The Enchanted Garden Brisbane – An Immersive Experience

Christmas is a time for fancy lights and every year they seem to get more innovative and creative. One of the city’s festive season lighting events that’s been growing in reputation over the last few years is Enchanted Garden in Brisbane. Now in its eighth year, The Enchanted Garden has upped its game to create an immersive experience that caters for all types.

We decided to make an evening of it and enjoy dinner on the grasslands by the lake, as Enchanted Garden has many food trucks supporting the event. There’s even a bar! (More on the food and drinks later). After our meal, we moseyed over to the lake and lined up for our event. I’d booked us in an early slot, 6:30pm, as the later sessions were all sold out.

The Story to This Year’s Enchanted Garden Brisbane

This year’s theme is thoughtful, as organisers Royal Caribbean have highlighted Queensland subtropical rainforest plants in the experience. Additionally, the story stars native animals, such as a possum and a galah. Your job is to find four sacred objects along the path of the Enchanted Garden.

Don’t worry, the story to The Enchanted Garden in Brisbane is not arduous, as you don’t even have to deviate from your path. I won’t say much more other than it’s a bit of fun that will get the kids (even adults) paying attention to the environment.

Our Experience

It was pretty evident upon arrival that The Enchanted Garden in Brisbane had put their creative hats on this year. We wandered through a neon-lit tunnel at the start to discover that our adventure had a story to it. There was also tribal music playing amongst the neon lights and the rainforest environment, as well as dramatic save the world type music you typically hear on American blockbusters. While it sounds cringeworthy, it was a bit of fun.

Loved the projected animations, which looked even better when it got darker

The rainforest environment was impressively decorated, as short animations were projected onto nets, making them look as if they were a part of the environment. The water was shrouded in mist, its movement was emphasised and neon curls hung from the trees above to create a surreal experience of light and sound.

The water of the ‘Dark Rainforest’
Exploring the Dark Rainforest

Further on past ‘Torch Bridge’, we passed through some more dazzling light displays, which really got the kids dancing and interacting with the environment. However, our favourite part of the Enchanted Garden in Brisbane was the section known as ‘The Cascades’. Here blue light sprayed out from many angles – overlapping each other – and collided with smoke and neon patterns that were projected onto the ground.

‘The Cascades’ section at The Enchanted Garden
The end of ‘The Cascades’

This section was mesmerising, and I stayed around here filming and taking photographs for a while. From here we wandered into a section called ‘The Sanctuary’, which was the grand finale that revealed the conclusion of The Enchanted Garden Brisbane Story. Here the lights were garish and creative, containing neon jellyfish and an Alice in Wonderland-type garden.

Wandering through ‘The Sanctuary’

One of the highlights for me was standing at the very end of the whole experience, watching the light show work its magic on the forest. It created the effect that the trees were moving. Take a look at my video at the end to check this out.

Overview of ‘The Sanctuary’ at the end of The Enchanted Garden

Food Trucks

As I mentioned earlier, there’s a range of food trucks at the Enchanted Garden Brisbane. Some of these were El Corazon (Mexican), Mobile Woodfired Pizza, Karaage Chicken Fusion, Lydia’s Chargrilled Korean BBQ, Catch and Kiss (fish and chips), Bill’s Burger Bus (which we’ve eaten at before), Gelato & Sorbet and Oh Waffles.

Overview of the Food Trucks and eating space at The Enchanted Garden

El Corazon and Karaage Chicken Fusion

I’ve been wanting to try El Corazon for a while, as I lived in Mexico for six months and generally enjoy Mexican food. I ordered a seafood burrito, which was nice, although I thought it was a tad pricy at $19! You’d get better value at Guzman y Gomez, although I must say, the fish was tasty. However, when we bought a kid’s taco for our 13-year-old, they told us it was made with mince and not pulled beef, which it wasn’t. He didn’t eat it so it was a mixed experience in all.

‘El Corazon’ (the heart)
My fish burrito was tasty, but a tad pricey!

Nikki’s said her teriyaki chicken was just average. A lot of these food trucks make regular appearances around Brisbane so I’m starting a post dedicated solely to these, which I’ll keep updating to let you know what’s good in town.

Karaage Chicken Fusion in full-swing

The Enchanted Bar

Yes, the Enchanted Garden Brisbane even has an Enchanted Pop-Up Bar and an expansive lawn where you can stretch out with your bevy. Drinks include beers, wines, cocktails, mocktails, still and sparkling water, and soft drinks. With the food options included, you could make a night of it here. Or, even just come and enjoy the atmosphere with dinner and drinks without even visiting The Enchanted Garden. That way you could get your dog in on the action, as they’re not allowed inside the event.

