Crazy Aussie Festivals

If your life long ambition has to been to run 10km through the mud, unfortunately you’ve just missed your chance to join the inaugural Mud Run last week. The Australian version of a cross country event should definitely not be undertaken in new trainers but provides the usual odd ball, larrikin experiences we have all come to expect from Aussie festivals.

I’ve been to my fair share of strange events downunder, and seeing as people have a penchant for these, here’s a few to put on your calendar for the coming year so you can get planning now. Feel free to share any you think should be on the list –

Make sure you take advantage of VIP Hostels in these locations.

Cockroach racing, Brisbane

World Championship Cockroach Racing, Brisbane (QLD)
This must be the only nation in the world that celebrations their national day so sacriligiously – by racing hairy brown cockroaches outside a pub. However there is plenty of national sentiment going on, even if it’s found at the bottom of a beer can. Loads of fun.

Chinchilla Melonfest
It only happens biannually and the next event is in 2011 but that just means you have plenty of time to practice your technique skiing, bungy jumping, slipping, sliding and spitting watermelons. Chinchilla is the Melon Capital of Australia and this is the downunder version of La Tomatina in Spain.

Camel Race, Alice Springs


Alice Springs Camel Cup (NT) and Boulia Desert Sands Camel Cup (QLD)
Cantakerous and smelly but certainly part of the outback experiences, these are the camels that missed the outback cull (hope everyone appreciates Aussie humour) and made it to the racetrack. In July events are held in both Alice Springs and Boulia on dusty tracks along with plenty of other light hearted entertainment.

Henley-on-Todd Regatta, Alice Springs (NT)
There might not be water for 1500kms around but it hasn’t stopped Alice Springs holding a regatta every year. The idea for this race comes from the famous Henley-on-Thames race between the Cambridge and Oxford Universities in the UK. The Todd is the Alice river but runs dry most of the year so competitors take to bottomless tubs to race across it.

Windorah International Yabby Races, (QLD)
It’s probably the world’s slowest championship race but that doesn’t make it any less exciting. Crowds gather in this town in remote channel country to race local crustaceans, yabbies, outside the pub of course on the Wednesday night before the Birdsville Races (first weekend in September).

Beer Can Regatta, Darwin (NT)
This is a good way to use up your empty beer cans – make a boat and then enter this annual race. Of course you might sink, flounder or fail but that’s all part of the fun.

Birdsville Races


Birdsville Races, Birdsville (QLD)
The remote location of Birdsville doesn’t put off the punters and each year several thousand trudge through the Simpson Desert to this iconic town for a race in the middle of nowhere. Although it’s not too clear how many actually watch the races with all the other things going on – boxing, rodeo, country music, mayhem at the pub and betting to be done. You’ll have to be pretty well set up for the drive and camp out here but it’s worth it.

Mud Run, Peat’s Ridge (NSW)
The inaugural 2009 event attracted some 700 participants and it can only get bigger from here. Here’s a fantastic chance to battle the elements – mostly mud – to the finish line.


Hope you’re enjoying the VIP Backpacker’s Travel Blog. There’ll be an update added every other Friday, so keep tuning in to keep your travel dreams alive! If there are any travel topics you want covered feel free to contact me, Jo, at


7 thoughts on “Crazy Aussie Festivals

  1. I went to the Birdsville Races and the Windorah yabby races enroute – what a hoot!! Highly recommend it to anyone that’s pondering a trip out west. This year would be great to go with lots of wildflowers blooming after the rains!!

  2. My sister and I went to the cockroach races a few years back, what absolutely Aussie fun! I’ve always meant to go back. You grab a beer and grab a roach and cheer away, amazing how much fun you can have with a cockroach when you’re not stomping on them!

  3. Some good info. Another great festival is the Ulladulla, (NSW) Blessing of the Fleet festival at Easter. Perhaps not in the same realm as others mentioned, but some good fun.

    • I’ve been to this one and it was great fun, particularly the spaghetti eating competition in which you were not allowed to use your hands!

  4. Pingback: Best places to stop in the outback « Vipbackpackers's Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s