Set against the backdrop of the famed Simpson Desert, the Simpson Desert Racing Carnival gives the local community, punters, tourists, jockeys, owners and trainers alike the opportunity to come from near and far and celebrate country racing at its best. Your outback Queensland adventure to the far west wouldn't be complete without a visit to this iconic racing carnival. These events are RV, Caravan, and 4WD friendly with plenty of accommodation, camping and site options available. The racing carnival welcomes grey nomads, backpackers, campers and family visitors alike.
Day 1: Betoota Races
Kick off your racing trifecta with the Betoota Races on Saturday 26th August 2017. Renowned as the race that brings a ghost town back to life, this country race meet prides itself on being family friendly. After sundown you can camp under the stars at the racetrack – and there are even hot showers!
Day 2 & 3
Take it slow on the drive to Birdsville with stops at Deon's Lookout to take in the views and the magnificent new Dreamtime Serpent sculpture which winds its way across a hillside just west of Betoota. After you set up camp in Birdsville head down to Birdsville Bakery and tuck into one of their famous Curried Camel Pies, stop by the Wirrarri Visitor Centre for the lowdown on the region's best attractions and all the latest racing information.
Day 4 – 6
Three days of jam-packed fun await so be sure to pace yourself. Head down to the Market Stalls and watch the buskers perform, catch a screening of the ‘Back of Beyond' at the Shire Hall, take in the carnivalesque atmosphere at the Equine Fun Day at the Birdsville Hotel or join in with the chorusing cheers of revellers as they watch the bouts at the world famous Fred Brophy's Boxing Troupe.
Day 7 & 8: Birdsville Races
Entertainment continues throughout Friday and Saturday starting with morning Race Calcuttas and wine and spirit tastings at the Birdsville Hotel. Come lunchtime there's a flurry of action at the racetrack with a full two-day program of quality Outback racing, Fashions on the Field and trackside marquees packages. When dust finally settles, it's back into town to ponder your winnings (or losses) with a beer or two at the famous Birdsville Hotel.
Day 9 & 10
Start with a late morning races ‘recovery' breakfast at the Birdsville Hotel. Then relax and reminisce about race days gone by with a picnic lunch down at the Old Diamantina Crossing. With most punters now moved on it's time to get out and explore the region – hire a canoe and go fishing down by the Jardine Waterhole or fire up the 4WD and try conquering Big Red.
Day 11 & 12
Meander along the Bilby Way from Birdsville to Bedourie which winds its way past some of the region's most extraordinary sites. Stop overnight at Carcoory Ruins, a National Trust landmark once owned by Sir Sidney Kidman. or pitch your tent at Cuttaburra Crossing and get up close to the amazing array of birdlife that inhabits this permanent waterhole and renowned wetland on Eyre Creek.
Day 13 & 14
Check in the Bedourie Outback Visitors Centre and check out the town's sites. Wander around the Heritage-listed Mud Hut, dip in the hot Artesian Spa, marvel at the street art sculpture, have a beer at the Bedourie Hotel, or test your putting skills at the Bedourie Outback Golf Course. Then, spend your day relaxing in preparation for a wild night of outback Queensland action at the Bedourie Rodeo.
Day 15: Bedourie Races & Ute & Travellers' Muster
Rev up your engines early for the Bedourie Ute & Travellers Muster. Now in its sixth year, it attracts competitors from all around the country keen to pay homage to the good ‘ol Aussie ute. Then it's down to the racecourse for the first race with top betting facilities, food and refreshments and plenty of entrainment on hand. Don't forget to wear pink and help ‘Dress the Desert Pink' to raise money for Breast Cancer research.