The iconic Birdsville Races are run each year on the first Friday and Saturday in September every year. If you haven’t been before then you need to make the trek to outback Queensland. You don’t get much more remote in Queensland than Birdsville.
Every year brings something different. One year it rained out the Races and camps, flooding us all in. It was muddy, we camped in bucketing rain and drank beers at the Birdsville Pub. That was my favourite year. This year it was dusty and windy, so windy it would blow the feathers off a chook. Some years it has been hot, some years it has been cold. Take home message – pack for every occasion.
If you are self contained you can camp on the town common for free between the town and the race track. There is more than enough room for everyone. If you are lucky enough you may get a room at the pub. There is a caravan park and there are also organised tent cities.
There are busses that run out to the race track on race days. The fare is a gold coin donation to a charity. It is definitely standing room only at peak times so be prepared to ‘squeeze up’ against the people behind and in front of you. It is just under 4 km walking distance so walking out is quite manageable for those who enjoy a good walk.
One of the last Boxing Troupes in the world, Fred Brophy’s Boxing Troupe, set up each year with punters nominating themselves to take on Fred’s finest in the ring. Boxing Troupes will be a thing of the past in the very near future so make the effort to get a ticket and head into the tent while you still can.
The Pub put on live music over the weekend. The Crack Up Sisters provide light entertainment at the Pub. There are food vans and some tourist attractions to see throughout the town.
TOP THINGS TO DO
- Birdsville Races – head out to the track both days. It’s one of Australia’s most iconic Races. people come from near and far. There are groups in costumes, fashions on the field, a bar, you can get up close to the track and there are bookies on site. I recommend you take chairs if you don’t want to stand all day in the sun. There is also a pavilion for those who want to watch the Races with a little more luxury.
- Big Red – fancy yourself as a bit of a 4WDer? Take your 4WD out of town to the Big Red sand dune and see if you can tackle getting to the top. It is often busy during the Races weekend but something you will regret not doing if you don’t. A sunset at Big Red is not to be missed.
- South Australian Border – not far out of town is the SA border. Head out and get your photo at the border.
- Birdsville Pub – don’t miss having a tasty beverage at one of Australia’s most remote Pubs. This Pub is one of the most recognisable pubs in Australia. You can park your plane across the road if you fly in.
- There are many other attractions including the billabong, the Waddi Trees, a Burke and Wills Tree. It just depends how far you want to venture.
Sadly, the famous Birdsville Bakery is no longer open so a camel or rabbit pie washed down with a rum at 10am is no longer an option.
The Birdsville Races is definitely a bucket list event that you should make the effort to go to at least once in your lifetime. Don’t put it off. It is a trip of a lifetime.
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