5 places to find real Aussie culture in Outback Queensland

From outdoor cinema and opera in the bush to 'dunny derbies', there’s plenty of culture in Queensland’s back of beyond. You just have to know where to look...

7 mins

1: The Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival, Winton

Outdoor cinema in Winton (Tourism & Events Queensland)
Outdoor cinema in Winton (Tourism & Events Queensland)

Winton's Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival is a film festival like no other, celebrating Australian film and culture under the stars of Winton in Outback Queensland. 

The festival combines a program of classic and contemporary Australian films that celebrate the true blue Aussie culture. There's also a range of special events, kids clubs, and conversations and masterclasses with film makers, directors and actors.

Visitors can join the stars on the red carpet for the Opening Night, or a location tour to the sites where major feature films were made. They can even enter their own film in a Short Film Competition.

Spread over 10 days, films are screened every night under the stars of the outback night sky in the historic, open air Royal Theatre in Winton's main street, one of only two remaining such theatres in Australia, and by day in the Shire Hall.

When: 23 June - 2 July, 2017

More information: visionsplendidfilmfest.com

2: Bedourie Camel Races & Camp Oven Cook-Off, Bedourie

Outdoor cinema in Winton (Tourism & Events Queensland)
Camel racing in outback Queensland (Queensland.com)

The Bedourie Camel Races are about as far removed from the typical fashions-on-the-field racetrack experience as you can get. Camels, the original ships of the desert, reign supreme at these races, which see dozens of these animals race in six events across the day. Also among the action are a number of novelty events, including pig racing and wood chopping, so it's guaranteed fun for the family.

After a day on the track, guests are invited to dive into some of the most delicious outback tucker. These impressive feasts are prepared in a traditional Outback style that would put any masterchef to shame. 

There is also a traditional camp oven cook-off, where guests are invited (free of charge) to bake their own bread using provided ingredients.

When: 8 July, 2017

More information: outbacknow.com.au

3: The Mount Isa Mines Rotary Rodeo, Mount Isa

Bull riding at Mount Isa Rodeo (Stephen Mowbray/Mt Isa Rodeo)
Bull riding at Mount Isa Rodeo (Stephen Mowbray/Mt Isa Rodeo)

The Mount Isa Mines Rotary Rodeo is the Australian rodeo that every cowboy and cowgirl dreams of riding in. It's the largest and richest rodeo in the Southern Hemisphere.

The rodeo combines three days of non-stop rodeo action: bull riding, saddle bronc, bareback bronc, rope and tie, steer wresting, team roping, barrel racing and breakaway roping.

Travellers can immerse themselves in this quintessentially outback experience with behind-the-scenes tours. Throw in Rodeo Rock Concerts, Festibull, "The Isa Street Party", Mardi Gras Parade, Queen Quest, Mailman Express Horse Race, Best Dressed Business competition, Bush Poets Breakfast, Markets and Fred Brophies Boxing Tent into the mix and you've got one big party.

When: 11-13 August, 2017

More information: isarodeo.com.au

4: Outback Festival, Winton

Getting ready for the Dunk Derby (outback festival.com.au)
Getting ready for the Dunny Derby (outbackfestival.com.au)

Queensland's Outback township of Winton is pulling out the stops to host an extra special Outback Festival in 2017. The festival's hilarious signature event, the Quilton Australian Dunny Derby, will top off five days of quirky events, outback hospitality and nightly live entertainment that lures visitors from all over Australia and overseas.

2017 will include some exciting new entertainment options, as well as some recent favourites, such as a Charity Sunset Dinner Extravaganza under the outback stars.

Sports fans can test their skills with some gruelling sporting challenges, including the Outback Century Cycle Challenge, the toughest, flattest cycling event in the Outback, as well as Outback Iron Man, Woman and Junior events.

When: 19-23 September, 2017

More information: outbackfestival.com.au

5: Opera in the Outback, Mount Surprise

Belting it out in the outback (undara.com.au)
Belting it out in the outback (undara.com.au)

Opera in the Outback, or the ‘Undara Experience’, sees hundreds of visitors descend on Undara Experience for three nights of very unique entertainment in the incredible setting of the purpose-built Ooramin Place Amphitheatre. 

The first half of this magical event is enjoyed as the sun sets, turning the western sky into an explosion of colour. The second half is enjoyed under a million stars.

The program, which includes a lighter, non-opera performance on the Thursday, followed by two nights of opera, has amazed and entertained audiences since its inception in 2001. It's an experience that visitors say they will treasure forever.

When: 5-7 October, 2017

More information: undara.com

This article was put together with information and assistance from Mount Mulligan Station, a luxury outback lodge, opening in late 2017, set on a ridge ten times larger than Uluru in the heart of western Queensland.

Main image: Opera stars in the outback (undara.com)

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