if pre-purchased online or from an RACV retail store before 20 September. Seniors, students and Health Care card holders are also eligible for concession tickets. 

Can I use my ticket on any day?

Tickets are for a single day but can be used on any day during the festival. Both printed tickets and mobile barcodes will be accepted. 

What time does the Show start?

Gates to the Royal Melbourne Show open from 9.30am and close at 8.30pm, with the show ending at 9pm every night. 

How much do the rides cost?

With some 64 rides, there is something to excite big kids and small at this year’s Melbourne Show. Get two-for-one rides during Happy Hour, which is from 10am to 11am every day. Prices start from $5, with classics like the Pirate Ship, Merry-Go-Rounds, Cup and Saucer, F1 Euroslide and Double Decker Carousel among some of the cheapest rides.

How much do Showbags cost?

If there’s one major Show attraction, it’s the showbags. I mean, did you even go to the Show if you didn’t get a showbag? From the cult Bertie Beetle showbag to AFL club bags and gourmet gift hampers, there’s a showbag to suit every taste, interest and budget.

Prices range from $2 (Bertie Beetle and Rip Snorter Brain Blasters) to $50 (Ugly Swan Scream-Free Hair – which includes a 150-gram Unicorn Hair Towel and 50-gram Scream-Free hairbrush), with many of the most popular showbags less than $30.

Dog trainer performing tricks with shaggy dog
Elton John impersonator in stage at festival
Cooks making pans of fresh poffertjes pancakes in cast iron skillets

Puppy tricks, Elton John impersonators and pofferjes are just some of the attractions at this year’s sensory feast-ival.


Things to do 

The Royal Melbourne Show is more than just rides and showbags; the festival also boasts a schedule of activities and entertainment that promises fun for the whole family. Try your hand at axe throwing, make some new furry friends, check out the cattle competition, watch Paw Patrol Live, sing along to Channel 9’s The Voice artists at The Main Stage, belt out an Elton John classic, or be amazed by the magic of Cosentino the Grand Illusionist. There are also precision driving displays, police dog demonstrations, wood-chopping challenges and a stunning fireworks display.  

What to eat and drink at the Show 

Winning Tastes Pavilion  

Forget bringing a packed lunch. The Royal Melbourne Show has had a gourmet makeover and its food and drink offering rivals any Melbourne laneway. Treat your tastebuds to some edible delights at the Winning Tastes Pavilion. This sumptuous precinct is where you can sample some of Australia’s best food and drink. Fuel up with a coffee from Danes, who have been crowned Champion Australian Roaster at the Australian International Coffee Awards for two years running. There is also grape juice from McPhersons Wines and beers courtesy of Temple Brewing.  

Pop-up Dessert Bar  

Indulge your sweet tooth with a mini treat from award-winning patisserie Christy Tania’s artisan store Glace Desserts, which was voted one of the top 10 places in the world to eat ice cream by National Geographic. Or, if you’re more into savoury dessert, head to The Delicatessen and gorge yourself on fresh, locally made cheeses and antipasto, including burrata and fior di latte, cured meats and other Italian favourites from That’s Amore. 

Winning Tastes Courtyard 

Keep it casual with a tasty snack from some of your favourite street food vendors. Royale Bros Burgers are bringing the buns, or head to Willy’s Fried Chicken for some seriously crispy bird. Limp Brisket is where the American-style barbecue pork is at, while beers are pouring from Collingwood’s Stomping Ground Brewery Co.  

The Meadow 

For cult classics like 400 Gradi pizzas and Biggie Smalls souvas, The Meadow is where it’s at. This laid-back dining, drinking and entertainment precinct also has Lion Brewery and Furphy frothies on tap, as well as wines from 6Ft6. 

Royal Melbourne Show Program 

Never miss a beat or a magic trick. Plan your day at the show by checking the daily program before you go. Entertainment kicks off at 9.30am daily with everything from animal encounters and live entertainment to foodie cooking demonstrations, competitions and show traditions staggered over the day.  

What if it rains? 

This is Melbourne so it always pays to be prepared for all seasons. There are undercover pavilions but it’s a good idea to pack an umbrella or a raincoat so that you can enjoy your day whether there’s rain, hail or shine.  

Other useful information. 

ATM facilities, bathrooms and parents’ rooms are located across the Showgrounds. Baby change tables are also available in the permanent public toilets.  

RACV PAVILION AND MEMBER ZONE

Need a break from the hustle and bustle? Head to the new RACV Pavilion and kick back in the exclusive RACV Members Zone. This members-only area includes a cafe where you can buy snacks and discounted coffee. The RACV Pavilion is located off the Grand Boulevard, next to the Coca-Cola Thrillseekers Carnival. If you’re catching the train, it's on the right as you enter the Showgrounds from Flemington Station (in the former Showbag Pavilion).