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Brisbane may be blessed with mild winters and warm sunny days year-round that others could only dream of, however it doesn't mean that we don't suffer 'grass is greener' syndrome from time to time dreaming of a cosy winter wonderland and the charm of a traditional European festival. Luckily we don't have to pretend or stretch our imaginations too far because in June when the days are at their shortest and the temperature is at its coolest we can experience a traditional European winter wonderland of sorts in Brisbane's iconic King George Square.
Held from June 7 to June 24 and in its second year, the Brisbane Winter Festival promises to turn Brisbane's King George Square into a winter wonderland complete with artificial snow, Queensland's largest outdoor ice skating rink and a giant ice slide to match.
The festival mimics the outdoor ice skating and market-like atmosphere of numerous European cities in the winter months and showcases several cuisines from key countries including authentic German sausages with sauerkraut and sweet or savoury French crepes. One of the traditional delights however is Glühwein also known as mulled wine which is served steaming hot in either berry spice or original flavour in a ceramic mug with the winter festival insignia which comes as a free memento with purchase.
For those preferring drinks of the non-wine variety there is a full service bar featuring chai tea and other beverages to warm the insides, cosy wood fires and an outdoor licensed area overlooking City Hall and the ice rink. Frequent professional ice skating performances accompanied by classical music from some of Europe's greatest composers are scheduled regularly particularly in the evening. However for those wanting to get in on the action and out on the ice itself there are numerous ice-skating and equipment hire packages available which are recommend (and cheaper) to be booked in advance via the winter festival ticket website.
Numbers can get very large and lines very long during the evening and on weekends which are the peak times people visit the festival. Weekday ice-skating sessions of 45 minutes are $20 for adults and $15 for kids, both including skate hire. The kids will also be delighted careering down the ice slide on a rubber tube with 3 slides for $5.
This winter instead of dreaming about what a real might feel like, get down to King George Square and have a taste of piping hot gluhwein and soak up the traditional winter festival atmosphere right here in Brisbane.
Dynamic ice-skating performances by professional skaters are scheduled regularly at the festival
Good to see people having fun but... puts a question to Council...
Why are they letting people skate - without helmets - but not ride bikes??!
(Not that a person would ride around in city traffic anyway, but they are supposed to bring their own helmet. Whether they would ride without one is not a choice.)