AIRLIE BEACH RACE WEEK FESTIVAL OF SAILING10 – 17 August
The Whitsundays and sailing go hand-in-hand, so it's little wonder a long line-up of salts flock to Airlie Beach every August for the annual race week. Considered one of the hottest events on any yachtie's calendar, 2017 marks the 28th year of the event which was originally conceived to promote the opening of the first Hog's Breath Café in Australia. Hosted by the Whitsunday Sailing Club, racing is across multiple divisions, including IRC, PHS, cruising, sports boats, one design, and multihulls, and takes place around the breathtaking islands of the Whitsunday Passage and in Pioneer Bay. Back on shore there are plenty of activities and entertainment to keep both spectators and sailors entertained. www.abrw.com.au
HERVEY BAY SEAFOOD FESTIVAL13 August
Join the locals that keep the region's seafood industry ticking at Fisherman's Park for this annual seafood festival. An array of food stalls offer local, freshly-caught seafood with mouthwatering menu items such as prawn cocktail burgers, Hervey Bay scallop ceviche pots, Moreton Bay bugs, and oysters. If you really want to treat yourself, make a reservation for the signature event - Tastes of the Bay - a six-course meal with matched wines. www.herveybayseafoodfestival.com.au
ROYAL QUEENSLAND SHOW (EKKA)
Regarded as one of Queensland's most iconic events, the Royal Queensland Show, or “Ekka” as it is colloquially known, will celebrate its 140th anniversary in 2017. Staged in Brisbane, competitors travel from around Australia to partake in 42 competition sections, across 11,000 classes, which attract 23,000 entries. For ten days each August the bush comes to Brisbane and the city is packed with our Akubra-clad country cousins. Boasting everything from agriculture to education to fine arts, fashion and fleece and pretty much anything in between, the Ekka is the chance to showcase the best across a variety of fields. There's music, bars, wood chopping, sideshow alley and of course, the show's famous strawberry ice-creams. Some reckon you haven't lived until you've been to the Ekka.
MOUNT ISA MINES ROTARY RODEO
TOWNSVILLE TRIATHLON FESTIVAL18 – 20 August
Celebrating its 15th year, the Townsville Triathlon Festival keeps growing in the popularity stakes, in 2016 launching a new chapter, aptly entitled 'the Big Weekend'. Appealing to all ages and fitness levels, it promises an action-packed weekend of racing, fun and full festival atmosphere. Three new races were added last year – a 1km Ocean Swim; Tri4Women super short course Triathlon; and Team Relays – bringing the full round-up of events to eleven across three days. www.townsvilletrifestival.org.au
AUDI HAMILTON ISLAND RACE WEEK
It's difficult to imagine a more picture-perfect destination than Hamilton Island for Australia's largest offshore sailing regatta, which attracts spectators and yachties from around the globe. Inspired by the 1983 America's Cup in Newport, Rhode Island, it took Hamilton Island developer Keith Williams and a small group to launch a race in the Whitsundays in 1984, which attracted a staggering 93 competitors. Now, as it clocks up more than 30 years, more than 200 yachts from Australia and around the world compete in this prestigious event, which is supported by a vibrant calendar of onshore events. These include the Wild Oats Ladies Lunch, Surf and Turf Dinner, Audi hole-in-one, and Audi Outdoor Cinema. www.hamiltonislandraceweek.com.au
GYMPIE MUSIC MUSTER24 – 27 August
Come and enjoy a weekend of mateship and the best of Australian country music in the stunning Amamoor Creek State Forest Park. Celebrating its 36th anniversary in 2017, the Muster has become one of Australia's largest outdoor music festivals and maintained its traditional and modern country music roots while expanding into 8 entertainment venues showcasing everything from folk, bluegrass, balladeers, the gospel, blues and bush poetry. There's also a celebrity guest debate and a talent search in which future musical greats are discovered. More than just a celebration of music, the Muster attracts more than 50 community groups and 2000 volunteers who raise funds for Australian-wide charities. That's something to sing about. www.muster.com.au
SEALINK MAGNETIC ISLAND RACE WEEK
Magnificent Magnetic Island is the attraction for five glorious days of racing off of Townsville. 2017 marks the 10th birthday of this event, which offers first-class racing on the crystal clear waters off Cleveland Bay. Billed as six days of four key events staged in one amazing location, there's plenty to do both on the water and off. Special events include the Ladies Long Lunch, live music performances, the Picnic Bay Beach Fair, and the Townsville Airport Magnetic Island Treasure Quest. There's also crew parties, sponsors and skipper nights, and the racing, of course.