Captain Dirk Hartog and crew became the first Europeans on Australian soil when they dropped anchor on Western Australia’s largest island in October 1616. Today, the island that bears Hartog’s name offers opportunities for explorers to discover the natural rugged beauty of the west coast. Fourwheel drive tour company Campfire Escapes has exclusive 4x4 access to the island during this year’s October festivities, which will take place at the lighthouse at Cape Inscription, while tall ships from all over the world will sail into Shark Bay. For more info visit: www. campfireescapes.com.au
Named after one of Australia’s most beloved poets, the annual Henry Lawson Festival will run over the long weekend from June 9 to June 13 at Grenfell, New South Wales. The festival will kick off on the Thursday evening with a special event at the Grenfell Art Gallery.
Art exhibitions, a colourful street procession, children’s rides, street entertainment, including live music and a car show, will be just some of the events over the four days. For more info: www. henrylawsonfestival.com.au
The next Australian 4WD Gathering is due to take place August 19-22, 2016, at the Loveday 4x4 Adventure Park – 32km² of private property on the banks of the Murray River near Barmera, South Australia.
The aim of the gathering is a fun get-together for four-wheel drivers but also to raise muchneeded funds for the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Book a spot at: www.gathering4wd. wix.com/gathering
The 53rd Steam Rally at Echuca Moama will run over the Queen’s Birthday weekend, June 11-12, 2016. This year, the rally will showcase more than 700 exhibits of working equipment from yesteryear, including many old working steam engines – some valued at more than $500,000 – vintage cars and working horse displays. There will be entertainment for every member many other different things to see and experience. The rally is a major community event and is organised annually by the local Rotary club. More info: www.echucasteamrally.com.au ember of the family, with ny jor
The Mareeba Rodeo in Queensland is one of the biggest and most popular rodeos in the country. It has all the usual rodeo events, including the bull ride, saddle bronc, steer wrestling, ladies and junior events, and the battle of the states (Qld vs NSW), held over two days.
The carnival runs much longer and includes street parades, a garden show, the annual agricultural show, stud beef sale and popular woodchop events – it’s a real tropical celebration of all things country. The festival runs from July 2 to July 17, while the action packed rodeo is on July 16 and July 17. More info: www. mareebarodeo.com.au
Newhaven Sanctuary has a lovely little camping area a few hundred kilometres northwest of Alice Springs. Once a cattle station, the property was acquired some years ago by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy. Nowadays it offers campers shade among the mulga, compost toilets, a hot shower, water taps, and fireplaces, plus friendly staff members deliver wood to your tent or camper each afternoon. The cost is just $10 a person per night. For more info: www.australianwildlife. org/sanctuaries/newhavensanctuary. aspx west
The western end of the Telegraph Track through the Cape Arid National Park has been closed to help prevent the spread of the Phytophthora dieback, which has ruined much of Western Australia’s bushland. Access is still possible through the park via the recently opened Pasley Track, which leaves the Fisheries road about 20km east of the junction with the Balladonia track and strikes south-east to meet the eastern end of the Telegraph Track, about 30km west of Point Malcolm.