For a celebration of all things vintage and country, head to Miles, four hoursí drive west of Brisbane. The Back To The Bush Festival will run from September 6 to 9 and is packed with entertainment, including vintage aircraft, beer tasting, camp-oven cooking, a bush poetís breakfast in the streets of Miles Historical Village, 4WD tagalong tours, and a number of musical acts. See www.backtothebushfestival.com.au for full details.
Bring your fishing gear for the chance to snare a barra or sleepy cod at the Lake Moondarra Fishing Classic, held 17km north of Mount Isa, QLD, from October 27 to 29. Besides the fishing and casting competitions, there will also be a dragon boat regatta, a beach volleyball event and yabby races to keep everyone entertained. The lake is surrounded by shady trees, with a number of picnic/ barbecue areas dotted around it for families. The lake is a goldmine for birdwatchers, with pelicans, cormorants and other native and introduced birds found in this area all the time. See blog.queensland.com for more information.
The four-day 4WD Octoberfest is a brilliant 4x4 escape, where off-roading clubs converge on the Willangi Bush Escapes campground. The long weekend event (September 29 to October 2) comprises tagalong tours, camp-cooking competitions, a performance by the Strickland Road Band on the Saturday, Sunday night kidsí movies, a night navigation event, and a 4WDSA Big Brekky aimed at raising funds for the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Vehicle numbers are limited (120) and the cost is $155 per vehicle (includes camping and track fees). Itís a great event for a great cause. For more info, visit www.mountloftyrangers.com.au
The Melbourne Showgrounds will be transformed into a 4x4 touring, camping, boating and fishing mecca from August 17 to 19. More than 200 exhibitors will showcase their latest and greatest gear, with crowds expected to exceed 35,000. Along with new 4x4 vehicles, plenty of cool aftermarket accessories, and oodles of camper trailers and boats, the regular highlights will be there. The VW Amarok Proving Ground, the CFX Outback Stage and the Catch and Cook stage are just some of the informative sessions visitors can attend while at the show. See 4x4show.com.au/melbourne for all info.
With spring comes snowmelt, which also means the Vic High Countryís many waterways are flowing, making it an ideal destination for keen paddlers. This region has a number of rivers suited to various skill levels, from beginners/ families through to white-water warriors. With its gentle flow and many put-in points, the Ovens River is an ideal family destination. The paddle from Bright to Porepunkah is a great option (you can hire kayaks from local guiding companies, who will also organise pickups). Another great still-water adventure is exploring Mt Buffalo Parkís Lake Catani in a canoe. Visit www.victoriashighcountry.com.au
Head to Sydney Showground at Sydney Olympic Park from September 20 to 23, and check out (or buy) the latest caravans, camper-trailers, camping equipment, and boating and fishing gear. Thereíll be some new 4x4s to gawk at too, along with accessories. For tips and advice, the expo has plenty of experts on-site, daily demonstrations and free kidsí entertainment. Thereís also the Discover Zone, where you can plan your next holiday park stay. See caravanexpo.com for more information.
For those keen to experience the richness of Red Centre culture, head to Alice Springs and check out the Desert Song Festival from September 7 to 16. The festival attracts musicians from all over central Australia and showcases the unique multicultural vibe. This is the festivalís fifth year and its continuing growth is recognised nationally as one of Ozís major music and cultural festivals. See www.desertsong.com. au for more info.