Living in big cities like Sydney or Melbourne, we’re always looking for the newest and most unique and interesting event experience. Whether it’s the latest pop up bar, a secret music gig or a rooftop cinema, we’re a fickle bunch and things get old pretty quick. So maybe it’s time we thought outside our city bubble and looked to regional areas for event inspiration.
Here is our pick of some weird and wonderful events from regional Australia. A ‘must-see’ selection of unique and fantastic annual events to add to your bucket list.
Parkes Elvis Festival
Every January, the population of Parkes in Central NSW doubles in size for one of Australia’s biggest regional events. A huge influx of Elvis lookalikes make for a unique and hilarious sight. Since 1993 the Elvis Festival has grown to now draw 20,000 visitors for 5 days of events. It includes the iconic Elvis Street Parade, Elvis Gospel Service, Miss Priscilla Competition and Cars of the Era Show. Not to mention world class music and dancing performances. Every year is a new theme so dust off your blue suede shoes and book a train to Parkes!
The Birdsville Races
‘The middle of nowhere’ is a phrase which is usually an exaggeration, except in the case of Birdsville. It really is smack bang in the middle of nowhere. Sitting in the south west corner of Queensland and hovering on the edge of the Simpson Desert, this tiny town of 100 occupants holds one of Australia’s most famous regional race days. Now in its 129th year this event attracts over 6000 spectators, trainers, owners and jockeys who make the pilgrimage to the dusty desert town. All to take part in the annual race meeting which raises money for the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia.
Manjimup Cherry Harmony Festival
Who doesn’t love a box of fresh cherries in Summer? Manjimup and the surrounding region in the south west corner of Western Australia is known for its cherries (among other fruit and vegetables). To celebrate the cherry picking summer sun Manjimup puts one a huge festival which draws over 5000 attendees to the small country town. The day features a pip spitting competition, cherry pie competition, log chopping. It all wraps up with a long table lunch among the stunning cherry orchards. Sounds like an ideal way to eat many handfuls of summer cherries!
Henley-on-Todd Regatta NT
We’ve got some pretty special sights to see in our vast country, but perhaps none so unique as the world’s only waterless regatta. Alice Springs plays host to this annual and hilarious gathering of people. Racers include homemade bottomless boats, canoes, bathtubs and human sized hamster wheels, all of which race over the dry bed of the Todd River. The day ends with a battle between battle ship adorned four wheel drives armed with water cannons and flour mortars. This is definitely an event for the little kid in us all! The Regatta raises funds for the The Fred Hollows Foundation which helps to battle trachoma in indigenous communities.
Grampians Grape Escape – VIC
Melbourne is without a doubt Australia’s ‘foodie’ capital, so where does all the amazing produce come from? The surrounding region of Victoria is rich with some of our country’s most outstanding food and wine. And every May 100+ of these food and wine artisans set up shop in Western Victoria’s Grampian National Park to show off their wares. In the beautifully stunning Halls Gap, you can graze your way through the delights of local beef, lamb, pork and turkey. As well as wine, beer, teas and herbs, olive products, preserves, gourmet sausages and pies, cookies, cakes and fresh organic produce. Other entertainment includes live music and of course marvelling at the amazing view. You can even have a go at a good old grape stomping!
Did you enjoy reading about Weird and Wonderful Events from Regional Australia? At College of Event Management we offer a range of specialised online event courses. Contact us for more information about the right course to equip you with the knowledge and practical experience to work as an event professional.