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Billed as ‘the greatest gathering of thoroughbred cockroaches in the known universe’, the cockroach races held at the Story Bridge Hotel in Brisbane each year on Australia Day even include a steeplechase event where the roaches have to hurdle a garden hose.
In Port Lincoln, South Australia, they prefer to toss tuna on the national holiday. Men and women hurl compete eight to 10 kilogram tuna like Olympic hammers to see who can throw one the furthest.
If you've never seen anyone split open 47 watermelons in 60 seconds using nothing but their ‘melon’, you should probably head to Chinchilla in Queensland for one heck of a good laugh. The Melon Capital of Australia celebrates with melon skiing, melon bungee jumping, pip spitting, and melon tossing.
The Dirt and Dust Triathlon, Australia's Best Butt competition, and bog snorkeling where competitors don snorkels and flippers to complete two lengths of a 'peat bog' are are all part of The Dirt and Dust Festival, held each year in April in the tiny Queensland town of Julia Creek, population 368.
The quirky, annual Camel Cup attracts visitors to Alice Springs from all over the world. Entertainment is assured, with nine unpredictable races around the dusty outback track throughout the day.
Boats in this race have to be made of discarded beer cans – which aren't hard to find around Darwin. Most vessels sink in the Arafura Sea before they make it to the finish line at Mindil Beach.
Another most Australian of events is yabby racing, held this in the Queensland town of Windorah – 386 kilometres by road east of Birdsville and 1200 kilometres west of Brisbane.
Held every August at the Paroo Track in Eulo, Queensland, 67 kilometres west of Cunnamulla, is the world lizard racing championships. The red bull dust track is best described as fast.
This ‘boat’ race is held annually in the dry sandy bed of the Todd River in Alice Springs, Australia. The only rule is that the vessel must resemble a boat . . . everything else is left up to the imagination.
Over 6,000 visitors flock to the tiny town of Birdsville for Australia's most famous outback race meeting held on the edge of the Simpson Desert in outback Queensland. The population swells from 120 to 6,000 people during the two day event. Not just a horse race, this is the Outback social event of the year with the whip cracking, Ringers Dance and Stockyard Ball.
Winton, birthplace of Qantas and Waltzing Matilda, holds the Winton Outback Festival featuring a Dunny Derby, whip cracking contests, wool bale rolling, and an Outback Ute Muster.
Held in Singleton, NSW each year, this 200-metre charge through an obstacle course comes with some prizes: entry to the world championships in Finland and your wife’s weight in beer.
The Kulin Bush Races, with its horses, camel, sheep and dog racing, epitomises the spirit and hospitality of rural Western Australia. Look out for homemade tin horses in the paddocks lining the Tin Horse Highway.
Other crazy racing events include the Boulia Camel Races in far west Queensland and the Australian Goat Racing Championships in Lightning Ridge. Or, doll up in your finest attire and join in the fun at a ‘B&S’ (Bachelors and Spinsters) ball where the schooners flow like a babbling brook at this annual bush bash held all over Australia.
The outback isn’t the only place you’ll find old-fashioned Aussie fun. Try the weekly cane toad racing at the Arcadia Hotel on Magnetic Island or the weekly crab racing nights at the Friend in Hand Pub in Sydney.