It’s no secret Outback Queensland loves a good event. Whether we’re dressing in drag, cheering on cowboys, dashing with dunnies, or willing any and all of the local wildlife on in an unmissable race for glory (be it camels, pigs, horses, yabbies, goats, and more!) With its spectacular backdrops, rich history, creative characters and loads of personality, Outback Queensland is the perfect place to escape to an event like none you’ve been to before. So pop these events on your calendar and plan your Outback getaway in 2016.
Event: Barcaldine Tree of Knowledge Festival
When & Where: 29th April to 2nd May, 2016 – Barcaldine
Great Reason to Go: Barcaldine’s May Day March and Procession, featuring a fabulous array of floats parading through town as part of this incredible community event.
Even Better Reason to Go: Australia’s Richest Goat Races – local kids harness up for the feature race of the year, where they tickle goats tails and pluck at hairy goats legs in a nail-biting race to see who gets across the finish line first.
While you’re there: Barcaldine is a top place to spend a few days, with five true-blue pubs on the main street as well as an eclectic mix of modern and historical buildings. Check out the Tree of Knowledge, the historical site of the 1891 Shearers’ Strike, and the Australian Workers Heritage Centre a unique attraction which celebrates the achievements of the working men and women of Australia. Both are key to the history of Barcaldine and have helped shape Australia into the country it is today.
More info: www.treeofknowledge.com.au
A festival perfect for the whole family.
Event: Big Red Bash
When & Where: 4th July to 6th July, 2016 – Birdsville
Great Reason to Go: 3 days and nights of music featuring iconic Australian Artists Jimmy Barnes and Paul Kelly.
Even Better Reason to Go: It’s not just about the music. It’s about meeting new people, enjoying their company and learning about their journeys. It’s about freedom, getting some red dirt on your feet, kicking back and relaxing and soaking up the festive vibe and campsite camaraderie.
While you’re there: Watch a sunset from the top of Big Red, get lost in the Munga-Thirri National Park, try a camel pie at the Birdsville Bakery and shout a round at the Birdsville Hotel.
More info: www.bigredbash.com.au
Event: Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival
When & Where: 15th April to 17th April, 2016 – Julia Creek
Great Reason to Go: Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Triathlon. It mightn’t be the longest triathlon in Australia, but it sure is one of the toughest. Starting with an 800m swim through muddy water and thick reeds, followed by a 25km bike ride into a strong headwind, and finally a 5km run. With temperatures close to 40 degrees, the bitumen is hot, the creek water is warm, and the wind pushes you backwards – draining you mentally as well as physically. So why not give it a go!
Even Better Reason to Go: Australia’s Best Butt Competition where you can compete for the ultimate title, or sit back, enjoy the show and vote to help decide who wins the supreme glory and title for 2016. An outrageous battle of booty wiggling and bottom jiggling!
While you’re there: Make your first stop ‘At the Creek’, Julia Creek’s award winning Visitor Information centre. Your outback mates can point you in the direction of local museums, historical walks and day trips so you can see more of this incredible area.
More info: www.dirtndust.com
Don’t try this at home kids!
Event: Mitchell Show
When & Where: 9th May to 10th May 2016 – Mitchell
Great Reason to Go: A classic Aussie agricultural show, featuring Miss Showgirl, arts and crafts, equestrian events, and more.
Even Better Reason to Go: This year is the 100th annual Mitchell show – which means if the Mitchell Show was a person, it would be receiving a letter from Queen Lizzie. It can’t get much more special than that.
While you’re there: Mitchell is known as the Gateway to the Outback. Visit the Mount Moffatt Section of Carnarvon National Park before relaxing and rejuvenating with a soak in the Great Artesian Spa.
More info: https://www.facebook.com/Mitchell-Show-371869312837548/
Event: Roma Easter in the Country
When & Where: 24th March to 28th March – Roma
Great Reason to Go: 4 days celebrating everything that’s great about the country! Rodeo, music, billy cart races, art exhibitions, easter egg hunts, train rides, car rallies, street markets, parades and buskers.
Even Better Reason to Go: Wife Carrying Races. Yes that’s right! The man carries a woman (preferably his wife) over an obstacle course for the chance to win his wife’s weight in beer. This sport demands equal measures of humour and fortitude and is a must-see for any serious sports fanatic.
While you’re there: Every Tuesday and Thursday, witness the excitement born from the sale of up to 13,000 cattle at the Roma Saleyards; the largest cattle sales centre in the southern hemisphere. Roma is also the original birth place of the Oil and Gas Industry in Australia. Take an interactive journey through the history of oil and gas in the region at The Big Rig.
More info: http://www.easterinthecountryroma.com.au/
Be sure to laugh and listen in on the Bush Poet’s Breakfast.
Event: Ten Days in the Towers
When & Where: 22nd April to 2nd May, 2016 – Charters Towers
Great Reason to Go: Two country music festivals in two days! The All Australian Jamboree and Charters Towers Country Music Festival.
Even Better Reason to Go: All of the activities in between – line dancing, bush poetry, talent quests and historic tours. 10 days of action in the Towers not to be missed.
