The Sunshine State has proclaimed to have Australia’s quirkiest festivals. And they may just be right.
Dunny racing, cockroach racing, melon smashing and a 60-kilometre wheelbarrow race are just some of the festivals planned in 2017.
So pack your car or hire a campervan (with Well Travelled of course!) and make your way to these whacky, action packed Queensland festivals to immerse yourself in the weird and wonderful.
The 35th Annual Australia Day Cockroach Races, Brisbane
Date: 26 January, 2017
Cheer on Queensland’s biggest pests at the annual Australia Day Cockroach Races at Brisbane’s Story Bridge Hotel. Now in its 35th year, the event sees 14 heats of cockroaches’ scurry to the finish line, with prizes such as ‘Best Team Costume’, and ‘Miss Cocky’ to be won. The venue is decked out in true sporting arena style, complete with stadium seating and corporate boxes, giving everyone the chance to enjoy the races and live entertainment.
Australia Day Dunny Races, Sunshine Coast
Date: 26 January, 2017
Let down your hair and show off your national pride this Australia Day at the famous Ettamogah Pub, at Aussie World on the Sunshine Coast. Grab your mates and a port-a-loo, and have a crack at chasing the finish line in the annual ‘Dunny Races’. Let your Aussie flag wave high and try your hand at keg lifting or mullet tossing, plus you can enjoy live music from midday.
Chinchilla Melon Festival
Date: 16-19 February, 2017
Where’s the one place you can compete in watermelon-fueled obstacle events? Only at the Chinchilla Melon Festival of course, where melon-choly is not on the menu. Thousands of cheery patrons will flock to the small town to participate in sweet events such as melon skiing, melon bungy, melon ironman and a melon chariot race.
The Great Wheelbarrow Race, Mareeba
Date: 19-21 May, 2017
This gruelling 60-kilometre race is designed to honour the pioneering miners of the early 19th century, as competitors’ race their wheelbarrows to the finish line. Over 450 competitors join this event decked out in wacky costumes to raise funds for local charities and small communities, with a whopping $200,000 raised in 2016.
Goomeri Pumpkin Festival, Sunshine Coast
Date: 28 May, 2017
Get your pumpkins at the ready, because the Great Australian Pumpkin Roll is coming back to town at the Goomeri Pumpkin Festival, for its 20th year. Put your best foot (and big, orange veggie) forward in the pumpkin lawn bowls and pumpkin shotput competitions. Make a weekend of it, and book a spot at the Heritage Dinner Dance on Saturday 27 May and enjoy a delicious country-style feed and pre-festival fun.
Mary Poppins Festival, Maryborough
Date: 23 June – 2 July, 2017
Put your babysitting skills to the test at the Mary Poppins Festival. Parade your finest hat and umbrella, and put on your most comfortable shoes to dash a pram to the finish line in the Great Nanny Race. You’ll also be able to jazz-up your cleaning routine in the Chimney Sweep Challenge, raise your voice in the Mary’s River Cruise Singalong. Mary Poppin’s author, P.L. Travers, was born in Maryborough in 1899, and this year’s 10-day program will highlight storytelling for all ages through various art forms, such as music concerts, pop-up performances and art installations, allowing merrymakers to be a part of the Maryborough Story Trail experience.
Abbey Medieval Festival, AbbeyStowe
Date: 8-9 July, 2017
Whether you fancy yourself as a knight, a damsel or even the court jester, The Abbey Medieval Festival in Caboolture will have you dining, dancing and jousting your way into the past. Celebrated 7-8 July, you can enjoy medieval delicacies of kings and queens of old, while watching dramatisations of days gone by. Even the kids will believe they were born in the wrong era with a wide range of workshops designed to teach them all about the medieval world.
VIVA Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast
Date: 7-16 July, 2017
Find a group of Elvis Presley tribute artists rocking it out for the coveted Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist crown at VIVA Surfers Paradise. Relive the toe-tapping tunes of the 50s and 60s with live performances, marvel at an array of vintage cars at show ‘n’ shines, and even renew your vowels in a mass ceremony on the beach, officiated by Elvis marriage celebrant, Dean Vegas.
Boulia Camel Races, Outback
Date: 14-17 July, 2017
A hidden gem of outback Queensland is home to the Boulia Camel Races, a wacky and wonderful 4-day event held from the 14 – 17 July 2014. From belly dancing to sky diving, camel rides to market stalls, this festival is absolutely jam packed with way-out things to see and do, culminating in the Quarter-Mile Flyer and the Camel Cup races. Known as the ‘Melbourne Cup’ of camel racing, see these majestic creatures hurtle down 1500m of red dust, alongside plenty of live entertainment for the whole family.
Jumpers and Jazz Festival in July, Warwick
Date: 20-30 July, 2017
As one of the few places in Queensland where jumpers are a necessity in winter, Warwick comes alive from 20-30 July to celebrate the thrill of the chill. Combining cleverness and creativity, the citizens lovingly dress 150 deciduous trees around the town in textiles for the official Jumpers and Jazz Festival. The strains of Queensland’s finest jazz ensembles waft from cafes and restaurants, while events like the Spring Beanie Exhibition and live chalk artistry add to the festivities.
Windorah International Yabby Races, Outback
Date: 30 August, 2017
Cheer on a sea of blue claw crustaceans as they crawl to the finish line in the Windorah International Yabby Races. Each of the ten yabbies in every race are named and auctioned off, as the main street outside the Western Star Hotel fills with eager punters and live music. The event has been running since 1998, all to raise much needed funds for the Royal Flying Doctors Association and local community groups, with auctions held for charitable organisations like Breast Cancer Research and Tie Up The Black Dog.