This year’s Julia Creek Dirt n Dust (DnD) Festival (#DnD18) was once again another great event on the North West Queensland event calendar. Julia Creek is a little outback town 3 hours from Mount Isa, 7 hours from Townsville and 17 hours drive from Brisbane. Every year this little outback country town comes alive for a triathlon, a PBR Rodeo, the races, a Best Butts competition, bog snorkelling, novelty events and great bands. The event is held annually in April.
Starting in 1994, DnD began with a couple of locals spinning yarns over the bar at the Town and Country Club, coming up with ways to put Julia Creek on the map. In one of Queensland’s hottest and harshest climates the idea was born to run a triathlon.
15 people participated in the very first Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Triathlon, those numbers have now reached well over 300.
Renowned as one of the toughest triathlons in the country, the Dirt n Dust triathlon has long been seen as not only a bucket list item but also a bragging right, with competitors overcoming the toughest outback conditions and continuing to return each year to better their personal bests.
After the triathlon the Pro Bull Riders (PBR) Bull Ride is three hours of non-stop dangerous fun on dirt as the PBR’s insanely bravest cowboys risk it all against the monstrous bulls. Cowboys come from all over Australia to take home the prize money. This year there were many great PBR Cowboys vying for the top prize. There was also a stubborn bull that just wouldn’t go back into the yards, entertaining the crowd with it’s antics. The rodeo clowns certainly earned their keep by distracting the bulls to keep the riders safe.
While the festival’s PBR Bull Ride draws a crowd of thousands and the triathlon features more than 400 junior and senior competitors, it is also very hard to go past the Bog Snorkelling Championships!
The DnD site explains that the rules of the famous and ancient sport of Bog Snorkelling state that competitors can’t use their hands or conventional swimming strokes, instead they must rely on flipper power alone, and if they lose that… bad luck. It has often been likened to a game of pinball with competitors often bouncing from side to side of the trench, whilst blowing out a steady stream of mud through their snorkel. Visibility is none so the fear of what lies beneath gets snorkellers to the finish line in record time. The first to the other end of the water/mud filled trench (aka the Bog Pit) is crowned the Bog Winner!
The Best Butts competition is something all visitors to DnD have to see. #australiasbestbutt. I am sure there is nothing like it anywhere else. It all started when a power outage happened during a live Mental As Anything set at the Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival one year. Instead of panic, someone had the bright idea of grabbing a torch and starting a dance competition… and so began one of the toughest events over the Dirt n Dust weekend – Australia’s Best Butt!
It’s all about having good, clean, outrageous fun! Contestants are required to remain fully clothed during the competition and put all of their efforts into their butt dancing, crowd-pleasing antics!
The Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival join forces with the Julia Creek Turf Club to present the Artesian Express Race Day. It is a fantastic day of country racing for visitors to the region. Horses from all around North West Queensland compete at one of the richest race meetings in North West Queensland.
The race day includes the exclusive Country Tastes Luncheon, Fashions on the Field, children’s entertainment and good old fashioned novelty games entertainment for the big and little kids.
Each year the Dirt n Dust stage is the centre for some of the best home-grown Aussie talent from across the country, plus a few International artists. From the greats to the up-and-comers, the Dirt n Dust stage has seen a wide variety of musical talent – Troy Cassar-Daley, Mick Lindsay, Missy Lancaster and James Blundell.
This year, my pick of the bands was The Nu Black. This band is certainly one to watch out for in the future with their classic old school rock. They had the crowd pumping with a sea of boots, jeans and hats dancing into the early hours on Friday and Saturday nights. Lets hope we get to see this Townsville based band again at future D&D events.
There was whip cracking fun with Walter the Whip who not only put on a great display before the rodeo but also ran whip cracking classes for the kids of all sizes. Walter the Whip clearly has no fear as he cracked whips in the middle of flames, he set alight things with his fire whip and he cracked roses from the mouth of his assistant with just his whip.
There are a variety of options for accommodation, mostly camping. Generally all Motel and Hotel accommodation is booked out well in advance. For the true outback experience there are a couple of options available including McIntyre Park Self-Camping campsites (near the racetrack), the Julia Creek Caravan Park (in Julia Creek) and also the Free RV Camping site along the creek (no amenities available, self-servicing RV’s only).
If you are staying at McIntyre Park Campgrounds, and want a powered site, bookings are essential as these run out quickly. If you want a non powered site, you can still make bookings however this is not essential as you can also turn up on the weekend and pay the volunteer coordinators with cash at the gate. If you wish to stay at the Julia Creek Caravan Park bookings are essential for all powered and non powered sites.
If you are looking for a great weekend of fun and entertainment you can’t go past the annual Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival in April.
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