How to Get to The Enchanted Garden Brisbane

The Enchanted Garden is located at the bottom of Roma Street Parklands, right by the lake. The good news is, your tickets give you free public transport on the Queensland Rail City Network, as well as the city’s buses (on your night of entry only). There are bus stops in various spots around Roma Street Parklands and Roma Street Station is only a 5–10-minute walk from the Enchanted Garden.

What’s the Best Time to Explore The Enchanted Garden?

The later the better. You can go as early as 6:30pm, when the ticket prices are cheaper, although the light show is obviously not as good as it doesn’t get dark until after 7pm. The Enchanted Garden Brisbane is set up for darkness and to get the full immersive experience, it’s best to go on any session after 6:30pm.

Lining up the for ‘low sensory’ session at 6:30pm

Low sensory sessions

I was really impressed by this, as the Enchanted Garden Brisbane has low sensory sessions for those with sensory challenges. These are the 6:30pm sessions, when it’s not only lighter but all the lights and smoke machines are toned down so as not to overwhelm participants. We booked this experience by accident, as it was the only session on a Wednesday night with tickets left.

The lighting on the ‘low sensory’ session is less intense

So, we got to experience the start of the low sensory session, which we thought was fun until we hung around a bit longer and experienced The Enchanted Garden Brisbane in its full splendour. Quite the difference! The lights and smoke were definitely more intense, and I felt more immersed in the rainforest adventure. Great to have the low-sensory option though.

Additionally, there are quite a few projected animations in The Enchanted Garden Brisbane, which don’t look nearly as effective in daylight. Not trying to make the sensory-challenged jealous, as it’s still a great experience in the low sensory session from what we saw.

Family Friendly and Immersive

The Enchanted Garden Brisbane is super family-friendly, as the story is really aimed at kids. Saying that, adults will love the experience too! (As I did). I saw on numerous occasions kids interacting with the lights, whether they were lazers, swirls on the ground, or an animated parchment (check out the very end of my video for this). Also, you get a map, and the kids look for objects and they’re off on an adventure. The Enchanted Garden is an interactive, immersive experience!

Kids loved this projected scroll animation at the end

How Long Does the Enchanted Garden Take?

In all, the Enchanted Garden Brisbane would take about 40 minutes to walk through in its entirety. We took quite a bit longer as we backtracked after we started on the low-sensory session. Additionally, I was filming/taking photos for this blog and I was certainly getting carried away. However, you could easily do the whole thing in under an hour.

How Much Does the Enchanted Garden Cost?

The Enchanted Garden Costs $9 per person over the age of 13, and $7 for kids aged 3 – 13. I think it’s free for kids under 3. I Couldn’t find any information on that though, so best enquire through the Enchanted Garden Brisbane’s website to clarify this.

What Facilities Are There at the Enchanted Garden Brisbane?

Food trucks, a bar (with alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks), toilets, garbage bins, handrails and drinking fountains are available at The Enchanted Garden Brisbane. However, the food trucks and bar are only accessible outside of the Enchanted Garden (at the entry point).

Food trucks galore outside The Enchanted Garden

Final Thoughts

In case you can’t tell, we loved our experience at the Enchanted Garden Brisbane. I thought Royal Caribbean (the creators of the event) really upped their game this year. I was impressed! The story was tasteful – integrating parts of native Australia – interesting and fun. I’m a visual person and thought the light show was next level. I felt totally immersed in The Enchanted Garden and got lost in wonder at The Cascades section. I also enjoyed the sounds and the staff were super friendly and helpful.

If you miss out this year, make sure you make it for 2024!

A Few Fast Facts

  • The Roma Street Parkland restaurant The Garden Room is open for extended hours while The Enchanted Garden is on.
  • There’s free live music that plays at the Enchanted Garden, but we didn’t see any during our visit.
  • Dogs are not allowed in the show unless they’re service dogs.
  • You can pay $2 extra for your tickets to be eligible for a refund if you might not be able to make the night.
  • The first session for the Enchanted Garden Brisbane is at 6:30pm and the last session is at 9:15pm.
  • The Enchanted Garden is wheelchair-friendly throughout!
  • Bikes and scooters are not allowed on the Enchanted Garden route.
  • The Enchanted Garden will remain open during rain, unless there’s high winds or a storm.

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