Everything you need to know about the Winton Outback Festival

Put Winton in your GPS for 19 – 23 September and get to know the Winton Outback Festival with this guide.

Is there anything quirkier than a race that has someone sitting on a makeshift outhouse, AKA dunny, and being dragged around a 200m obstacle course? Australia thinks not.

The Winton Outback Festival is Australia’s quirkiest event featuring 5 days of quintessential fun held during the September school holidays (every second year). The biennial event sees the tiny town swell with families and Australian outback lovers in the heart of Outback Queensland.

In this true celebration of all things outback, the program features action-packed days with warm country hospitality and nightly live entertainment. The Quilton Australian Dunny Derby is the festival’s signature event; while True Blue Aussie Sports, a swag of novelty events and bush poets breakfasts are some of long running hot favourites.

Put Winton in your GPS for September and get to know the Winton Outback Festival with this guide.

How to get there

Planes, trains and automobiles isn’t just a famous Steve Martin movie from the 1980s, it’s also how you can travel the 1,350 kilometres from Brisbane to Winton.

For those who like to collect Frequent Flyer miles, book a QantasLink flight from Brisbane to Longreach and collect a hire car to travel the remaining one–hour drive to Winton, or touchdown five kilometres from town with Regional Express via Townsville.

Board the Spirit of the Outback to let Queensland Rail be your designated driver and take in the changing scenery as you ride the rails to Longreach before transferring by bus to the Australia’s Dinosaur Capital.

You’ll want to pack the UNO or ensure the devices are fully loaded to keep the family entertained during the 26-hour journey.

If you prefer to hit the tarmac, jump on a Greyhound coach service for a fuss-free 21–hour ride from Brisbane to Winton, or pack the troops in the car or caravan.

There’s more than one road to Winton, so get in the know with which drive routes to take here.

What to eat

Winton may be red dirt territory, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a barista-made coffee or eggs benny. Grab the family and fuel your day ahead at the Musical Fence, Tuckerbox Café, Lost Poet or Balamara Bakery.

Winton is a four-pub town so find a table or bar stool and sit down to a classic pub meal from the Tatt’s Hotel, Australian, Winton Hotel or Winton’s most iconic establishment, The North Gregory.

For a no-fuss grab and go option, food vendors will be set up in the entertainment precincts, serving up everything from wood-fired pizza, fish and chips, and schnitzels to soft-serve ice cream.

Where to sleep

Stake your claim at a campground, book a pre-pitched tent, BYO hotel on wheels or check-in to a four-walled establishment.

If your style is to travel light (read: just yourself and your personal possessions), book a spot at Tent City for a safari-style camping experience complete with elevated camp bed, quality linen and outdoor entertaining space. Turn up, unpack and settle in – you’re #sorted.

Got all the gear? Set up your home away from home at the Winton Showgrounds with all-day free festival shuttle transfers. Alternatively, take your pick from the camping and caravan parks in Winton.

Prefer a room with solid foundations and all the mod cons including air-conditioning? Winton has you covered with cabins, motels and a four-star hotel.

What to see

Is it even an outback festival if there aren’t quirky outback sports on the program? The whole family can test their handling skills with the bushman’s egg throwing, wool bale rolling and outback whip cracking championships.

For the adults the all-day True Blue Aussie Sports will see competition across Winton’s watering holes including marbles, darts, cow pat discus and the Troo Bloo Roo Poo finale.

Sports fans can battle it out in the Outback Iron Man, Woman, and Juniors for the title of the toughest in the region. While the Century Cycle Challenge, Adventure Trail Run and strongman events also come with the strength and stamina bragging rights.

Clear your schedule for the not-to-be-missed signature Quilton Australian Dunny Derby, as teams from across Australia (and the world) fight for title of the golden throne and over $5,000 in prize money and trophies in this ‘Only in Australia’ event.

Find the full program here to start planning your festival experience.

What to wear

The Winton Outback Festival is held at the start of spring, expect warm days and cool nights, so pack a jumper, sunscreen and a hat (read: Akubra) to protect you from all possible weather elements.

If you’re planning to attend the Sunset Extravaganza Dinner, pack your bowtie and some bling for this three-course dinner under the outback stars and if you plan on getting into the festival spirit throughout the week, bring a fancy-dress outfit (or two).

Whip out to Winton 19 – 23 September 2023. Book your camping + tickets via outbackfestival.com.au.