While you’re there: Charters Towers is a scenic gold mining city that’s big on history and character. From a quick stop over to a charming day trip or a leisurely couple of days taking in the sights, Charters Towers offers something for every visitor and every interest.
More info: www.tendays.com.au
Event: Augathella Easter Diggers Rodeo & Races
When & Where: 25th March to 27th March, 2016 – Augathella
Great Reason to Go: Get dolled up for a true blue Outback race meeting.
Even Better Reason to Go: Get dolled up again for a true blue Outback Rodeo.
While you’re there: What’s there not to see? Wrought iron sculptures, heritage photo display, murals, plus a super impressive meat ant sculpture that pays tribute to the local footy team.
Augathella is famous for its colourful history of bushrangers, bullockies and bullock teams who camped along the Warrego River.
Event: Cully Fest
When & Where: 31st March to 3rd April, 2016 – Cunnamulla
Great Reason to Go: Music, art, food, gardening and more.
Even Better Reason to Go: Kids = entertained. Storytelling, kite making, clown and balloon workshops, chalk street art, dance workshops, jumping castle, face and body painting, sandboarding, animal farm, little squirt, dig for a fossil, laser tag a fairy wonderland and more.
While you’re there: Cunnamulla is home to the Artesian Time Tunnel & Cultural Theatre, where you can take a trip back in time and hear the story on the Great Artesian Basin which flows beneath 1/5 of Australia and is the life blood of the Outback. Enjoy the great outdoors on the Warrego River –Go kayaking, book a Sunset River Cruise, chuck a line in or snap some picturesque shots of the river banks and floodplains as you stroll around the River Walk.
More info: www.cullyfest.com
Event: Music in the Mulga
When & Where: 12th May, 2016 – Eulo
Great Reason to Go: Wrap your ears around an all-star line-up including Simply Bushed, Tania Kernaghan and Jonny Taylor from Australia’s Got Talent.
Even Better Reason to Go: Wrap your taste buds around the Celebrity Camp Oven Cook off!
While you’re there: Check out the megafauna in the Eromanga Natural History Museum, then have a mega-relax, soaking up the mega-goodness of the Artesian Mud Baths.
More info: www.musicinthemulga.com.au
Come in and join the crowd.
Event: Porcupine Gorge Challenge
When & Where: 18th June to 19th June, 2016 – 74km north of Hughenden
Great Reason to Go: The Race! A challenging course with categories including open mens, open ladies, plus under 16 and under 12 boys and girls. The Rydweld Porcupine Gorge Challenge held on Saturday with the Mount Walker Fun Run held on Sunday.
Even Better Reason to Go: The Views. Porcupine Gorge is an impressive canyon featuring towering sandstone cliffs and lush vine-forest fringing Porcupine Creek and provide a striking contrast with surrounding flat plains. But don’t take our word for it!
While you’re there: Hughenden has plenty to do! Explore the four national parks, visit “Hughie” the seven metre-tall Muttaburrasaurus, and the impressive fossil collection at the Flinders Discovery Centre.
More info: http://www.porcupinegorgechallenge.com.au/
Event: Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival
When & Where: 24th June to 2nd July, 2016 – Winton
Great Reason to Go: 9 days, 30 films, 1000 scenes. It’s Australia’s answer to the Sundance Film Festival, celebrating
Australian film and culture under the stars of Winton in Outback Queensland.
Even Better Reason to Go: The conversations, yarns, masterclasses, film making competitions, tag-a-long tours and social activities.
While you’re there: Take a trip to Lark Quarry Conservation Park to experience the tale of hunter and hunted with the world’s only recorded evidence of a dinosaur stampede. Then tour the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum to see a real dinosaur laboratory in action and meet the prehistoric giants, including ‘Banjo’ – Australia’s most significant and complete carnivorous dinosaur.
More info: www.visionsplendidfilmfest.com
Cameras here, cameras there. You can’t miss the action!
Event: Charters Towers Restorer’s Motor Show & Swap Meet
When & Where: 11th June to 13th June, 2016 – Charters Towers
Great Reason to Go: The swap sites, the demos, the displays and more. If you love vintage and restored cars, you can’t miss weekend.
Even Better Reason to Go: Go to Whoa – easily the most popular event of the weekend. The aim of this driving event is to get from the starting line (GO) to the finish line (WHOA) as quickly and safely as you can, stopping the front tyres exactly on the finishing line.
While you’re there: Charters Towers has more than history than just the gold rush. Once a significant allied military base in World War II, with a drive up Towers Hill you can see some 30 concrete bunkers dotted throughout the surrounding hills. For more information, check out the City Hall World War II photographic display and the incredible collection of military memorabilia at the Zara Clark Museum.
More info: http://www.ctrc.com.au/
What a beauty!
These events are just a small snapshot of the full Outback Queensland calendar. Whether you’re looking for something unique to do as you road-trip down outback trails, or jump on a bus, train or plane and make a bee-line for one of these festivals, we can guarantee one thing – you won’t be disappointed.
Outback Queensland events – come for the event, stay for an adventure!