Guest Post by Janine Smith
With vibrant cities, a beautiful rainforest, miles of beautifully kept beaches and enough kid and adult-friendly activities to keep any family occupied for months, Queensland is a diverse and culturally-rich area with plenty to offer. There’s the quirky, fun side of Queensland, which is showcased in the region’s many festivals. From pumpkin rolling down Main Street to raising your awareness of green technology; Queensland’s festivals and celebrations offer something for everyone.
Green Earth Festival
Held at the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens, the Green Earth Festival is quickly becoming a popular event in Queensland’s most populous city. Aimed at improving the community’s awareness of green technology, eco-conscious initiatives, organic living and sustainable energy; this festival is still about positively impacting your environment while having a good time. A separate zone is created just for children, where they’ll learn about preserving the environment and living a healthy lifestyle through music and books. Stages featuring performers and spoken word poets are scattered among booths selling eco-friendly fashions, environmentally safe foods and personal hygiene products. Get into the spirit of the Green Earth Festival by slipping on a pair of walking shoes and exploring the botanic gardens– and several of the other attractions Brisbane has to offer — by foot.
Australian Cockroach Races
If you’re a squeamish individual, it’s best to attend the Australian Cockroach Races as a mere spectator rather than a willing participant. For the past 30 years, people have invaded the Story Bridge Hotel on Australia Day for the past 30 years to witness the 14 cockroach races. While the competitors are warming up, or whatever it is cockroaches do to prepare themselves for a race, you can always plunge one of the locals into a vat of dirty water in the dunk tank, watch the live bands or sample some of the local restaurant’s cuisine, which is guaranteed to be completely insect-free.
Goomeri Pumpkin Festival
The majority of the year, Goomeri in the South Burnett region is an unassuming little town filled with friendly faces, quaint shops and intimate restaurants. That is of course until the final Sunday in May when the town holds its annual Pumpkin Festival. The day is filled with free concerts, food booths and all the other forms of entertainment you’d expect from a small town festival. The thing that sets Goomeri apart is the pumpkin contests, the most notable being the Great Australian Pump Roll. Every year, locals scour the patches looking for the ideal pumpkin to race down Policeman’s Hill. It’s all about distance in this contest, and the pumpkin that rolls the furthest is deemed the winner.
Porcupine Gorge National Park Challenge
Pull that expensive pair of running shoes you only wore once out of storage, because you’re going to need all the help you can get after entering the Porcupine Gorge National Park Challenge. Accessing the beautiful Porcupine Gorge involves driving about one hour north of Hughenden, which gives you ample time to stretch your quads and whatever other muscles you’ll need to prepare for the race. Once there, you’re challenged with running an eight-kilometre course through the gorge, but no one is really interested in beating last years’ time. The real treat is taking in the spectacular sandstone cliffs and chatting up your fellow competitors. The Porcupine Gorge National Park Challenge is held every June, and don’t lose heart if you end up walking most of the course.
Dirt and Dust Festival
The last time you visited a small town festival, did you look around and ask yourself “where is the best butt competition?” Luckily for you, the small town of Julia Creek throws the annual Dirt and Dust Festival every April, which aside from the most aesthetically pleasing posterior competition, also features events in bog snorkeling, an event featuring snorkel-clad opponents swimming through a murky peat bog.
Queensland features some of the most notoriously bizarre and downright entertaining festivals throughout Australia. If you’re planning on partaking in any of these festivities, make sure to book your Brisbane hotel room as soon as possible, as many are held in smaller towns with limited lodging. Other than that, slap on your sunscreen, pick out a pumpkin or place your bet on the fastest cockroach.
Janine Smith is a resident of Brisbane and festival enthusiast. She actively competes in the yearly Australian Cockroach Races, although she’s never secured a victory.