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Wonderfully wintry fun in sub-tropical Brisbane
There are lots of things I love about my adopted city — jacarandas, outdoor cafes, summer storms, just to name a few — but I must admit to just a tinge of regret when winter rolls around because in Brisbane there are few opportunities to enjoy all the things I love about winter. Thanks goodness the Winter Festival is back in Brisbane in 2016, bringing a cold blast of everything wonderfully wintry to King George Square from Friday 17 June to Sunday 10 July.
I'm particularly glad that it is the unloveable and unloved King George Square that will be transformed from its usual grey bleakness into a frosty funfest (I just couldn't bring myself to say winter wonderland) for more than three weeks. There's so much on offer for winterphiles with everything from ice skating to tobogganing, gluwein to markets, and a whole lot of activities and entertainment in between. Live music, pop-up bars and winter games will be the order of the day. You'll also find warming winter food and drink. Did someone say hot chocolates? And it's free to enter, although you will have to fork out for the range of activities. You'll find it hard to believe that you're really still in sub-tropical Brisbane.
Undoubtedly the centrepiece of the festival will be the large open-air ice skating rink that will take up residence in the square. Open-air ice skating in Brisbane, complete with falling snow? What a treat for the young and young at heart. You can hire penguin skating aids and helmets and pads for the littlies and the inexperienced. Prices: For a one hour skating session prices range from $8 for under 5s to $22 for adults and $60 for a family ticket - 2 adults and 2 children. Prices include skate hire. Don't forget your extra pair of socks.
Powder Pit New for 2016 is the Powder Pit, purpose-built for building snowmen, making snow angels, and for fun and friendly snowball fights. The real snow is sure to delight everyone. Tickets will be sold for fifteen minute sessions. Price: $5 for fifteen minutes.
Also new for 2016 is the ultimate sliding, racing, exhilarating fun-filled ride: Toboggan Terror. Enjoy all the fun of a real snow toboggan ride, complete with sledges. Price: $7 for one five-minute ride.
Venue: King George Square, with entrances from Ann Street or Adelaide Street. Dates: From Friday17 June to Sunday 10 July Hours: Monday to Thursday: 10am to 7pm Friday and Saturday: 10am to 9pm Sunday: 9am to 7pm Tickets: are available online here now.