Our Guide to Sydney’s Oktoberfest in the Gardens
If you can’t celebrate Oktoberfest in its beloved city of origin, then Oktoberfest in the Gardens, the Sydney-based homage to Germany’s world-famous, stein-clunking festival is the next best thing. Pouring premium lager for more than 6000 Oktoberfest fans, the event converts the Domain, a section of the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust, from traditional gardens into the two biggest beer halls in Australia. Visitors will enjoy a giant stage where numerous live music acts and competitions take place, roving entertainment, delicious food and, of course, beer all day long. And to help you navigate the festival, we’ve put together a handy list of the best things to see and do. Prost!
Dress to impress!
Getting as close to the traditional Munchen festival as possible involves going that one step further and dressing up in traditional Bavarian wear. Ladies, getting into the Oktoberfest spirit begins with deciding how old-fashioned you’d like to go. The costume spectrum ranges from elegant Bavarian girls and beer stein beauties with traditional knee-length skirts and refined designs, to beer maids and beer wenches with short skirts, over-the-knee stockings and busty corsets. For men, it’s a little more straightforward. Pop on a chequered shirt and strap into a traditional pair of lederhosen (extra points if you accessorise with the knee-high socks and a hat with a fun feather) for a true Bavarian look. Or go matchy-matchy with your significant other and pick out a cute couples costume. The Sydney Oktoberfest website has a great hook up offering an excellent selection of costumes to purchase or you can try your luck hiring from a brick and mortar store. Whatever you choose to wear, it’ll be fun to get dressed up. Plus, the costumes will make for many hilarious and memorable pictures to look back on.
Save yourself a painful yarf and line your stomach with some hearty German food
Traditional German beer is nothing without a hearty traditional German dish to soak it up. Thankfully the event organisers understand this and it hasn’t been overlooked, with Oktoberfest in the Gardens offering a mouth-watering variety of German foodie favourites for you to sink your teeth into. Essential favourites ensure the menu is a meaty affair, with fat bratwurst, juicy kranski and chevaps, and spicy currywurst with sauerkraut at the top of the list, as well as rolls stuffed with roast pork carved straight from the spit, Bavarian meatloaf and woodfired flammkuchen (German pizza) alongside pomme frites and good old fashioned potato salad. Before the food coma kicks in and the inevitable sugar cravings have begun, swap over from savoury to sweet with a series of rich and sugary sweets. Think velvety crepes, gingerbread hearts, and traditional German pastries and cakes.
Beer Hall and German Stage
When you arrive at the German Stage, it’s time to wholly embrace the revelry. A vast list of German entertainers – from a 20-piece brass band to a series of yodellers and roving accordion players – will be blasting out traditional German tunes that’ll have you dancing, skipping and stomping well into the night. Beside the stage is the Beer Hall, where bar hands will be pouring litre upon litre of golden brews for thousands of beer-loving punters, ready to service your need for rich lager once you’ve worked up a thirst. Specifically designed to reflect the traditional set-up of the original Oktoberfest in Munich, this area is one you don’t want to miss at this festival.
Compete for Miss and Mr Oktoberfest, stein holding, bratwurst eating and more
With all the festivities and endless cheersing happening, it stands to reason that a good competition or two will go down well and Oktoberfest in the Garden’s MCs will be conducting a variety of on-stage games with the audience to enhance the revelry. If strength is your superpower, see if you can match up to the power of the beer stein beauties back in Germany who are renowned for carrying and serving up to 10 one-litre steins at a time in the stein holding competition. Love bratwurst? Yep, there’s a bratwurst eating contest. Hunker down and fill your tummy with as much of this fat, juicy sausage as possible to become the champion. And finally, all that effort you put into your costume will bring you so much more than just a stack of fun Instagram shots and stories to post – you could win the title of Miss or Mr Oktoberfest.
Drink and be merry
Oktoberfest in the Garden goes far beyond just German beer and food. Dodgeball is the festival’s newest addition, with five-on-five Lederhosen battles set to take place – prepare for some heavy beer-fuelled competition! Speaking of interactive fun, there’s Sideshow Alley where a variety of pulse-kicking entertainment options abound, including target practice, heart-stopping rides and bumper cars to name a few. Meanwhile, dazzling roving performers – think musicians, circus performers, magicians, mimes and more – flutter about the grounds delighting punters all day and all night long. There’s even a three-channel silent disco where up to 500 people can get their boogie on – an essential dance arena for when you need a break from the Bavarian tunes, but still want to shake your booty.