Get ready for one of the toughest, muddiest adventures with this guide to the ultimate dirty weekend in Outback Queensland at the Julia Creek Dirt N Dust Festival. With over 2000 eager visitors descending upon the town, along with 400 locals ready to show them how it’s done at a rodeo, race and Australia’s Best Butt Competition, the Julia Creek Dirt N Dust Festival is THE place to be from Thursday, April 20, to Sunday, April 21, 2024. It’s a party so epic, even the tumbleweeds are practicing their dance moves! 

From stalls peddling the finest local produce to artisans showcasing their crafty creations, this festival has something for everyone.  Get ready to hold onto your hats as the adrenaline pumps through your veins at the rodeo, where even the wildest bull would tip its hat in respect. Then strap yourselves in for the horse races that’ll have you cheering until your horse (pun intended). Don’t forget about Australia’s most iconic event: the Australia’s Best Butt Competition! Because what’s a festival without a little cheeky fun? 

Grab your mates, grab your boots, and get ready to saddle up for a weekend you won’t soon forget. Julia Creek Dirt N Dust Festival: where the dust flies, the boots stomp, and the fun never ends! 

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Julia Creek Dirt N Dust mud swim

How long has this been going on? 

Once upon a time, in the dusty wildwest of Julia Creek, a legendary tale unfolded. It all started in 1994, where all great stories begin: the local watering hole, Julia Creek Town and Country Club. A group of locals huddled around the bar, pondering the age-old question of how to put their humble town on the map and unite the community. 

After a few rounds of spirited discussion (and probably a few more rounds of drinks), inspiration struck like lightning in a desert storm. They decided to create an event that would showcase the rugged beauty of the outback during a time when visitors were scarcer than a dingo in a haystack. And thus, the Julia Creek Dirt N Dust Festival was born! 

Imagine a triathlon unlike any other, set against the unforgiving backdrop of the outback, featuring heart-pounding bull rides and toe-tapping live music. Fast forward to today, and this once modest gathering has blossomed into a full-blown extravaganza! 

Now the festival lineup reads like a love letter to adrenaline junkies and music lovers alike. We’re talking rodeos that’ll make your heart race faster than a kangaroo on Red Bull, adventure runs that’ll have you dodging emus like a true outback warrior, and horse races that’ll leave you breathless (and maybe a little horse, pun intended). 

As the sun sets over the dusty horizon, the real party begins with live concerts under the twinkling outback stars. And let’s not forget the ever-expanding campground, where tales of festival shenanigans are born and friendships are forged over campfires and cold beers. 

Propping up the bar at a Julia Creek pub with travel friend Ivy Carruth.


Julia Creek sign post


I’ve had the pleasure of attending this rip-roaring fiesta twice, judging Australia’s Best Butt Competition as a highlight I won’t soon forget! It’s a hilarious hootenanny filled with laughter, camaraderie, and goodwill that’s as contagious as a case of the giggles. 

Getting to the other side of the Dirt N Dust mud pool is worth celebrating!

Julia Creek pub bar
Julia Creek Dirt N Dust competitors

Grab your mates, grab your boots, and get ready to saddle up for a weekend you won’t soon forget!

Australia’s Best Butt Competition 

The legendary Australia’s Best Butt Competition had its humble beginnings during a memorable moment at the Julia Creek Dirt N Dust Festival. A power outage struck during a live Mental As Anything set, throwing the crowd into darkness. But instead of chaos, a brilliant idea lit up the night – someone grabbed a torch and started a spontaneous dance competition! 

From the darkness emerged one of the toughest contests of the Dirt N Dust weekend – Australia’s Best Butt! Open to anyone brave enough to showcase their derrière prowess, this competition is not for the faint-hearted.  

It’s good clean fun, however, and no butts are exposed during the judging process. Exposing your butt will lead to disqualification! 

Cowboys lining up for some rodeo action not the Australia’s Best Butt Competition!

Julia Creek rodeo cowboys
Julia Creek Dirt N Dust

First Timer’s Guide to Julia Creek Dirt N Dust Festival 

Here’s what to expect at the festival. 


