You’ll never be at a loose end with a trip to the north Queensland metropolis of Townsville. As if the beaches, islands, Great Barrier Reef, football, shopping, food and entertainment weren't enough, the city is packed with events to monopolise your holiday calendar.
And 2016 marks Townsville’s 150th anniversary, with a year-long program of T150 events, from storytelling to a variety concert, air show and Pacific Festival Parade. Here are just some of the other cracker goings-on in the north to tick off before the year is out.
Groovin’ the Moo
Australia’s only touring regional music festival has been going strong for more than a decade. This year’s Groovin’ the Moo lineup includes electronic wunderkind Alison Wonderland, Sydney two-piece Boo Seeka, and ARIA Award winners Boy & Bear. Indie-rockers British India return to the festival, and US rapper Danny Brown and Perth hip-hop artist Drapht bring the flow.
Townsville Fashion Festival
The Townsville Fashion Festival nurtures talent in North Queensland, as well as from around Australia. The festival includes fashion exhibitions, high-fashion runway shows, outdoor fashion parades, boutique shopping, designer markets and more. Special guest Rachael Finch is set to attend and take part in a Creative Makers Forum.
When the V8 Supercars roll into town for the Castrol EDGE Townsville 400, things really rev up. Apart from the action on the track, there’s a street party with a convoy of favourite drivers, rock concerts, a kids’ zone, freestyle motocross shows, an auto show, and more. Keep your eyes peeled as V8 heroes Mark Winterbottom and Craig Lowndes whizz by.
Australian Festival of Chamber Music
July 29-August 6
Artistic director Piers Lane helms this internationally acclaimed festival, which has been delighting crowds for 25 years. It features 30 concerts over nine days, including family performances, a Governor’s Gala, a concert crawl and a special beach performance on Orpheus Island. Experience the world’s finest musicians performing in Townsville’s tropical winter warmth.
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McDonald’s Townsville Running Festival
The Townsville Running Festival includes a marathon, half-marathon, 10K classic, fun runs for adults and kids and a corporate challenge, all in a picture-perfect setting by the Coral Sea. It attracts thousands of runners and last year ironwoman Sarah Crowley became the first woman in the event’s history to win the marathon.
Townsville Cultural Fest
This not-for-profit festival gets folk, blues and hip-hop and throws it together with Aboriginal music, African drum circles, and Middle Eastern and Pacific Islander dance, along with markets and food stalls from around the world. There are also workshops, fashion, a chai tent and a Zen space for chilling out. Roving performers, art installations and show rides complete the picture.
Intersport Townsville Triathlon Festival
In its 14th year, the weekend festival kicks off with a Carbs With The Stars dinner – that’s pasta by the beach for a Q&A with Ironwoman Courtney Hancock, V8 Supercar driver Will Davison and ARL legend Brent Tate, hosted by Pete Murray and Wayde Chiesa. It then launches into nine events across three days, including a new one-kilometre Ocean Swim and team relays.
SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week
In its 10th year, this event offers first-class racing hosted by beautiful Magnetic Island in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef. It follows on from the Airlie Beach and Hamilton Island Race Weeks and is a fitting end to the Queensland Season of Sailing. There are also community breakfasts, deck parties, markets, music and plenty of beautiful places to celebrate with a drink in hand.
PBR Iron Cowboy
Australia's toughest cowboys locked in a pitched battle with some of the nation's most extreme bucking bulls make for edge-of-your-seat viewing, eight seconds at a time. Rider is pitted against rider in an elimination battle set to pyrotechnics, lasers, and highlighted on mega-screen replays. Catch all the action at the Townsville Entertainment Centre.