They don’t call it the Sunshine State for nothing; the vast majority of Queensland experiences an average of eight and nine hours of sunshine a day. In addition to sunshine though, Queensland is also a busy state with a revolving calendar of annual events. To see parts of the state in action, consider timing your Queensland holiday to one of the following events.
The Jeep Magic Millions Raceday, Gold Coast
Australia’s richest race day attracts an international audience, where horses race to secure a slice of the AU$4.7 million in prize money.
The Brisbane International presented by Suncorp
Attention tennis fans! Don’t miss the Brisbane International in January, which is widely regarded as the warm-up to the Australian Open.
The Chinchilla Melon Festival
Celebrate all things that ‘It’s a Knockout’ is loved for at the Chinchilla Melon Festival, an event that combines hair-raising, thrill-inducing activities with, well, watermelons. Try your hand at melon skating, melon tossing and melon bungee – to name a few – in 2017’s four-day bonanza.
The Burleigh Pro, Gold Coast
Time your visit to Queensland to coincide with the Burleigh Pro and see the country’s best surfers in action. Located at one of Australia’s best surf spots, Burleigh Heads, the surfing competition takes place over three days and includes some of the world’s most talented male and female competitors.
World Science Festival, Brisbane
In its inaugural outing, this five-day homage to all things science will spoil with debates, interactive exhibits, workshops and artistic performances, covering myriad topics: from Albert Einstein to global warming.
CMC Rocks, Queensland
Across multiple venues, CMC Rocks boasts the title of the “biggest international country and roots festival in the Southern Hemisphere”. Expect country vibes aplenty, reinforced by performing musicians from all over the planet.
Julia Creek Dirt ’n’ Dust Festival
Now in its 22nd year, Julia Creek is a three-day weekend festival featuring the very best in Outback hospitality.
Gold Coast Film Festival, Surfers Paradise
International features meet local indie gems at this 10-day film festival set by golden sands. The programme also includes SIPFest – the Gold Coast’s biggest short-film festival with experts onsite to judge and award more than AU$5,000 in prizes to competitors.
Captain Cook 1770 Festival
Running for over two decades, the Captain Cook 1770 Festival commemorates Australia's roots, marking the date (24th May) when Cook and his crew first landed in Queensland. The celebrations at the SES Grounds in Agnes Water include a 20-minute firework display, street parades, historical re-enactments, market stalls, live music and period costume in abundance.
Port Douglas Carnivale
Celebrating 22 years in 2016, the Port Douglas Carnivale is a festive celebration of food, fun and family in beautiful Port Douglas. Be sure to check out the new (and somewhat unusual) inclusion to the festival repertoire: the National Esky Racing Championships.
Cooly Rocks On, Gold Coast
In May-June, Coolangatta and Tweed Heads will come alive with rock’n’roll fever. More than 50 Australian rock’n’roll and rockabilly bands will perform alongside international artists, and over 1,300 cars will line the streets for one of the biggest car displays ever staged in Australia.
Relish Food and Wine Festival, Fraser Coast
If live music, gourmet grub and cooking workshops delivered by celebrity chefs are your bag, head to Maryborough for the thoroughly delicious Relish Festival.
Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival, Winton
A celebration of Australian film in the Outback throughout June and July, under a spectacular canopy of stars.
Gympie Music Muster
Watch the serene Amamoor State Forest transform into a heaving celebration of all things country and music.
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week
Australia’s largest offshore sailing regatta offers an experience like no other: navigating the crystal-clear waters of the Whitsundays.
Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers
Food, wine and all things gardens, the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers is colour in the heart of Southern Queensland. There are gardens to explore, wine and food tours to indulge in and even classic car and railway events to enjoy.
Gladstone Seafood Festival
Everyone knows seafood tastes even better at the coast and, with this day-long event, you’ll get to try a range of fishy food – think fresh barramundi and mud crab – as well as watching cooking demonstrations by celebrity chef Alastair McLeod.
Brisbane International Garden Show
Queensland is all about unique landscapes, making it the perfect spot for creating a unique garden. This iconic show offers incredible displays for gardens of all sizes, not to mention demos and workshops for helping you create your own perfect plot of well-manicured land.
Caloundra Music Festival
Bringing the Sunshine Coast to life with an eclectic mix of live art, performers and carnival entertainment, the four-day Caloundra Music Festival is all about celebrating the region’s diverse character and culture. So if you really want to get under the skin of the Queensland lifestyle, here’s the place to do it.
Airlie Beach Festival of Music
National artists perform over three days, set against a laid-back island landscape. Bliss.
Jupiters Pan Pacific Masters Games
Now in its 10th outing, this Gold Coast athletic event hosts more than 40 different sports, from swimming to taekwondo. Anyone can enter (minimum age permitting) and anyone can spectate. Basically: anything goes in this fun, spirited sporting festival.
Woodford Folk Festival
Escape reality and immerse yourself in cultures near and far when more than 2,000 performers appear in concerts, dances, street theatre, comedy sessions and so much more! Whether you’re inclined to move, laugh or listen, camping on-site is the best way to get among the festivities.
Australia PGA Championship
The country’s oldest professional golfing tournament is held on the Gold Coast, where athletes will navigate a gruelling series of bunkers and holes in a bid to clinch the Championship title. For any sporting fanatic, it’s an event not to be missed; be sure to book your tickets well in advance though.