This is the 19th year of one of Australia’s favourite outback events. Held over 10 days, from May 17 to May 26, the Argyle Diamonds Ord Valley Muster, on the banks of the Ord River in the East Kimberley region of WA, will be a cracker. With more than 30 events on offer including a dance/dinner/concert evening, rodeo and the Kimberley Moon Experience, it will be awesome. See www.ordvalleymuster.com.au for more info.
This brilliant fishing festival has been running for a quarter of a century – an impressive effort, but easily understood when you see what’s on offer. The festival provides anglers not only the chance to throw a line in at the World Heritage-listed Shark Bay (and potentially snare some of the $10K-plus in prize money) but also to sit back and enjoy great live entertainment or the sponsor’s auction. Run over the week of Friday, May 17 to Friday, May 24 the Fiesta includes family activities, bar and food outlets, and art and craft workshops. See www.sharkbayfishingfiesta.com for more info.
It’s on again! The first round of the ARB Australian Off Road Racing Championship (and Round 3 of the Victorian Off Road Club Shield) will be held Friday, April 26, to Sunday, April 28. With its mix of four-wheel drive buggies, wagons and more, this event will keep the crowds entertained over the three days, without a doubt! The ARB Sunraysia 400 is held at Keera Station on Lake Cullulleraine (near Mildura), and is a belter of an event for anyone keen on watching off- road driving skills displayed at their best by the hard- charging field. Check out www.offroadracing.com.au for more information.
Running from Thursday, April 4 to Sunday, April 7, this celebration of all things High Country cattlemen is the ideal family-friendly event. Based in Corryong, the festival provides plenty of entertainment: horse-riding events (including camp-draft, rodeo and more), the Man From Snowy River Challenge, bush poetry, working cattle- dog championships, a number of music acts, and the re-enactment of the famous poem itself. Add in street activities and plenty of things to keep the young’uns busy, it’s not to be missed. Visit www.bushfestival.com.au for more info.
Lock in Tuesday, April 30 to Sunday, May 5 and head out to Sydney’s Rosehill Gardens Racecourse for the latest and greatest camping and caravanning products, at the Caravan Camping Industry Association NSW (CCIANSW) Caravan Camping Holiday Supershow. As well as all the shiny new gear from the country’s best caravan and camping brands, there’ll be live demonstrations from industry experts and interactive product displays. There’ll be food stalls, plenty of free activities for the kids, and visitor competitions to enter. See www.supershow.com.au for more info.
Head out to South Australia’s famous opal town for the 31st running of this brilliant festival. Scheduled to run from Friday, June 21 to Sunday, June 23, the Coober Pedy Opal Festival has something for everyone. There will be opal displays, tours, a massive street parade, fireworks and plenty of live music. There will also be a speedway event on the Sunday. While you are there, be sure to tackle a tour of an opal mine, or explore some of the town’s surrounding four- wheel drive tracks – there are plenty out there. Check out www.opalfestival.com.au for more information.
A chance to celebrate the early drovers’ way of life. Run by the Boggabri Lions Club, the Drovers’ Campfire, scheduled for April 24 to 28, includes tours of the surrounding area (including fishing on the Namoi River and exploring Mt Kaputar NP) as well as different activities for all ages such as heavy horse displays and – always a real favourite – damper cooking. Each evening sees everyone who has enjoyed the day’s activities congregate around a ‘drover’s campfire’ for a yarn and to relive the day’s experiences. See www.droverscampfire.com.au for more info.
For those keen to tackle the crossing of the Simpson Desert before the hordes arrive, note down 6pm on March 15 as Day Zero, as that is when access is open for 2019. The Simmo is one of the world’s best examples of a parallel dune desert. It sprawls across two states (SA and QLD) and the NT and includes Munga- Thirri–Simpson Desert Regional Reserve. There’s plenty of desert wildlife to spot, too. See www.parks.sa.gov.au for info.