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Best Out West: Insider Tips For Queensland’s Top Five Outback Events

March 18, 2021 Visit Queensland No Comments Email Email

Outback Queensland hosts some of the most memorable, quirky and quintessentially Australian events. From where to try your first camel burger to the best desert sunset vantage points, these celebrity guests, local heroes and festival characters have the insider tips on how to make the most of your stay in Queensland’s Outback.

Roma’s Easter in the Country | 1 – 5 April 2021

Point your GPS towards the rural town of Roma for the five-day Roma’s Easter in the Country.

Held over the Easter long weekend, the event boasts an exciting line up of family-friendly activities including 37-time Golden Guitar winner Lee Kernaghan who will get those cowboy boots tapping! However, the big names don’t stop at the stage, with celebrity chef Matt Golinski returning to Roma to cook up a feast at the Outback Tucker Under the Stars opening night dinner.

“I love it when Easter comes around because I get to go back and see all the people who have become like family over the years. What I love most about visiting (is) the good old-fashioned country hospitality and the warm welcome you get,” Mr Golinski said.

The star of the night is the premium grass-fed local beef which Matt says is grown by the region’s producers, like Craig and Bec Beissel from Maranoa Beef. He believes it is their commitment to seeing the product right through from paddock to plate that makes it stand out.

“Maranoa Beef has some of the best quality produce you’ll find in Queensland. I recommend any foodies to add sampling their grass-fed products to your tasting list, and supporting local producers at the same time,” Mr Golinski said.

Get your hands on some Maranoa Beef at the 2021 Easter in the Country event, at the Explorers Inn restaurant, or by ordering a hamper online. To secure tickets to Roma’s Easter in the Country, visit the event website and start planning your Roma rendezvous here.

Outback Queensland Masters | 19 June – 25 July 2021

Teeing off for the second time, Australia’s most remote golfing event, the Outback Queensland Masters will see a band of amateur golfers trek 16,000km across Outback Queensland this June and July. Stopping at Biloela, Charleville, Quilpie, Blackall and Hughenden, players will arrive at the final stop at Longreach with the hopes of taking out the coveted Million Dollar Hole-In-One Challenge – making the event one of the richest amateur golf tournaments in the world.

While the inaugural event in 2019 didn’t land a million-dollar winner, Toowoomba husband and wife, Robert and Kerrie Rule were crowned Outback Qld Masters Series Champions. They will return to defend their titles this year.

“Rob and I had never played on sand greens before the Outback Queensland Masters and it turns out we quite enjoy it,” Ms Rule said.

“What we love about the Outback Queensland Masters is that it gives us the perfect reason to revisit country towns and communities.

“For the 2019 series we were pleasantly surprised by Boulia … it’s like a little oasis in the desert and you can tell there’s a lot of love in the town. This year we’re really looking forward to seeing Charleville. Top of our list is the Cosmos Centre which we hear has a few new things to see.”

For more information and to register to play visit the Outback Queensland Masters website or plan your next Charleville adventure here.

Boulia Camel Races | 16 – 18 July 2021

While it might not be a race that stops the nation, the Boulia Camel Races is the race that will make you fall in love with Outback Queensland and the cheeky camels that call it home. Dubbed ‘the Melbourne Cup of Camel Racing’, the 1500m final is the longest camel race in Australia and sees the 400 strong community of Boulia welcome thousands of festivalgoers every July.

Trackside there’s a camel-packed program of activities as quirky as the main event itself, including the Great Australian Ride on Mower Race, camel and helicopter rides, and live music performances. And when you’ve hit a hump after of the festivities, test your tastebuds with one of Boulia’s delicacies as recommended by local camel trainer, and 2019 cup winner, Dannileah Stewart.

“It’s a given, you’ve got to try the camel meat when you’re in Boulia, either the camel burger or camel sausage at the Australian Hotel,” Ms Stewart said.

“When I first came across camel meat I thought the idea was bit out there, but it’s actually really lovely meat and I encourage visitors to try it at least once.”

“Camel racing is a unique sport and there’s only a few places around the world where you can see it. To have a race here in Boulia, in our own backyard, is amazing,” Ms Stewart said.

“I love Boulia, I can’t put that into words. We love seeing the tourists come and watch us racing. It’s how the town survives. It’s good to see people come from everywhere, from cities and all around, to see where we live and what the town is like.”

Discover the Outback town of Boulia and check out the full program of events on the Boulia Camel Races website.

Birdsville Races | 3 – 4 September 2021

The Birdsville Races began in 1882 when 150 stockmen, station owners and overseers came together at the border of Queensland and South Australia for the first unofficial race. Almost 140 years later, the tiny town of around 120 now swells to more than 6,000 as racegoers converge on Birdsville for the iconic two-day event.

One character who has made the pilgrimage almost every year to lend his voice to the event is race caller Josh Fleming. Calling 17 of the last 21 Birdsville Races, Josh revels in returning to the track to reconnect with his Outback mates.

“I’m used to lush green racetracks in metro city locations, so to see the dusty desert track surrounded by a wide-open space, and the sand flying as the horses emerge from the starting gates, which is so synonymous with the races, is something special,” Mr Fleming said

“My favourite thing about Birdsville Races is catching up with great mates. They’re such good, genuine salt of the earth people – and I only get to see them once a year at the races.”

While the races might be the star of the show, there’s plenty of reasons to explore Birdsville – from sharing a beer with a local at the Birdsville Pub to watching a breathtaking sunset on the 40m ‘Big Red’ sand dune in the Simpson Desert.

“At the last races I was lucky enough to take my wife and young daughter out for a spectacular sunset at Big Red. I first saw it when I was 14, and it was awesome to be able share that special moment,” Mr Fleming said.

Tickets for the 2021 Birdsville Races go on sale in May via the event website and is just one of the many reasons to plan a holiday to Birdsville in Outback Queensland.

Outback Festival | 21 – 25 September 2021

The Outback Festival in Winton brings city and country together to celebrate Australia’s endearing bush spirit. Held over the Queensland September school holidays, the 2021 festival is jam packed with family friendly activities.

Now in its 49th year, the five-day Outback Festival will also feature the hilarious Quilton Australian Dunny Derby race, where teams BYO outhouse and race 200m through obstacles for the chance to win a share of $5,000 prize money.

The other headlining event is a World Record attempt by Australia’s strongest man.

Retired – but still holding the title of longest running Australia’s strongest man with 15 years under his belt – Derek Boyer will try to better his own Guinness World Record of carrying a V8 motor a distance of 20m in under 21 seconds. The engine, which he will carry down the main street of Winton, weighs a minimum of 190 kilograms.

Derek says of all his travel as a strongman throughout Australia and the world, Winton is still the most extraordinary place he has visited in Australia.

“Winton is full of unique experiences you can’t see or do anywhere else. It still blows my mind that you can see remnants of the spectacular dinosaur stampede frozen in time after 90 million years,” Mr Boyer said of Lark Quarry.

“I also think the Waltzing Matilda Centre and Heritage Truck and Machinery Museum are well worth the visit and you should also do a pub crawl down Winton’s main street to meet all the wonderful characters in the town.”

Keep an eye on the Outback Festival website for when tickets go on sale and put Winton’s Way Out West Fest and The Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival in your calendar for the perfect excuse to visit Winton again.

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