The Birdsville races are held on the first Friday and Saturday in September every year. Join a non-stop party in one of the most isolated Outback towns.
The main race, the $28,000 XXXX Gold Birdsville Cup, is internationally acknowledged. It is said to be the Melbourne Cup of the Outback.
Can you imagine what it is like when a tiny town of 100 swells up to 6000 excited race fans within a few days? Not to mention hundreds of cars, caravans and light airplanes. It is an unique event, and you can experience true Australian joy and fun.
Driving to Birdsville is an adventurous journey where you can discover the wonderful Outback scenery, from whichever direction you come. Attending the famous Birdsville races is certainly an unique experience you shouldn't miss.
The first race was held in September 1882. About 150 visitors, station owners and stockmen, visited the first races.
Apart from a few years during World War II, the races have only been cancelled twice.
The first time was in 2007 because of an outbreak of equine influenza. Horse movement was banned in Queensland and New South Wales the week before the races. No horses in Birdsville meant no races.
The second time was 2010 when the main race day had to be cancelled due to pouring rain that set the racecourse under water.
However, these "minor" troubles didn't keep people off, the festivities and entertainment continued during the race weekend.
News: The Birdsville Raceclub won the "festivals and events" category at the Outback Queensland Tourism Awards in 2013 & 2014. Congratulations!
Please note: This page gives general info about the races. Rita's Outback Guide is not a travel agent, or tour operator. If you have further inquiries about the event, accommodation, tickets etc., please contact the Wirrarri Information Centre or the Birdsville Race Club. Thank you.
During the week the tiny town fills up with race-goers from all over Australia. So the party begins early for some people.
Listed below are a few "evergreen" events that you can expect during the week, along with parties and concerts.
Now, 2010 was a race event that really made it into the history charts.
Troubles began when Cooper Creek cut off the Birdsville Track, the main access route from the south. Everyone was worried that the ferry wouldn't manage the crowds heading north to Birdsville. Now, somehow people made it into town. Everyone was ready to celebrate.
The event started as planned, however, torrential rain on Saturday morning (the day of the Gold Birdsville Cup) flooded the race track. At first, the races were postponed from Saturday 4th September to Tuesday 7th September 2010. Still, the party in Birdsville went on.
Finally, the races had to be cancelled. In 128 years history, it was the first time the races were cancelled because of the weather.
Well, the wild weather also had thousands of (wet) travellers stuck in Birdsville for a few days.