7 must do horse races in Queensland

Fillies and fascinators: must-see Queensland horse racing events

From blue-blood thoroughbreds to the masterful skill of an outback horseman, Queensland horse racing carnivals offer heart-stopping action in some of Australia’s most colourful and character-filled destinations.

Strap in and giddy-up for 2020 – we’re bringing some of the Sunshine State’s best!

The Star Gold Coast Magic Millions Carnival: 3-14 January 2020

Magic Millions Carnival

A Gold Coast carnival that brings Australia’s richest race day to life ticking boxes for fashionistas and equine pros alike. With the ocean ahead and sand below, there’s something magical about seeing horses gallop down the beach. The Barrier Draw, which kicks off at sunrise on Surfers Paradise beach, Magic Millions Race Day and the Pacific Fair Magic Millions Polo are just some of the events that make the carnival a celebration of all things summer and racing.

Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival: 17-19 April 2020

Julia Creek Dirt and Dust Festival

And they’re off! Head out to Julia Creek and back a winner at the Artesian Express Outback Horse Races during the Dirt n Dust Festival (where bog snorkelling was made famous).

Stomp your boots all night at the outdoor concert or catch the spectacular Dirt n Dust Bullride for a rush of adrenalin.

Birdsville Races: 4-5 September 2020

Birdsville Races

You haven’t really been to a Queensland horse racing event until you’ve made the trek to the Birdsville Races.

Turn the pages of the history books back to 1882 when the races first launched in this remote corner of Outback Queensland, near the South Australia border.

Now flick forward to today, where this tiny town of just 100 swells to some 6000 as racegoers flock to see the 13-race program which commands $200,000 in prize money. Curiously, the Birdsville track is only one of four in Queensland that runs anti-clockwise. But then again, they do everything a little differently out here.

The Birdsville Races are part of the Simpson Desert Racing Carnival that incorporates events in Birdsville, Bedourie, and Betoota. And if you’re keen for even more outback horse race experiences, make your way to the Alpha Races, Thangool Races, Quilpie Cup or Roma Picnic Races.

Here’s a few other bucket-list worthy things to do while you’re here for the Birdsville Races.

Boulia Camel Races: 17-19 July 2020

Boulia Camel Races 2020

So while it’s technically not horse racing, it’s a heck of a lot of fun – and that’s enough to make the cut.

If you’ve never seen a camel race, Boulia is the place to be. The tiny outback town bursts at the seams with around 3000 people making the pilgrimage to watch the hotly contested Camel Cup races. Away from the track, there are camel rides, skydivers, belly dancers, market stalls and live music to keep you entertained.

Cairns Amateur Racing Carnival: 10-12 September 2020

What began as a small meeting in 1959, designed to bring city and country together, has expanded over the years to become one of Australia’s premier spring horse racing carnivals.

Experience something a little different at Cairns Amateur Racing Carnival, where the racing fashion, glam and entertainment meets the casual climes of Tropical North Queensland.