Hamilton Island Race Week – Queensland Events

Be our plus one? Queensland events you can’t miss in 2020

There’s something special about Queensland.

Beyond the landscapes that make you unable to put down your camera, or the adventures that stay with you a lifetime.

There’s understated charm and character to our state. And there’s no better way to feel it first-hand than at an event. (Best yet – these just so happen to be in those picture-perfect destinations too!)

Fine dine on the beach, dance to your favourite musician at Australia’s biggest country music festival, or see a world-exclusive four day opera.

Have a real outback experience, and connect with Queensland’s Indigenous culture.

Witness the biggest battles: whether that’s the Wallabies vs All Blacks, international surfing superstars or your favourite NRL team.

So mark your calendar and save the date(s) – 2020 is going to be a huge year of Queensland events you can’t miss!

The Star Gold Coast Magic Millions Carnival | Gold Coast

The Star Gold Coast Magic Millions Carnival | Queensland events

When: 3-14 January 2020

All that glitters is Gold Coast during Magic Millions.

For 12 days in January, this beach-side city transforms into a world of glitz and glam as it plays host to the most prestigious horse racing carnival in Queensland.

Don your best attire and giddy up at The Star Gold Coast Millions Raceday. Stomp the divots on the field at Pacific Fair Magic Millions Polo.

Rise early for The Barrier Draw which kicks off at sunrise on Surfers Paradise. Because where else in the world will you see thoroughbreds galloping along the beach?

Either way, you’ll be playing among the who’s who at Magic Millions.

While you’re here: Get your glamour on and dive into the best of the Gold Coast.

CMC Rocks QLD | Brisbane

CMC Rocks QLD | Queensland events

When: 20-22 March 2020

It’s time to get a little dirt on those boots.

Brisbane’s as friendly as a big country town – so it seems fitting that the country’s biggest international country music festival has made its home here.

Head a little west to Ipswich’s Willowbank Raceway to camp under the stars after a feast of talent from more than 30 acts over three tune-filled days. This year’s hot country line-up includes Miranda Lambert, Morgan Evans and Kip Moore.

While you’re here: explore like a local or get your fill of country vistas in the Scenic Rim.

Corona Open Gold Coast | Gold Coast

World Surf League Gold Coast Pro | Queensland events

When: 26 March – 5 April 2020

When it comes to waves worth watching (and world class athletes too), there’s no better place to sit in the sand than the southern Gold Coast in March.

Quiet Coolangatta swells with energy as surfing’s biggest names take to the water to battle it out at the Corona Open Gold Coast.

Much more than high-fives and heat wins – this comp feels more like a party. Expect meet & greets, live music and a lotta fun.

While you’re here: do as the locals do with this 48 hour guide to Coolangatta and surf the state’s best waves (even if you don’t have the pro status).

NRL Magic Round | Brisbane

NRL Magic Round Brisbane

When: 1-3 May 2020

Footy fan? You’ll want to clear your calendar for Magic Round – where all nine games of the 2020 premiership round will play out over three massive days at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium.

This is your chance to see all of the league’s best players and be among the action of Brisbane’s festival of football. Away from the sidelines, there’ll be plenty to eat, drink and do around the Broncos’ heartland of Caxton Street too.

While you’re here: Discover Brisbane’s laneways, cool off with a swim at nearby waterfalls or get a bird’s eye view at these rooftop bars.

Noosa Eat & Drink Festival | Sunshine Coast

Noosa Eat & Drink Festival | Queensland events

When: 14-17 May 2020

Dinner and a show is done a little different in Queensland.

Dine on the state’s best produce with your feet in the sand at Noosa Eat & Drink Festival.

Running over five gourmet days, this event celebrates what makes dining out in Queensland great. From locally-caught seafood to hand-harvested wines, it showcases the very best food, wines and culinary talent from Queensland and around the world.

Cheers to the opening cocktail party on Noosa Main Beach, sign up for a master class in the Festival Village, head out on a hinterland foraging tour, and linger over long lunches.

There’s a line-up of more than 100 events. What’s in store for 2020? Watch this space.

While you’re here: feast your way around town and walk it off at this national park.

Cairns Airport Ironman Asia-Pacific Championships | Tropical North Queensland

Cairns IRONMAN | sporting events

When: 7 June 2020

Up for a challenge?

Ironman returns to the tropics in 2020, so you can test your limits where two World Heritage-listed icons touch – the Great Barrier Reef and Wet Tropics Rainforest.

With a backdrop as breath-taking as the course – there’s a more than a few reasons why it’s become known as IRONMAN in Paradise.

Dive head first into the balmy waters of one of the most beautiful beaches in Queensland for a 3.8km swim. Cycle the spectacular 180km Captain Cook Highway hugging the coastline from Cairns to Port Douglas. Then cross the finish line after a run along the stunning Cairns boardwalk to the heart of the city.

While you’re here: discover Cairns’ iconic experiences or dial up the adventure to a 10.

Birdsville Big Red Bash | Outback Queensland

Birdsville Big Red Bash | Queensland events

When: 7-9 July 2020

Queensland’s wildest backyard party returns, and you’re invited.

