Outback Tracks: A Different Day at the Races

Trackside at the races – the crowd roars, the sun shines and the atmosphere excitable. Over the din the race is called and the competitors are off, the yabbies slowly crawling in whichever direction they please. Yep, the yabbies.

When you’re in Outback Queensland you can expect the weird, the wonderful, and the downright best of racing. From yabbies, lizards and chickens, to horses, goats, pigs, sheep, and camels, there is an extensive calendar of uniquely Outback events waiting just for you. Here’s a few of our favourite front runners, how many have you been to?

Goat Racing at the Barcaldine Tree of Knowledge Festival

Event Month: April/May

Location: Barcaldine 

Mention goat racing in the city and they’ll probably think you’ve goat to be joking, but we kid you not! 😉 The Barcaldine Tree of Knowledge Festival is proud to have goat racing as an integral part of its programme each May long weekend. They reckon youngsters (over 10 years old) are just the right size for the goat racing carts, so bring the family and see Barcaldine put the billy back into billy-carting!

Sheep Racing at the Landsborough Flock Ewe Show

Event Month: June

Location: Muttaburra Racecourse

If you’re looking for an authentic Outback-bred event look no further, the Landsborough Flock Ewe Show – commonly known as the Muttaburra Sheep Show – is here. The sheep show has been held almost every year since 1962, usually on the first weekend of June. Featuring sheep and wool competitions, art and craft displays, live entertainment, market stalls and of course, sheep races, Muttaburra is a worthy addition to your calendar.

Camel Racing at the Boulia Camel Races

Event Month: July

Location:  Boulia Showgrounds

There are a few different stops on the camel racing circuit, the most famous perhaps being the town of Boulia. The Boulia Camel Races claim the title of the longest camel race in Australia and this true-blue event has plenty to offer. Aside from the spectacular races, racegoers will find live entertainment, markets, kids entertainment and even a spot of yabby racing to round it all off.

Yabby Racing at the Windorah International Yabby Races

Event Month: August/September

Location: 15 Albert Street, Windorah (Outside the famous Western Star Hotel)

While the yabbies may not be international racers, this is certainly a world-class event. The street outside the Western Star Hotel in Windorah is the place to be on the Wednesday before the Birdsville Races (held the first weekend in September), so saddle up your crawly crustacean and raise money for some great charities in the process.

Horse Racing at the Birdsville Races

Event Month: September

Location:  Birdsville Racetrack & Club

Now no list of racing would be complete without the Melbourne Cup of the Outback, the Birdsville Races. This gathering on the edge of the Simpson Desert occurs annually on the first weekend of September, drawing crowds from near and far. A quintessential Aussie event, the Birdsville Racing Carnival is iconic for a good reason and it will never stop attracting over 7,000 attendees to a town of 100.

Chicken Racing in Tambo

Image via Blackall-Tambo Visitor Information FB

Race Dates: Every night!

Location:  Royal Carrangarra Hotel, Tambo

We’ve found the answer to the age-old question, and can confirm that the chicken crossed the road to get to the pub in Tambo. Ben’s Chicken Racing is as amusing as it sounds, hosted at the Royal Carrangarra Hotel in Tambo. This well-loved event raises funds for local charity and is a clucking good time for the whole family.

Dunny Racing at the Outback Festival  

Event Month: September (held biannually)

Location: Winton 

You heard it right folks. The humble outhouse gets a run in the spotlight with Quilton Australian Dunny Derby at the Outback Festival in Winton. Witness competitors on a roll as they dress up and race it out for the prestigious title of the Fastest Dunny and Best Presented Team and Outhouse. The 200m track includes obstacles courses from picking up the newspaper to cleaning activities, as teams of five push and pull the dunny (with one dunny jockey sitting on his royal throne) to the finish line.  

For a full list of events, head to our Events Calendar.

Want to know what else you can see race in Outback Queensland?