Tourism and Events Queensland

Year of Outback Tourism Guide

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sponsored content I n his trademark red silk shirt, Fred Brophy is every bit the showman. He stands on the stage, beats his drum and announces to the eager crowd that the fights are about to begin. Fred Brophy's is the last of the travelling tent boxing troupes in Queensland and is one of the highlights of Roma's Easter in the Country festival (April 18-22), a five-day celebration of the history and lifestyle of regional Queensland. Now entering its 42nd year, the festival has gone from strength to strength, with activities designed to appeal to all. Events this Easter will kick off on Thursday night with Outback Tucker Under the Stars with celebrity chef Matt Golinski, who will also host a breakfast cooking demonstration on Saturday. For children, there is a "monster" Easter egg hunt on Good Friday as well as traditional games including egg-and-spoon races, sack races and three-legged races, and of course a visit from the Easter Bunny. Xtreme Bulls are heading back to Easter in the Country for the third time, making Roma the fourth stop on the Xtreme Bulls Australia Tour on Good Friday, with Australia's elite bull riders taking on the Gill Bros Rodeo Company's Xtreme Bulls. If that's not enough action, stay around for Fred Brophy's boxers immediately after the rodeo, from 10pm until late. Another highlight is the Saturday lunchtime festival parade, while other events include the best of bush poetry and country music, art exhibitions, miniature train rides, car displays, mud races, wife- carrying races, goat races, and the XXXX Easter Pro Rodeo. If you're heading from Brisbane to the Birdsville Big Red Bash in July and feel like a half-way break, call in to Charleville for the Half-Way There — Charleville Shindig (July 12-13) street party. As well as food and entertainment, this year will include the Longest Damper world record attempt. Organiser Monique Johnson says the action all happens, appropriately, half-way down the main street of Charleville. "This is the last big town before Birdsville and it's a great chance to have a break and top up with any supplies you might need before heading off," she says. "We started the festival three years ago to capture people on their way to the Birdsville Big Red Bash, and they all seemed to enjoy it." MORE EVENTS SOUTH ROMA PICNIC RACES, Roma, March 29-30 EROMANGA RODEO, GYMKHANA AND CAMPDRAFT, Eromanga, April 19-21 ADAVALE SPORT AND REC RODEO, Campdraft and Gymkhana, Adavale, April 26-28 DIRRANBANDI SHOW, Dirranbandi, April 27-28 YELLOWBELLY FISHING COMPETITION, Windorah, May 4-5 MUSIC IN THE MULGA, Eulo, May 16-20 OUTBACK QUEENSLAND MASTERS, Roma, June 17-18 OUTBACK QUEENSLAND MASTERS, Charleville, June 22-23 QUILPIE POLOCROSSE CARNIVAL, Quilpie, June 29-30 ST GEORGE YELLOWBELLY COUNTRY MUSIC AND POETS FESTIVAL, St George, July 1-7 WINDORAH STOCKMAN'S CHALLENGE, Windorah, July 14 COBB & CO FESTIVAL - AUSTRALIA'S LAST RUN, Yuleba, August 17-25 KANGARANGA DO STREET PARTY, Quilpie, September 3 WINDORAH INTERNATIONAL YABBY RACES, Windorah, September 4 CHARLEVILLE BILBY FESTIVAL, Charleville, September 6-8 RIVER DRAGON FESTIVAL, St George, September 6-7 QUILPIE AND DISTRICT SHOW AND RODEO, Quilpie, September 14 For more exciting Outback Queensland events, visit queensland.com/ outbackevents heart of the country The locals of central Outback Queensland love to party and visitors are always welcome, writes Lee Mylne Roma's Easter in the Country saleyards tour; the Cunnamulla Fella, below left. From August 30 to September 1, cowboys, bull riders, shearers and stockmen will descend on Cunnamulla for the Cunnamulla Fella Festival. The Cunnamulla Fella, a quintessential stockman immortalised in a song by Stan Coster and recorded by Slim Dusty, is represented by a larger-than-life bronze sculpture in the town's main street. The festival features a shearing display, bronc and bull riding, markets, live music, motorbike and horse sports and more. There's also a packed program of country music, and activities for the whole family. Topping the bill at the rodeo is the PBR Bull Ride, followed by fireworks on Saturday night at John Kerr Park. On Sunday, get up early to take part in – or cheer on – the Bill Johnstone Memorial Triathlon, then wander through the food and market stalls before winding down on the Town Hall lawns under the gaze of the Cunnamulla Fella for a day of free live music until 4pm. While you're there ... Roma: If it's Tuesday or Thursday morning, the place to be is the Roma Saleyards, the largest cattle yards in the southern hemisphere. For an insight into all the fast- paced auction action, free tours are run on sale days; just turn up at the Bull Ring at 8.15am. Roma's other big attraction is The Big Rig, dedicated to telling the story of Australia's oil and gas industry. At night, The Big Rig turns on a sound and light show. For an insight into the natural beauty of the Outback, join Boobook Eco Tours to explore the nearby Carnarvon Ranges. See the stars of Charleville: Whether you're flying into Charleville from Brisbane, or road-tripping through the region, there's plenty to see. See a bilby at The Charleville Bilby Experience, dedicated to saving this near-extinct marsupial. To learn some things you didn't know about the Outback skies, head to the Charleville Cosmos and Observatory for a star-studded evening looking through a telescope. Soak it up in Cunnamulla: Cunnamulla is the heart of the Paroo Shire, with nearby towns including Eulo, Yowah and Wyandra, all worth a look. Just outside Eulo, you'll find the Eulo Mud Baths, where you can soak in the mineral-rich mud and thermal waters of the Great Artesian Basin. Bird-watchers will prime their binoculars and cameras at the Bowra Wildlife Sanctuary, while others might get their hands dirty fossicking for opals outside Yowah. SOUTHERN OUTBACK QUEENSLAND

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