If you want the best camping spot it’s always the early bird that gets the worm here. Arrive on Thursday for whatever spots are left and settle in. Camping is available at the Julia Creek Campground and also at the showgrounds during this peak season for the district. 

The gates open at Dirt N Dust Central at 4 pm. 


Trade stall displays open at 9 am and the Dirt N Dust Central gates open at 5pm. The rodeo action starts at 6 pm with a Calf Ride for children aged seven to twelve years. This also is your chance to line up for the Best Butts Competition heats. 


Hope you didn’t party too hard last night, because the South 32 DnD Outback Adventure Run, aka the wildest, dirtiest race in the outback, kicks off at the crack of dawn! Get ready to laugh your way through the muck and mud to the finish line! 

After a good scrub to wash off all that grime, it’s time to glam up for a day at the racetrack for the Multicom Resources’s Artesian Express Outback Horse Races. Our gal group had such a blast that we practically had to be lassoed away to the next event! The fortune teller was scarily spot-on, the horse races had us on the edge of our seats, and the crowd was a merry band of joyous revelers. 

As the sun dips below the horizon, it’s off to the rodeo colosseum to watch bull riders duke it out for the buckle and hefty cash prizes in the Multicom Bronc Ride. But the highlight of the evening? The crowning of Australia’s Best male and female Butt, while the crowd boogies down into the night! It’s a party you won’t want to miss! 


Join in the Recovery Breakfast at Dirt N Dust Central. 

Get all the details on the Dirt N Dust Festival

Need to know 

  • Book your accommodation early. This is a small town, and the best spots sell out quickly. I stayed at Julia Creek Caravan Park in a single room with shared bathroom facilities at the end of the block. It was comfortable but basic with wire frame beds that reminded me of where I slept as a child and not a single mirror in the room. There are free RV camping spots along the creek and campsites at McIntrye Park. 
  • Julia Creek Caravan Park has fabulous private outdoor baths in cute little huts so jump in early to book a session here. Add a food platter to enjoy while you are bathing, but bring your own drinks. 
  • Spot the rare and elusive Julia Creek Dunnart at the Information Centre. These tiny mouse like creatures scuttle around their enclosure very busily. Time your visit for feeding time and you’ll see lots of activity. 
  • There’s a great shop in the main street chock full of great fashion, homewares and local produce. 
  • Head to the pub for a game of pool. 
  • The cafes in town shut early but you can still get plenty to eat at the corner store. 
  • Stroll around the town to see the 30 m high wine glass shaped water tower lit up in the night sky. 
  • The Julia Creek Swimming Pool has a large water park. 
  • Discover more things to do in Julia Creek

A cheeky smile from a Julia Creek dunnart.

Julia Creek dunnart
Julia Creek outdoor bath
Julia Creek with Red Dirt Tours

How do you get to Julia Creek? 

Julia Creek is located 646 kilometres west of Townsville along the Overlanders Way. If you’re coming from Brisbane, it’s a road trip of approximately 1,628 kilometres northwest. Buckle up and get ready for an adventure! 

So saddle up, dust off your boots, and join the fun at the Julia Creek Dirt N Dust Festival, where the outback spirit runs wild, and the good times never end! 

I travelled to Julia Creek with Vicki from Red Dirt Tours and highly recommend the experience.  Vicki is one of the most friendly and knowledgeable Outback guides I have met. Travelling with her is pure delight.

Disclaimer: Kerry Heaney travelled as a guest of Tourism & Events Queensland, Queensland Destination Events Program.

Kerry Heaney in Monet in Paris photo garden

Written by Kerry Heaney

Meet Kerry Heaney, an intrepid gastronomic explorer, travelling the globe one delectable bite at a time. Drawing on two decades of experience, she unveils hidden culinary gems and palate-pleasing dishes for your indulgence. A seasoned writer and editor, Kerry's travel stories feature in print and online travel publications, and her food odyssey continues at Eat drink and be Kerry. Follow her escapades on Facebook or join on her latest adventures via Instagram. Kerry's passions include savouring oysters, indulging in art, embracing aquatic experiences, and delighting in new culinary discoveries every time.
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