So you’ve probably got a travel ‘bucket list’ as long as your arm and topping the list are things like relaxing in an over water bungalow in Bora Bora or hot air ballooning over the Serengeti. Well, these things would be amazing I admit, but what about experiencing something truly Australian; something right in your own backyard; something over 6000 people travel from all over the world to visit each year, the annual Birdsville Races!
Situated in the heart of the Queensland Outback, the remote township of Birdsville is found on the edge of the Simpson Desert and is located 175km East from the border of three states; Queensland, South Australia and Northern Territory. Year round the town’s population sits at about 200+ residents and is home to a small rural school, bakery, roadhouse and one very famous pub! That all changes on the first week of September when people from far and wide venture out to this isolated settlement to witness the race that stops the outback, The Birdsville Cup.
The races, which date from 1882, take place every year and the population swells to about 6000 for the two-day event. Visitors converge on the town from all over Australia and the world to enjoy the 13 race program over the first Friday and Saturday in September. The race trace is located approx. three kilometres from town and is set amongst the vast outback sand dunes. Over the race weekend punters gather at the racetrack to cheer as horses as they thunder along the course, jostle for the best view, take a punt with the outback bookies and enjoy an ice old beverage in the warm afternoon sun. Anything goes at this outback race meet. The favourite can come last and the outsider can storm home for the win but no one seems to mind as its all about the atmosphere and the thrill of the unknown.
The excitement of the carnival is not limited to the racetrack, back in town the action never stops! Take the time to explore the far flung settlement of Birdsville and be sure to try the Curry Camel Pie from the Birdsville Bakery. Wander into the Birdsville Pub and sip on a tinnie under the veranda whilst watching the crowd swell in the main street with the daily entertainment. Explore the variety of market stalls, listen to the wandering buskers, and your experience wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the RM Williams Longhorn Express.
Once the sun sets on race day the night comes alive, and the Birdsville Races Cocktail Party is the most glamorous event of the weekend. With an amazing line up of live entertainment, this event provides a fantastic opportunity to set aside the thongs and don the boots to enjoy a night of outback hospitality. If you’re looking for something a little different, maybe a visit to the iconic boxing tent is on the cards. Fred Brophy is the last boxing tent showman in the world and he’s become a legend at events around the outback. Brophy is truly one of Australia’s greatest entertainers and his nightly shows opposite the hotel are a must for all visitors.
The Birdsville Races is certainly a quintessential Australian Outback Experience and it’s one that should be on everyone’s bucket list.
Don’t miss out on the 2016 adventure of a lifetime. Jump on over to our Birdsville Races Adventure page for more information www.kangaroobuslines.com.au/birdsville-races