Tourism and Events Queensland

Year of Outback Tourism Guide

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O ne of the great things about events in the bush is how close you can get to the action. Whether it's a rodeo, music muster or footy match, you are right there pressed up against the fence soaking up the excitement. Nowhere is this better illustrated than at a country race meeting. Outback Queensland has a roster of fabulous race meetings that are often the highlight of the social calendar for the people who live and work in these remote locations. Unlike city racing, with its more formal and regulated ways, a country race meet combines top-notch gallops with a party atmosphere as locals and visitors come together in a wholly distinctive celebration of life in the bush. The racetracks can be in far-flung outposts such as Birdsville in the west, which is famous in racing calendars, or Oak Park, which hosts a little-known gem of a meeting near Einasleigh in the north. Wherever they are there will usually be bookies, fashions on the field, perhaps a ball or live music — and a thoroughly welcoming, relaxed atmosphere. One of Queensland's signature country meetings is the XXXX Gold Easter Races (April 20), held on the Saturday of Roma's Easter in the Country festival. The races are a treat in their own right, but all the other activities and events on the program of the five-day Easter in the Country celebrations are a fantastic introduction to bush culture. It's also easy to get to. Not so much the Birdsville Races (September 6-7). It is one of the iconic must- do events for anyone interested in Outback travel. Birdsville sits on the edge of the Simpson Desert near where the borders of Queensland, South Australia and Northern Territory intersect. Getting there is an adventure. But take the advice of the race organisers: "Yeah, you're not going to drive here in a day … but you can possibly fly here in a day, or you can do what thousands of others do and make the epic multi-day road journey from wherever you are." If you have little interest in seeing horses put through their paces but still want to experience the excitement of a country race meeting, there are plenty of other options. Boulia has camel races (July 19-21), Julia Creek pits humans against each other and the elements at its annual Dirt n Dust triathlon (April 12-14), it's canoes at Gregory River (May 5) and yabbies get a bit nippy at Windorah (September 4, just prior to the Birdsville Races). A country race meet combines top-notch gallops with a party atmosphere You haven't experienced Queensland racing until you've been to an Outback race meet. Rod Gordon reports In full gallop at the Birdsville Races; Mount Isa Mines Rodeo action, below. fast, furious racing fun W elcome to the Year of Outback Tourism in Queensland. In 2019, we are shining the spotlight on our regional and remote Outback Queensland destinations: stunning star- studded skies and red dust horizons; the Australian Age of Dinosaurs and newly discovered tracks in Winton; the Tree of Knowledge in Barcaldine; Indigenous cultural experiences; historical aircraft in Longreach, the birthplace of Qantas; the Waltzing Matilda Centre; Charleville's Cosmos Centre; the Birdsville Races and so much more. We know our Outback communities have been through some tough times, they've battled on through years of drought and now flooding rain. I'm often asked by people how they can help. The answer is, for those in the south-east and our coastal towns and cities, to explore what the Outback has to offer, to spend up locally and enjoy a new experience. Tourism can help carry communities through times of hardship, so I encourage all of us to back the bush. I'm calling on families, grey nomads, school groups, honeymooners, backpackers — everyone — to book your next Outback holiday. More than 900, 000 visitors are expected to make the trek to the Outback this year — that's more than 13 per cent growth in Outback tourism year-on-year. Fifteen new tourism projects are being developed under my Government's Queensland Outback Tourism Infrastructure Fund, including five-star artesian baths and a glass-floor bridge across Cobbold Gorge, and we are supporting an enhanced line-up of uniquely Outback events through our $3 million Premier's Outback Events Program. Grants of up to $100,000 are available to hold festivals, food and wine events and arts and cultural performances — joining iconic events such as the Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival, Birdsville Big Red Bash and Mount Isa Mines Rodeo on our already jam-packed calendar. Our Year of Outback Tourism campaign is about sharing the best of the west with a record number of visitors and in turn helping our communities thrive. I invite you to be one of them. Make the trip out west and experience the magic for yourself, you won't be disappointed! ANNASTACIA PALASZCZUK MP PREMIER OF QUEENSLAND MINISTER FOR TRADE it's time to back the bush PREMIER'S MESSAGE YEAR OF Outback TOURISM sponsored content P icture this: 1000 gleaming motorhomes, caravans, campervans and fifth wheelers, moving in convoy along a straight stretch of Outback highway under a big blue Queensland sky. It's a sight that will take your breath away, and it's going to happen in May on the Aramac-Barcaldine Rd, as the Australian Motorhoming Lions Club (AMLC) targets a world record for the largest parade of camping vehicles (RVs). RV owners will gather in Barcaldine to beat the current Guinness World Record, which was set in 2003 by 672 vehicles in Italy. AMLC president Len Waddington is confident of breaking the record, with 692 vehicles already registered. The five-day Longest Line event will raise money for regional charities and provide an economic stimulus to towns including Barcaldine, Alpha, Aramac, Jericho and Muttaburra. "They are coming from as far as Western Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand," Waddington says. On Sunday, May 26, all vehicles will line up in single file and will start moving along the road. The AMLC, an organisation for motorhome owners who travel regularly and can't always maintain membership of a Lions Club in their home town, has teamed up with the Barcaldine Regional Council for the attempt. As a prelude, on Saturday, May 25, participants will also attempt to set a new record for the longest connected image made of LED rope lights, which currently sits at 655m. - Lee Mylne join a winning line-up

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