10 must-dos at the Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival
Once a year the quiet north outback Queensland town of Julia Creek grows in population from 400 to 3000 for a weekend like no other.
Boasting a reputation as a festival for the tough and the wacky, the Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival is one for the bucket list. From a hardcore strength defying feat to a butt wiggling dance off, there’s a lot to see and do.
So if you’re heading to Julia Creek in April, we’ve hand-picked 10 things you should do at this year’s festival to make it unforgettable.
1. Participate in one of Australia’s toughest triathlons
Triathletes regard it as the toughest of the tough. While just an 800m swim, 25km ride and 5km run, the harsh outback environment means the Cannington Dirt n Dust Triathlon is no picnic.
Emerging from a creek the colour of chocolate milk, entrants take to their bikes for the tough cycle along a barren stretch of the Flinders Highway before cheering crowds guide them home in the final sprint through town.
Designed to test competitors’ true outback Queensland style, the triathlon is a must do on anyone’s challenge bucket list. From the dust to the heat, to the flies and the wind – it’s a feat like no other.
2. Attend a live music concert
The Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival knows how to throw a concert, with festival goers ripping it up on the dancefloor at the Dirt n Dust stage on the Friday and Saturday night. Attracting the likes of Mick Lindsay and Troy Cassar-Daley, it’s the place to be to let your hair down, breathe in the outback air, and boogy all night long to some country tunes.
3. Sit on the edge of your seat at the Rodeo
Eight seconds lasts a lifetime when you’re holding on to a great big hulking bull, and these riders are filled with pure adrenaline for every second of it. With a chance at winning $8000 at the PBR sanctioned event, the spectators are just as invested in the riders lasting for that final second until the siren blares to cheer on the cowboys as they thrust their hat into the air in pride.
4. Dress up and go to the Races
They don’t call it Dirt n Dust for nothing; replacing a grass field with clouds of dust, the Artesian Express is a horse race with an outback twist. This family event attracts men, women and kids to the Redclaw Luncheon, Fashion on the Fields, and the Artesan Express horse races. With a dedicated kids entertainment area, the grownups can easily enjoy a bet and a beverage or strut it out to be named the most fashionable.
5. Taste the Outback Delicacies
What do you get when you team dirt n dust with the outback version of surf n turf? A deliciously good time of course. Feasting on an outback classic of Redclaw and beef while taking in the view of the festival – yes please!
6. Wiggle your behind in Australia’s best butt competition
You won’t have to wrangle me to get to Australia’s best butt competition, which showcases the finest country behinds. Men and women pull on those jeans, accessorise with a trusty belt, and wiggle and jiggle those wrangler butts in the hope of being named Australia’s best butt.
This ingenious competition stemmed from a power outage during a live music set at a previous Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival. When the going got tough, Julia Creek festival goers did what they do best – made the most of the situation and threw a butt dancing competition!
7. Get muddy in the Bog Challenge
hen you’re bit of a drive (as in a long way away) to the beach but you own a snorkel, what do you do? Begin a bog snorkelling competition, duhh!
Now a full-on challenge, the event attracts hundreds of people signing up to try one of the weirdest and most outrageous activities at the festival. Contestants must blindly swim through a muddy bog (with only the use of a snorkel) as well as complete a number of wacky tasks such as the “crumbed sausage” – intrigued?
8. Take part in novelty events
The Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival is full of quirky events that will keep surprising you in their level of crazy. Bet on a yabby race, try your hand at fly swatting, or see how tough your stomach is and participate in cow pat throwing. They aren’t kidding!
9. Have a chat with a local
There is something about the people in outback Queensland, their sense of community is contagious. To truly experience the outback, have a yarn with a Julia Creek local and enjoy the classic friendly outback hospitality that will bring out your true country gal or guy.
10. Road trip it to the festival
The journey is just as good as the destination in this case, and the trip from the east coast of Queensland to the north-west is one for the photo album. From lush greenery fringing the creeks to bird-lined lakes that reflect the clear blue sky onto an otherwise orange landscape, it’s not your typical outback road scenery. Definite pit stops include Mount Isa, Lake Moondarra, and Adels Grove Creek Crossing.
Turn your trip to Julia Creek into an epic outback adventure with this handy itinerary.