8 outback events that’ll make you ‘true blue’
Forget crowded indoor music performances where you have to dress up in stiff suits and frilly frocks. Grab ya boots, your sense of adventure, and head outback!
You’ll find an event utopia where there are no queues to grab a beer, plenty of chairs to relax in, and no risk of falling asleep between acts. We’ve pulled together the Top 8 Outback Queensland events that will get you boot skootin’ like a true local.
The Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival | Winton
23 June – 2 July, 2017
Get involved with the first open-air film festival of its kind at The Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival. Spread over 10 glorious days, you can watch most of the 50 films, which celebrate our true blue Aussie culture, under the stars of the outback night sky.
Cape York Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival | Laura
30 June – 2 July, 2017
It’s been 40,000 years in the making, but Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival is an Eisteddfod like no other – celebrating the oldest living culture in the world in one of the largest gatherings of Australia’s indigenous communities. Staged in the town of Laura, situated on the Cape York Peninsula, this biennial gathering draws 5,000 people from across Australia and up to 500 performers. The dust flies, the dance begins, and all you’ll hear is the roar of the dance troupes as they bring ancient stories to spectacular life.
Big Red Bash | Birdsville
4-6 July, 2017
Looking for Australia’s ultimate outdoor music venue? Grab your camping gear and get set to enjoy performances from some of the country’s biggest music legends like Missy Higgins, James Reyne, Mark Seymour and Lee Kernaghan (just to name a few) at the Big Red Bash. Did we mention the gig is held from the top of the biggest sand dune in the Simpson Desert (aka Big Red)? If the thought of listening to Aussie ballads under the stars of the Southern Cross, with your feet in the red earth, doesn’t make you proud, nothing will.
Bedourie Camel Races & Camp Oven Cook-Off | Bedourie
8 July, 2017
The Bedourie Camel Races are about as far removed from your fashions-on-the-field racetrack experience as you can get. These original ships of the desert can be cheeky buggers as they fly around the dirt track with their brave riders holding on tight. After a day on the track, dive into some delicious outback tucker that would make your nanna jealous. Don’t be scared, the camp oven cook-off isn’t the charcoal remains from dad’s BBQ – you’ll see feasts prepared the outback way that would put any master chef to shame and leave you salivating for more.
Gemfest | Sapphire Gemfields
10-13 August, 2017
Head out west and celebrate the 30th anniversary of Australia’s premiere gem event, Gemfest. Located in Central Queensland, home of the Southern Hemispheres largest gem field, this four day festival celebrates all that shimmers – from diamonds, pearls, opals, zircons and sapphires. Thousands travel far and wide for the infamous gems and jewellery on sale and to also enjoy displays, exhibitions, music and live performances that sparkle in Outback Queensland. Try your luck and see if you can strike it rich at one of the few places in the world where you can fossick for your own family heirloom!
The Mount Isa Mines Rotary Rodeo | Mount Isa
11-13 August, 2017
This is the BIG one that every cowboy and cowgirl dreams of riding in. Polish your boots and grab your Akubra for the Mount Isa Mines Rotary Rodeo – the largest and richest rodeo in the Southern Hemisphere.
Birdsville Races | Birdsville
1-2 September, 2017
The Birdsville Races, or the ‘Melbourne Cup of the Outback’, is a two-day race that attracts over 7,000 people to the outback town of Birdsville. Frock up or get creative and watch the race that stops the outback!
Julia Creek Dirt ‘n Dust Festival | Julia Creek
Three days of jam-packed adventure and old-fashioned outback hospitality keeps the droves coming to the small town of Julia Creek one weekend a year. The Julia Creek Dirt ‘n Dust Festival combines a triathlon, bog snorkelling and the Dirt n Dust bull ride, this is an event where the gutsy need only apply. Be sure to take in the iconic Red Claw Luncheon where punters are treated to locally-farmed red claw or for the cheekier of the bunch get on board with Australia’s Best Butt competition.