11 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 12 Outback Queensland events that will get you boot skootin’ like a true local.
Roma’s Easter in the Country
When: 29 March – 2 April 2018
What: Celebrate the Easter long weekend differently this year with a five-day celebration of all things country. Roma’s Easter in the Country Festival showcases the history and lifestyle of regional Queensland and offers a range of activities for the thrill-seeker, cultural buff or those who prefer to go with the flow.
Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival
When: 13-15 April 2018
Where: Julia Creek
What: Three days of jam-packed adventure and old-fashioned outback hospitality keeps the droves coming to this small town one weekend a year. The Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival combines a triathlon, bog snorkelling and the Dirt n Dust bull ride. It’s one 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.
Winton’s Way Out West Fest
When:19 – 22 April 2018
What: A stack of out(back)standing Aussie and international musicians will head to Winton for the first-ever Way Out West Fest in April this year. Celebrating the re-opening of Winton’s famous Waltzing Matilda Centre, which was destroyed by fire in 2017, the festival is set to be the biggest inland music and culture festival ever held in Queensland. Leading the lineup is Indigenous singer Jessica Mauboy and Brisbane indie-pop band Sheppard joined by US imports Kip Moore and Lee Brice. The music isn’t the only thing on offer at Way Out West with live entertainment across town, markets, food and more.
Barcaldine Tree of Knowledge Festival
When: 4-7 May 2018
What: Barcaldine (a.k.a. Barcy) is definitely a small town, but when it comes to the Tree of Knowledge Festival, the entire community gets involved. And why not? After all, they are celebrating all that’s great about living in Barcaldine. ICYMI, this town is the historical birthplace of the Australian Labour Party so it makes complete sense for this celebration to happen over the labour day long weekend.
Winton’s Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival
When: 29 June – 7 July 2018
What: Get involved with the first open-air film festival of its kind at The Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival. Spread over 9 glorious days, you can meet the actors, directors and producers behind some of your favourite Aussie films and at night, enjoy their talents on the big screen at the open-air theatre. If you’re a film buff or consider yourself the next George Miller, head to Winton a.k.a ‘Hollywood in the outback’ to pick the brains of the pros and experience a film festival you’ll never forget.
Birdsville Big Red Bash
When: 10-12 July 2018
What: 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 John Farnham, Kate Ceberano and Adam Brand (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.
Boulia Camel Races
When: 20-22 July 2018
What: The Boulia 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.
Cloncurry Stockman’s Challenge & Campdraft
When: 12-15 July 2018
What: Now in its 35th year, the Cloncurry Stockman’s Challenge and Campdraft celebrates the tough and rugged cattle industry. It unites campdrafters, reiners and cutters together to share skills, knowledge and resources. It’s evolved into a benchmark event for young performance horses and the background story to the event is a definite tear-jerker. After her father (Reg Brown) passed away suddenly while uploading cattle, Heather vowed to turn her grief into a fitting memorial for her father and so the Stockman’s Challenge was born.
Mount Isa Mines Rotary Rodeo
When: 9-12 August 2018
Where: Mount Isa
What: This is the BIG one that every cowboy and cowgirl dreams of riding in. It’s non-stop rodeo action – bull riding, saddle bronc, bareback bronc, rope and tie, steer wrestling, team roping, barrel racing and breakaway roping. Polish your boots and grab your Akubra for the Mount Isa Mines Rotary Rodeo – the largest and richest rodeo in the Southern Hemisphere, celebrating 60 years – yeehaw!
When: 31 August – 1 September 2018
What: Affectionately dubbed the ‘Melbourne Cup of the Outback’, the population of Birdsville goes from 100 to 6000 for an epic weekend of racing and entertainment every year. With 13 races to a smattering of events in between (such as Fashions on the Field and Fred Brophy’s Boxing Troupe), be sure to take the pilgrimage to Birdsville for the Birdsville Races, stat. In the meantime, check out more facts about these converted races here.
Blackall Heartland Festival
When: October 2018
What: Kicking off with an epic street party, the Blackall Heartland Festival stretches over 3 days and includes a variety of events from Shearers Breakfasts to Colour Fun Runs. However, the most quirky event of the festival is a must-do. It’s the Ewe Beaut Cheep Races and it’s the place to have a laugh and a flutter. And you can even name a sheep in the race. As far as names go, they’ve have had some doozies in the past; LAMBorghini, RAMbo, BAAArbie are just a few of the best. Think you can come up with something better?
Lake Moondarra Fishing Classic
When: October 2018
Where: Black Rock, Lake Moondarra
What: Beyond the bait and guts, this event is brimming (see what we did there?) with a line-up of family fun and entertainment. From a Dragon Boat Regatta to Beach Volleyball and Yabby Races, the Lake Moondarra Fishing Classic has a little something for everyone. However, the serious fishers will love reeling in trophy-worthy native fish from Barra to Sleepy Cod. And, the highlight of the event is the Casting Competitions, so bring your rods and a competitive spirit.