After reading Cass’ guide on what can and can’t be brought in to the footy, I was left wondering what exactly can you bring in to the Gabba and what you can’t. I did a bit of digging and put this guide together for anyone confused by what food, drink, and personal belongings can be brought with them when watching a game at the Gabba.
In summary, home made food, small personal quantities of soft drink or water, and soft backpacks can be brought in to the Gabba. The rules prohibit anyone bringing in alcohol, commercial takeaway food, aerosol cans, and items that might injure or inconvenience others.
Some examples of items that are OK or NOT OK to bring in to the Gabba:
|Sausage roll (home-made)||OK|
|Bottle of water (less than 1.25l)||OK|
|Soft drink can||NOT OK|
|Sunscreen in spray can||NOT OK|
|Sunscreen in pump bottle||OK|
|Backpack (small one)||OK|
I’ve included further details for all these examples below, including what food, drink, and bags you can and cannot bring in to the Gabba. I’ve also included a list of items the Gabba doesn’t let you bring in.
Food made at home can be brought in to the Gabba. This includes home-made sandwiches, cakes, muffins, biscuits, pies, and sausage rolls for example. There are no restrictions on the wrapping or container that you put the food in – lunchboxes and foil wrap are OK. Bags can’t be too big, I’ve gone into further details on this below.
Takeaway and fast food cannot be brought in to the Gabba. A pizza, McDonalds, and other commercially cooked food cannot be brought in.
Lollies, chips and biscuits can be brought in if it’s a small personal quantity. Baby food can be brought in as well. Fruit can be brought in to the Gabba too, as can any food that you need for special dietary requirements such as allergies.
I’ve found the Woolloongabba Coles near the bus station to be a good option if you’re looking to pick up some snacks before the game. If you’re crossing over Stanley Street from the bus station you can see the Coles sign marking the way.
Buying food inside the Gabba typically costs between $5 and $12. Some examples of food you can buy inside include:
- Meat pie, $5
- Chips, $5.90
- Chicken pizza, $12
Soft drink can be brought in to the Gabba if it’s in a plastic bottle up to 600ml in size. Sports drinks come under this rule as well.
Water can be brought into the Gabba and water bottles get a larger limit of up to 1.25 litres. While it’s not stated I found that water bottles should be plastic rather than glass (though it’s not often I find a glass water bottle over 1 litre big anyway).
Cans and glass bottles cannot be brought in to the Gabba, even if they contain soft drinks. Drinks in cans or glass bottles, or drinks larger than the limits above, can be stored in the cloak room.
A thermos of tea, coffee, or soup can be brought in to the Gabba. It may be checked on the way in to make sure there is no alcohol inside.
Alcoholic drinks cannot be brought in to the Gabba. Alcohol purchased at the Gabba must also be drunk there.
Backpacks and Bags
Soft bags can be brought in to the Gabba. The maximum dimensions are 40cm wide, 40cm high, and 40cm deep. Bags include backpacks, baby bags, ladies handbags and gentleman’s satchels. Soft means that it’s pliable – the bag can be bent or folded.
Eskys do not appear to be allowed in to the Gabba. Soft insulated bags are allowed however, if they fit within the size dimensions above.
Any bag not meeting the above criteria can be checked in to a cloak room (see below for more details).
Sunscreen in an aerosol spray cannot be brought in to the Gabba. Pump bottles and tubes of sunscreen are allowed to be brought in instead. No aerosol cans are allowed to be brought in.
An umbrella can be brought in to the Gabba as long as it isn’t opened up during play. There are no other restrictions for umbrellas.
Small cameras, such as on smartphones, can be brought in to the Gabba. If your camera has a big lens, greater than 200mm, you can’t bring it to a footy game at the Gabba. For cricket games, this isn’t a fixed rule, though it may still apply.
Commercial use film and audio recording equipment cannot be brought in. This includes camera tripods/monopods and large lenses (greater than 200mm in focal strength).
Strollers for children may be brought in if it can be folded to fit under your seat. I’ve never tried to bring one in myself, but apparently if it doesn’t fit, you can store it in the cloak room for free. Baby food can be brought in.
What happens if I try to bring in prohibited items?
A cloak room is available at the Gabba to take care of large items that cannot be stowed away. The cloak room is available at the Gate 2, 4, 5, 7, and 9 Match Offices. Some examples of items that can be cloaked include large bags, large quantities of drinks, and prohibited camera equipment.
Alternatively, items that cannot be brought in can be thrown in the bin.
List of what NOT to bring in
Things you can’t bring in to the Gabba include:
- Glass bottles
- Canned drinks
- Large bottles of drink (don’t bring in anything over 600ml)
- Hard eskys (stick to soft bags insulated bags instead)
- Aerosol cans (including sunscreen – spray sunscreen cannot be brought in, stick to pump or squeeze tubes)
- Streamers, confetti
- Flag poles greater than 1.5m in length and 2cm in diameter
- Musical instruments
- Weapons, flares, and fireworks
- Commercially cooked food
There is a very extensive list on the Gabba’s website here.
I found the Gabba to be reasonable when it comes to bringing in food, drinks, backpacks, and other items. There were a lot of rules to sort through, but overall I found it a case of “don’t do anything that could annoy the people around you”.
To bring in food: Make it at home and bring it with you (e.g. sandwiches) or pick up some snacks on the way in (e.g. Woolloongabba Coles)
To bring in drink: Make sure it’s in a sealed plastic bottle when you enter, and the bottle is no bigger than 600ml (soft drink) or 1.25l (water)
To bring in bags: Make sure they’re no bigger than 40cm high – 40cm wide – 40 cm deep. The bag needs to be pliable as well (i.e. can be bent or folded).
I want this guide to be as accurate and helpful as possible. Here’s the list of references I used in putting it together:
- Terms and conditions of entry to The Gabba
- The Gabba’s frequently asked questions list
- Extra conditions of entry for the footy, as published by the AFL. There isn’t much extra in here, mostly a few more rules on filming and cameras.
- A guide my mate Cass put together listing the rules on what can and can’t be brought in to each footy venue around the country.
It’s been a few years since Chris went to the Gabba – apparently the price of beer has gone up since then! He’s still looking forward to checking in again soon.