Nude Beach Olympics
When: January 26
The lowdown: This memorable spectacle is not for the faint-hearted as boobs, penises and other wobbly bits jostle for attention every Australia Day. Rarely has so much sunscreen been readily splashed on, as entrants try and stop their most unseemly places getting frazzled. The clothes-free dangle-athon occurs on Maslin Beach. Thousands flock to its golden sands to join in pursuits like the nude three-legged race and best bum competition. Rumour has it that half of the country’s police force is also drafted in, to keep tabs on the peeping Toms.
More info: www.maslinbeach.net
When: January 26
The lowdown: When they said that you could bring your own cockroaches, I was hoping they weren’t a local delicacy, or I might just have given the invite a miss. However, instead of being left to lurk under fridges, here they put the pesky blighters through their paces in a wacky race. The whole dirtfest starts when the insects are chucked into a small circle, with the winner being the one that makes it to the edge first. And, in an event run by the Story Bridge Hotel, there’s more betting than at the GGs.
More info: www.cockroachraces.com.au
Beer Can Regatta
The lowdown: Believe me, after I’ve had a few tinnies, I can get up to all sorts of misdemeanours. Nevertheless, one thing I’ve never thought of is building a boat out of the empties. The action takes place on Mindil Beach. And, despite the fact that Admiral Nelson might not have cast off to battle in hunks of junk, the weird craft definitely make for a fun day out.
More info: www.beercanregatta.org.au
Boorowa Irish Woolfest
Where: New South Wales
The lowdown: In Pamplona, they have the running of the bulls: a helter-skelter adrenalin rush where one’s life can be ended at any moment. Here on the other hand, well, there’s the running of the sheep. Yes, everybody’s favourite frizzy piece of mutton is set loose to ‘rampage’ through the streets. And if that isn’t too much excitement for one day, there’s also sheep shagging, sorry shearing, in the ‘blessing of the fleece’.
More info: www.irishwoolfest.boorowa.net
The Ideas Festival
When: March 25-29
The lowdown: I only get a decent notion about once a decade. So I was happy to attend a do that wasn’t just reserved for bright sparks who’ve got a quantum mechanics manual shoved up their arse. This cultural gem originated, in 2001, to celebrate invention, innovation and foster debate – and I’m not talking about you arguing with your mate over who can sink their schooner the fastest! Concepts that are particularly important in this nod to high-IQ wannabes include ecology and ethics, self and society.
More info: www.ideasfestival.com.au
Where: Mount Isa
When: August 12-14
The lowdown: Mount Isa’s Buchanan Park has been hosting this gritty mud-drenched encounter for over 50 years, which makes it about as old as my granddad’s current set of false teeth. And like them it’s got a lot of bite, being a reminder that the Yanks are not the only ones with a Wild West. Thus, saddle up and bring your favourite checked shirt, but be ready to take part in some contests that sound so zany you might think you’re starring in a DIY fetish sex-manual: bareback, ladies breakaway roping, saddlebronc and steer wrestling…
More info: www.isarodeo.com.au
When: March 11-14
The lowdown: Australia’s largest free community fair is held annually during Victoria’s Labour Day long weekend. Since it began in 1965, a carnival, fireworks and band performances – including ABBA, Neil Diamond and AC/DC – have all been part of the spectacular. Arguably, the craziest highlights are based in and around the River Yarra. As well as a myriad of floats and water skiing, there’s also the strangest thing since that golfer Tiger was caught repeatedly trying to get his wood into the wrong bunker, the Birdman Rally. Witness a host of flying contraptions leaping off Princess Bridge trying to defy gravity.
More info: www.moombafestival.com.au
Tara Multicultural Festival Camel Races
When: August 5-7
The lowdown: Everybody enjoys a bit of humping. So it’s no surprise that we’ve been using camels to transport things since before time began. And the good folks in Tara have even got them zooming humans down a dusty track. And boy, what a good idea! Because the ships-of-the desert deserve a lot more than just being chopped into a substandard meat pie that even a dog would turn its nose up at. But this shindig has a global aspect too; be prepared for Aboriginal, Brazilian and Maori entertainments and even a German beer festival. What more invitation do you need to get as sloshed as a Kaiser?
More info: www.outbacknow.com.au
Where: Port Lincoln
When: January 21-26
The lowdown: Some people might say that tossing off can be a bit fishy. Nonetheless, more than 35,000 individuals head to Port Lincoln each year to see huge pieces of meat get a thrashing. Indeed, in the World Championship Tuna Toss, male and female competitors attempt to hurl the said marine critter as far as they can. Incidentally, the record lob of 37.23 metres was set by former Olympic hammer thrower Sean Carlin, in 1998. Other ways for visitors to let off steam are the Slippery Pole and Grand Tasman Hotel Beach Babe & Boardies contests. And if either of those doesn’t grab you by the short and curlies, there’s a fireworks display and kooky street procession.
More info: www.tunarama.net