14 must-do summer events in Queensland
Things are getting hot hot hot in Queensland, and I’m not just referring to the heat (or Arrow’s ’80s hit).
As well as looong days of sunshine (bless you, summer), this season brings with it a stellar line-up of events, from world-class sporting tournaments and food festivals to our own version of Burning Man.
Pencil in these must-do summer events and end 2016/start 2017 like you mean it.
Australian PGA Championship: 1-4 December 2016
Kick off summer in full swing at the Australia PGA Championship on the Gold Coast. Anyone who’s serious about their golf need no introduction to some of the world’s best professional players who’ll be competing for the Kirkwood Cup, including Aussies Chris Duke and Marc Leishman.
But as impressive as the sporting lineup might be, only two words seem to stand out in my eyes…. Shannon Noll. Yep, Australia’s favourite Australian Idol runner-up will be performing live Saturday 3 December in the Tournament Village. You’re welcome.
Queensland Ballet’s The Nutcracker: 9-23 December 2016
Due to popular demand, extra performances of the much-loved Christmas production of The Nutcracker were released ahead of this seasonal favourite at Brisbane’s QPAC. But you won’t want to wait any longer to book your tickets because seats are selling out faster than a T-Swift concert.
Commonwealth Bank Day-Night Test: 15-19 December 2016
There are few events on the Australian sporting calendar that evoke as much passion (and patience) as test cricket, and this year’s Commonwealth Bank Test is one that will go down in Queensland history as Australia meets Pakistan in Brisbane’s first Day-Night Test.
Woodford Folk Festival: 27 December 2016 – 1 January 2017
Round up the kids and ring in the new year at one of the most magical events in the country. We’re talking fairies, fire ceremonies, prayers for world peace led by Tibetan monks, and some big-name international and local acts in music and entertainment, including Buffy Sainte-Marie, Paul Kelly, Montaigne, Gang of Youths, and Australia’s favourite science guru, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki.
Brisbane International: 1-8 January 2017
Start 2017 with a bang (or should I say a grand slam) at the Brisbane International. This year is set to be another nail-biting event, with 14-time champion Rafael Nadal returning to the Pat Rafter Arena to headline the men’s field, while world #1 Angelique Kerber will be charging the ladies.
Magic Millions: 6-17 January 2017
Girls, sort out your fascinators stat, because the The Magic Millions January Carnival on the Gold Coast is just around the corner. Starting with the flaghsip Yearling Sale on Friday 6 January showcasing world-class thoroughbreds, then the celebrations continue with the Pacific Fair Polo on Sunday 8 January, topped off by the jewel crown of equine events, Australia’s first $10 Million Raceday.
Ginger Food and Flower Festival: 20-22 January 2017
Foodie and garden lovers will be in sensory heaven at the Sunshine Coast’s Ginger Food and Flower Festival, with three jam-packed days of informative garden talks and cooking workshops, a showcase of Australia’s most extensive range of ornamental gingers and heliconias, and over 3000 plants to snap up for yourself *squeal*.
Goldfield Ashes: 20-22 January 2017
It might not be in the same league as the big gun cricket comps, but here in Australia, the Goldfield Ashes are just as famed. Join 250 cricket teams as they go bat-to-bat at the largest amateur cricket carnival in the southern hemisphere, running over three days across 58 playing fields in Charters Towers.
Burleigh Pro: 26-29 January 2017
Burleigh Heads over the Australia Day long weekend? Hell yeah. But combine your stay with the four-day Burleigh Pro, where some of the best surfers in the world will be battling it out for the valuable World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series, and you’ve got a long weekend of heart-pumping beach entertainment to boot.
E&E Waste Hell of the West Triathlon: 5 February 2017
Now I’m no athlete, but I’m pretty sure triathlons are hard work. Throw in temperatures of up to 38 degrees Celsius, and you’ve got hell. Hell of the West that is, one of the toughest long-course tri’s in the state.
Held out in the country town of Goondiwindi, the event is a must for any triathlete’s bucket list, and if you’ve got your eye on the Ironman title, it serves as the perfect training ground.
Sand Safari Arts Festival: 10-26 February 2016
Fun in the sun is taken to nek-level at the annual Sand Safari Arts Festival on the Gold Coast. Running over three weeks, the free event will have kids (and big kids) giddy with excitement as you follow the trail of life-sized sand and sea-inspired sculptures adorning the Surfers Paradise foreshore.
Also keep an eye out for colossal artworks popping up in random places like hotel lobbies, libraries and shopping centres all the way down to Tweed Heads.
The Brisbane Global Tens: 11-12 February 2017
Rugby fans, prepare for your nirvana, as more than 300 of the world’s top players representing 14 clubs from six countries descend upon Suncorp Stadium in the fast-paced, two-day knockout tournament, The Brisbane Global Tens.
Chinchilla Melon Festival: 16-19 February 2017
What better celebration of summer could there be than one which honours one of the world’s most beloved summer fruits?
The Chinchilla Melon Festival is one massive green and pink-fuelled long weekend celebrating all things melon, with melon skiing, melon bungee, pip spitting and so many more weird but ridiculously fun fruit-themed activities on the menu.
Have a Go! Festival: 25 February 2016
Think blacksmithing and wheelwrighting are a thing of the past? Nuh-uh! Discover a whole range of traditional trades, skills and crafts – from rustic furniture making to airbrush art and quilting – at Cobb and Co’s Have A Go! Festival in Toowoomba.
Not only will you meet the artisans who still practise these trades, but as the name suggests, you can have a go and learn something new/old yourself!