13 unmissable Outback Queensland events
They say the journey is more important than the destination. But when it comes to travelling to Outback Queensland events, passing quaint country towns and rugged, never-ending landscapes to arrive at at event like nothing you’ve attended before – the weighting is pretty even.
Picture music festivals that transform tiny towns, cracking a drive down a fairway for your chance to win $1 million, or sitting in an open-air cinema under the Milky Way on the opening night of a film festival.
She’s a big region, alright. So, we’ve done the hard yards and rounded up 13 unmissable Outback Queensland events to add to your calendar.
Roma’s Easter in the Country
Celebrating its 40th year in 2020, Roma’s Easter in the Country is a five-day celebration of all things country. Showcasing the history and lifestyle of the region, the event is wonderfully diverse and perfect for a family getaway in the country offering activities for the thrill-seeker, cultural buff or those who prefer to go with the flow.
When: 9-13 April 2020
Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival
Three days of jam-packed adventure and old-fashioned Outback hospitality keep the droves coming to this small town that swells from 300 to 3,000 each year for the Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival.
See the gutsy compete in the outback triathlon, back a winner at the Artesian Express Outback Horse Races, kick on with nightly outdoor concerts or check out the spectacular Dirt n Dust Bullride, sanctioned by PBR.
Whatever you do, be sure to book a seat at the iconic Country Tastes Luncheon. It takes place at the Robert Lord Shed for incredibly fresh, locally-farmed red claw.
When: 17-19 April 2020
Outback Queensland Masters
Playing a round of golf in the Outback is an experience. The greens aren’t always green, water hazards are extremely rare and there’s an abundance of kangaroos and emus to tip your Akubra to.
And that’s the beauty of the Outback Queensland Masters. It’s a whole new challenge for serious and not-so-serious golfers.
When the clubs are put away for the day, the entertainment begins, with the likes of Busby Marou, Melinda Schneider, The 7 Sopranos, The Bushwackers and Catherine Alcorn all performing during the 2019 event.
When: 20 June – 26 July 2020
Winton’s Way Out West Fest
Winton is set to beat to the drum of legendary Australian and Intentional acts once again for the Way Out West Fest in April.
The inaugural event celebrated the re-opening of Winton’s famous Waltzing Matilda Centre. However since then, the festival has boomed in its own right with the 2019 lineup including Amy Shark, Brett Eldredge, Jon Pardi and Missy Higgins.
When: April 2020
Winton’s Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival
Imagine sitting in a 100 year old open-air cinema, under the Milky Way with a box full of popcorn, watching the premier of a locally-shot film.
Winton’s Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival provides you with just that and plenty more. A nine-day program combines master class luncheons with Australian film heavyweights, week-long live entertainment and tours of Winton’s film locations.
The main event is the opening night that begins with an outdoors screening of one of Australia’s finest new films, followed by the official after party at the historic North Gregory Hotel where you can brush shoulders with the film’s stars and creators.
When: 26 June – 4 July 2020
Half Way there – Charleville Shindig
If you’re heading to the Big Red Bash (keep reading below if you’re not yet) Charleville will most likely be pinned on your map already. But to make the most of your road trip, time your journey to perfection and be in town on 26-27 June for the aptly-named Half Way There Charleville shindig.
A street party at its core, Charleville will be pulsing with live music, food trucks and a bunch of like-minded people on their way to Big Red.
When: 26-27 June 2020
Birdsville Big Red Bash
Looking for Australia’s ultimate outdoor music venue? Grab your camping gear and get set to enjoy performances from rock royalty including Paul Kelly, Ian Moss and Tim Finn at the Big Red Bash.
Did we mention the gig is the most remote music festival in the world, held at the base of the biggest sand dune in the Munga-Thirri National Park, or Simpson Desert, a.k.a Big Red?
Rock classics under the stars, with your feet in the red earth – it’s a music festival like none other.
When: 7-9 July 2020
Boulia Camel Races
The Boulia Camel Races are pretty far removed from the first Tuesday of November at Flemington. But, the ‘Melbourne Cup of Camel Racing’ is an Outback Queensland event not to miss.
The 1500-metre Camel Cup is the longest camel race in Australia, and these desert-loving creatures are a sight to behold as they come lumbering down towards the post.
The Races aren’t just about the camels, with beautifully appointed glamping tents and scenic helicopter flights over the Outback terrain available from the racecourse. Maybe Flemington could learn a thing or two from Boulia?
When: 17-19 July 2020
Mount Isa Mines Rodeo
This is the big one. It’s the largest and richest rodeo in the Southern Hemisphere that every cowboy and cowgirl dreams of riding in – the Mt Isa Mines Rodeo.
It’s non-stop rodeo action. Think bull riding, saddle bronc, bareback bronc, rope and tie, steer wrestling, team roping, barrel racing and breakaway roping across three massive days.
More than just a rodeo, the live concerts were a highlight of 2019, headlined by John Farnham, Busby Marou and Brad Cox. The 2020 lineup will be announced shortly.
When: 6-9 August 2020
Since 1882, travellers and punters alike have made the pilgrimage to Birdsville for the iconic Birdsville Races.
Swelling from a mere 100 people to more than 6,000 overnight, Birdsville comes alive like no other time of the year for a race day like you’ve never seen before.
Firmly etched onto many bucket lists already – here’s another 12 things to tick off on your adventure to Birdsville.
When: 4-5 September 2020
Cunnamulla Fella Festival
If you’re after a microcosm of Outback lifestyle in one place, the Cunnamulla Fella festival is for you.
Celebrating the true spirit of the Outback, the festival includes a a Rodeo School led by some of the country’s best stockmen, sheep dog displays, sheep shearing demonstrations, a wood-chopping challenge, barrel racing, and a ute muster taking place over a hearty three day program.
When: 28-30 August 2020