It’s been coined quirky, strange and even weird by some, but the locals just call it, the ‘Outback Festival’. It has been luring visitors from all over Australia and overseas since 1972 with its unique blend of outback themed events and authentic Aussie experiences, and in 2017 is planned to literally deliver a giant.
Staged in the tiny town of Winton, north west of Longreach in the heart of Outback Queensland, home to just over 900 residents that swells to over 8,000 during the festival.
Famous for its hilarious signature event, the Quilton Australian Dunny Derby. This hilarious event involves teams of five pulling and pushing the thunderbox (dunny) through a 200 metre course, all competing for a AUD $5,000 prize pool!
The theme for this years 2017 festival is Giants of the Outback. “We’re highlighting our home grown giants, whether they’re giant in size or giant in spirit. It could be anything from the big red kangaroo, our prehistoric dinosaurs to our giant courageous outback spirt, that gave birth to Qantas and Waltzing Matilda,” explains Event Director, Robyn Stephens OAM.
This five-day Outback Festival is held during the Queensland school holidays in Spring, the best time of the year to enjoy the Australian Outback, when the days and nights are mild.
“To deliver on this year’s theme, we’ll be bringing textile artisan, Wanda Bennet of Cross Roads Arts to Winton to work with the community to create Giant Puppetry that will feature throughout the festival”, said Robyn. “It’s all part of an incredible line up of concerts and performers that participate in the festival. With the official entertainment announcement due in the coming months, I can reveal one of Australia’s most revered didgeridoo players, William Barton will be performing live with the MSB Didge Kids from the Atherton Tablelands in Tropical North Queensland.”
Other Outback Festival highlights include an Outback Ironman, Ironwoman and Iron Junior competitions and the gruelling, toughest and flattest cycle in the Outback, the 100 Kilometres Outback Century Cycle Challenge.
There’s also a swag of novelty Australiana events, such as whip cracking championships, bushman’s egg throwing, strongman challenges, wool bale rolling, and the True Blue Sports, a test of classic Aussie sporting skills like kicking a footie, darts, bowls, marbles and cow pat discus. Combine this with live bands, little swaggies, kid’s events and a sunset dining experience overlooking Winton’s stunning landscape, this is an Aussie festival not to be missed!
Winton really does welcome its visitors, and to cater for the township’s residential swell, a special festival camping ground for caravans, RVs and campers is set up in the showgrounds. For those looking for a little more comfort, a tent city, called Club Paterson, is available at one of the local schools, where tents and beds with linen packages are available.
GETTING TO WINTON
- Winton is located 1,300km from Queensland’s capital Brisbane and has a population of around 900 people.
- It’s sealed roads all the way, via the Matilda highway, less than 2 hours n/w of Longreach.
- Daily Qantaslink flights from Brisbane to Longreach Airport with coach transfers to Winton. Or fly from Townsville to Winton Airport with REX Airlines.
- Daily Bus Queensland services are available to Winton from Brisbane throughout Outback Queensland.
WINTON’S CLAIM TO FAME
- Winton is the birthplace of Qantas and home to Australia’s largest collection of dinosaur fossils at the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum, just 24km from “downtown” Winton. Also near Winton is Lark Quarry Conservation Park, a 93 million year old fossilised dinosaur stampede, the only one of its kind in the world.
- It’s here Australia’s unofficial national anthem, Waltzing Matilda, written by AB (Banjo) Paterson, was first performed in public at the North Gregory Hotel in Winton’s main street.