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Julia Creek Dirt 'N' Dust Festival

Home > Brisbane > Festivals | Long Weekend | Quirky | Unusual Events | Unusual Things to do
by My Splendid Family (subscribe)
Mother of two young children looking to make them smile in the city of Sydney without breaking the bank. Visit my blog at to see what else I get up to.
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Before there was Tough Mudder there was Dirt N Dust
In a small rural town that most Australian's would never even think of going to, with a population of just around 400 people, one of Australia's toughest triathlons takes place. Add in a few quirky side events like bog snorkelling and Australia's Best Butt competition and things start to get interesting. Include a few rural favourites like bull riding and horse racing and then you are starting to attract a crowd. Throw in a concert and a luncheon and you've got yourself a one of a kind weekend festival.

julia creek dirt n dust festival bog snorkelling
Bog Snorkelling at the Julia Creek Dirt 'N' Dust Festival - Image courtesy of the Dirt 'N' Dust Festival

The 23rd Dirt 'N' Dust Festival will be held from Friday 7 April to Sunday 9 April 2017 in Julia Creek, Queensland. The festival is the result of a couple of mates throwing ideas around over a few beers on how to entice visitors to Julia Creek. A really difficult thing to do when you consider its location - 17 hours drive from Brisbane. But with an excess of 3,500 people expected to be in town over the long weekend, it is clear that many see a reason to make the effort to attend this quirky and unique festival.

julia creek dirt n dust festival races
Outback Horse Racing at the Julia Creek Dirt 'N' Dust Festival - Image courtesy of the Dirt 'N' Dust Festival

The festival aims to cater for all ages. Stephen Malone, president of the Julia Creek Dirt 'N' Dust Festival says "It offers something for everyone athletes, families, people of all ages and stages will have a ball". Many of the side events at the festival are free or reasonably priced.

Let's take a closer look at what is happening at the festival ...


The South 32 Julia Creek Dirt 'N' Dust triathlon has been running since 1994 and has seen the likes of Brad Beven, Loretta Harrop, Courtney Atkinson and Emma Jackson compete. Sam Betten, a 4 time winner has said "The Dirt N Dust Triathlon is one of the most unique races in Australia if not the world outback heat and winds make for a tough race." The triathlon consists of a 800m muddy creek swim, a 25km ride into a strong headwind and 5km run in close to 40 degree temperatures. The triathlon is the drawcard of the festival and more than 400 competitors take part in the senior competition. The total prizepool is $8000 with $1000 going to the winner of the senior's open event.

When: Seniors - Saturday, 8th April & Juniors - Friday 7th April 2017
Cost: Seniors $130-145 & Juniors $30
Registration Open: NOW

julia creek dirt n dust festival bog triathlon
Triathlon at the Julia Creek Dirt 'N' Dust Festival - Image courtesy of the Dirt 'N' Dust Festival

Bog Snorkelling

Take a trench filled with mud and water, equip competitors with snorkel and flippers and forbid them to use hands or conventional swimming strokes and tell them to get to the other end of the trench - that's what bog snorkelling is! The results are hilarious and the competitors are keen to reach the other side as soon as possible.

When: 7:40pm Friday, 7th April 2017
Cost: FREE

Australia's Best Butt

Does your butt have what it takes to wiggle and jiggle its way to win the title of Australia's Best Butt? Competitors remain fully clothed - this competition is all about tush dancing and the crowd get the final say as to which male and female have Australia's Best Butt in 2017. The event is outrageous fun for the audience as they laugh at the antics of the competitors attempting to win the title.

When: Heats: 9.35PM Friday, 7th April 2017 Final: 10:30pm Saturday, 8th April 2017
Cost: FREE

julia creek dirt n dust festival best butt competition
Australia's Best Butt Competition at the Julia Creek Dirt 'N' Dust Festival - Image courtesy of the Dirt 'N' Dust Festival

Horse Races

The South 32 Artesian Express Race Day is your chance to attend a real outback race meeting on a dirt track. The trackside Country Tastes Luncheon is held at the race day and there is a Fashions on the Field competition to rival any city race and entertainment for the whole family.

When: Saturday, 8 April 2017. Gates open at 12.30PM
Cost: $15 at the gate. Country Tastes Luncheon pre-booked - Adults $60, Children $20-30


The Dirt 'N' Dust PBR Bullride is a 3 hour non-stop event where cowboys test their ability to stay on a bull for 8 seconds. 40 riders from all over Australia will compete for over $8000 in prize money. Then at 9:30PM, live Aussie music entertainment takes to the stage.

When: Saturday, 8th April 2017, 7PM (gates open at 5:30PM).
Cost: Adults $30, Concession $10, Children FREE. Book online or at the gate. Entry includes Saturday night music concert.

julia creek dirt n dust festival rodeo
Bull riding at the Julia Creek Dirt 'N' Dust Festival - Image courtesy of the Dirt 'N' Dust Festival

Novelty Events

Yabby racing, bog trench swimming cow pat throwing fly swatting have been some of the novelty events in previous years. The details aren't out yet about what whacky events are planned for this year but expect the quirky. Festival organisers know these events make the festival what it is. And everyone can compete in these events - not just athletes.

When: Sunday, 9th April 2017
Cost: FREE

There really is a lot going on across the three days of the festival and too much to do it full justice so for the full schedule of events, go to

Travel & Accomodation

If you live within a drivable distance then consider having that once in a lifetime outback experience and stop along the way to fully experience what the outback has to offer. You can always fly/drive as well if driving all the way is too much.

There are other alternatives to get to the festival including:

-13 day tag-along 4wd tours departing from Brisbane
- 5 day bus tour departing from Brisbane
- Regional Express flights into Julia Creek from Townsville or Mt Isa
- Bus Queensland services Julia Creek regularly
- The Inlander train stops at Julia Creek and departs from Townsville
- Tri Travel offers packages especially designed for triathlon competitors

Motel/Hotel accommodation books up well in advance but there is plenty of accommodation available in Tent City (pre-erected tents), MacIntyre Park Camping (BYO camping gear, powered sites available), and Julia Creek Caravan Park (powered van and grass sites) for those who aren't travelling with a tour. There are many packages available but with BYO camping gear options at MacIntyre Park Camping starting at $15 per person per night, accommodation is very affordable.
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Why? A quirky outback festival for your bucket list
When: Friday 7th - Sunday 9th April, 2017
Phone: 0448 901 392
Where: Julia Creek, Queensland
Cost: Ticketed and FREE events
Your Comment
Sounds like so much fun, My Splendid Family!
by Elaine (score: 3|6390) 931 days ago
Great article! Sounds like a great event!
by Jay Johnson (score: 3|1368) 931 days ago
"Bog snorkelling", didn't know that was a thing! Nice article
by Lucinda (score: 2|342) 930 days ago
Laughing at the best butt one! great article
by Brooke. A. R (score: 2|405) 930 days ago
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