The showstoppers here at Big Red Bash aren’t just the headliners (which this year includes Paul Kelly and Ian Moss), but the sunsets over 40-metre-high sand dune Big Red, and the big sky lit up by star-studded Milky Way.

Set up your camp and get amongst the festival atmosphere. You’ll feel the guitar riffs and bass-lines fill the desert, and before you know it, you’ll be rocking out to the most remote music festival in the world.

No wonder it sold out in record time this year (so if you missed out, get planning for 2021!).

While you’re here: Embark on the epic road trip from Brisbane to the Bash, and make sure you tick off these three Birdsville must-dos.

Cairns Indigenous Art Fair | Tropical North Queensland

Cairns Indigenous Art Fair

When: 10-12 July 2020

Did you know Queensland is the only state in the country where you can experience both of Australia’s Indigenous cultures?

They’ve been telling stories through art since before the reef was born. And your chance to experience this first-hand is during Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, which showcases art from fashion and painting to film screenings and live performances. You’ll also be able to meet talented artists and learn the history behind their work.

Come for the fair and explore a little more. One thing’s for sure, these are stories worth uncovering.

While you’re here: get your nature-fix from Cairns to Mission Beach, find these secret swimming spots, and experience more local Indigenous culture.

Hamilton Island Race Week | The Whitsundays

Hamilton Island Race Week

When: 15-22 August 2020

Every August, spectators and yachties from around the globe make their way to Hamilton Island Race Week – Australia’s largest offshore keelboat regatta.

Set sail for the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, where you’ll tack and jive amongst the Whitsunday Islands. Competitors, family and friends come together – it’s a carnival on and off the water with live music, fun runs and festival activities.

While you’re here: spend 48 hours on Hamilton Island, island-hop after the race, and get to know some of the other Great Barrier Reef islands.

Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers | Southern Queensland Country

Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers

When: September 2020

Stop and smell the roses (and orchids and geraniums) at Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers.

The city’s gardens burst with colour during this ten day floral fiesta that celebrates spring – and pulses with the energy of the thousands of people each day who flock to see it.

Beyond the flower power, there’s a food festival, sideshow alley, grand parade and line-up of live entertainment to enjoy.

While you’re here: stay for a long weekend, feast your way through the town and explore more of Southern Queensland Country.

Birdsville Races | Outback Queensland

Birdsville Races

When: 4-5 September 2020

Forget the race that stops the nation, this equally-iconic race is near Queensland’s huge organic cattle station (we’re talking three-million-hectares-huge!)

Experience a weekend at the races with a good dose of outback character.

The road trip here is half the fun, but it doesn’t stop once you arrive.

This small one-pub town swells to a population of thousands to watch the action, and a spot to sleep is hot real estate – with some people camped out under their planes each evening.

Away from the red-dirt track, there’s toy horse races, twilight cinema, live music and an excuse to doll yourself up a little different for Fashions on the .

While you’re here: here’s 12 awesome things to do plus how to nail novelty Fashions on the Field. Arrive in town a few days earlier to get your fill at the Birdsville Beer, Wine & Food Festival – held 1-2 September 2020.

The Bledisloe Cup | Brisbane

Bledisloe Cup | Queensland events

When: October 2020

Prepare for the ultimate showdown as the Wallabies and All Blacks battle it out on Brisbane turf at the Bledisloe Cup.

Make this blockbuster sporting event your must-do in 2020. There’ll be nearly 90 years of rugby rivalry coming to a head.

While you’re here: Explore the city’s craft beer bars or side trip to North Stradbroke Island.

Supercars Vodafone Gold Coast 600 | Gold Coast

Supercars Vodafone Gold Coast 600 | Queensland events

When: 30 October – 1 November 2020

There’s one weekend of the year where the Gold Coast is better known for supercars than surfers.

Get set for the GC 600: when beachside streets transform into a world-class track, and you get a front row seat to watch internationally acclaimed drivers as they skid by, burning rubber and winning hearts. 2020 will mark the 30th year of the event – and it’ll be back with a different spin, as Supercars’ first ever night street race!

Walk the Surfers Paradise street track, find your favourite spot and settle in to watch the V8 Supercars, Hot Wheel Utes and Super Trucks do what they do best.

The high-octane atmosphere continues off track with meet-and-greets, a huge music festival lineup and helicopter tours.

While you’re here: get the most out of your weekend with this guide and hit the best beaches on the coast.

The Ring Cycle | Brisbane

The Ring Cycle Brisbane opera | Queensland events 2020

When: 10 November – 5 December 2020

The stage is set for a truly world-class opera experience, as The Ring Cycle comes to the River City.

Explore the retelling Wagner’s legendary tale through a futuristic lens, thanks to a spectacular new production by visionary Chinese director Chen Shi-Zheng.

It’s a 15 hour epic performed over four nights, with an international cast of opera stars, immersive virtual effects, costumes and props.

Get in quick as more than half tickets have already sold, with people travelling from around the world to see it.

One thing’s for sure: South Bank’s cultural heart will beat a little louder during The Ring Cycle.

While you’re here: dine at Brisbane’s best restaurants or take a day trip to explore Queensland’s south east corner.


Dive deeper into what’s on in 2020: check out the calendar of Queensland events here.