5 Amazing Cultural Experiences Unique To Queensland

Cairns Indigenous Art Fair
Brought to you by Tourism and Events Queensland 

Showcasing the best live events in Queensland.

Move over, Sydney and Melbourne! Since hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2018 and the Australian Eurovision decider in early 2019, Queensland is quickly becoming one of Australia’s cultural hotspots.

This year, there is a stack of world-class cultural events happening across the Sunshine State. From the well-established to global, one-time only events, these are some of the best and most unique cultural experiences Queensland has to offer in 2019.

#1 NASA: A Human Adventure at the Queensland Museum

The launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis at NASA - A Human Adventure at the Queensland Museum

The launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis. Image via Tourism & Events Queensland

If that nostaglic childhood ambition of becoming an astronaut “when you grew up” didn’t work out, we’ve found an awesome consolation prize: The NASA – A Human Adventure exhibition at the Queensland Museum.

Expect to learn all there is to know (if you didn’t already) about the story of space travel and the history of rocket science and space flight. With more than 250 mostly original space objects on display – from space suits and moon landing items, to real rocket engines – the exclusive exhibition is literally out-of-this-world.

To bypass the crowds of kids and see the exhibition sans public, pick up a ticket to one of the museum’s After Dark or A Night at the Museum events. The story of space travel is even better with a DJ-mixed soundtrack and a cocktail in hand.

The exhibition runs until October 9.

While You’re There

Pop in for a late afternoon cocktail over the water at Mr Percival’s at Howard Smith Wharves. Book in for the night at design-led Art Series Hotel, The Fantauzzo, and you won’t have far to walk when you’re done.

#2 QPAC International Series

The Bolshoi Ballet's Alyona Kovalova and Jacopo Tissi perform in 'Jewels' at QPAC in Brisbane

Alyona Kovalova and Jacopo Tissi perform in ‘Jewels’. Image: Damir Yusupov via Tourism & Events Queensland

They take the tiara for being the best ballet company in the world and, from June 26 to July 27, the Bolshoi Ballet will be pirouetting and jeté-ing across the stage as guests at Brisbane’s QPAC for the International Series. Back in Queensland for the first time since 2013, this is your only chance to see the mighty Russian ballet company perform in Australia this year.

While here, they three-part ballet, Jewels, and the elaborate epic, Spartacus (sorry, there are no Liam McIntyres here will be performing the dazzling). If you’re up for a bumper weekend of ballet, you can catch both the ballets over the same weekend – Jewels on Saturday, June 28, and Spartacus on Sunday, June 29.

While You’re There
Keep up the culture and hit up the latest exhibitions at GOMA. When the hunger sets in, grab a sandwich and some fruit, head down to South Bank parklands on the river for an impromptu picnic.

#3 Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers

The Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers

The Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers is bringing a whole lot of petal power to the east coast this September. From September 20 to 29, the whole of Toowoomba will be bursting with blooms. Have your antihistamines at the ready because you won’t want to miss this stunning display.

Easily one of the most Instagrammable events of the year, there are some 80 gardens open to the public and four exhibition gardens to check out. But the visual of 180,000 blooming bulbs and seedlings is just the start. The Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers runs at the same time as the Heritage Bank Festival of Food and Wine, so your taste buds will be in for as much of a treat as your eyes are.

There are also 77 events to check out, and a tonne of entertainment over the 10 days, including performances from Electrik Lemonade, Middle Kids and everyone’s favourite comeback kid, John Farnham.

Toowoomba has never looked this bloomin’ good.

While You’re There

Grab yourself a take-away coffee (BYO eco-cup, please) and take a self-guided tour of Toowoomba’s street art. Thanks to the First Coat Festival, which started in 2014, there are now more than 50 murals to discover.

If you like your daily dose of exercise a little more extreme, try a hike at Tabletop Mountain. It may be a tough slog to the top, but the views are worth it.

#4 Cairns Indigenous Art Fair

Cairns Indigenous Art Fair

There is no better place to celebrate and learn more about Queensland’s Indigenous cultures than at the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF). The 5-day festival is a one-stop shop for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, music, dance, food, fashion and workshops. Running from the 10th to the 14th July, CIAF is a complete cultural immersion.

Head down to the art fair and art market to find yourself a unique piece of Indigenous art or a handmade gift; or chase down the Embrace projection art that will pop up on prominent walls throughout the city.

While You’re There

Escape the city and embrace nature on a day tour of Fitzroy Island. If you prefer to keep yourself on dry land, you can always enjoy the ocean over lunch at Nu Nu, a breezy beachfront restaurant/café in Palm Cove.

#5 Birdsville Big Red Bash

The Birdsville Big Red Bash

Image: Matt Williams via Tourism & Events Queensland

You probably didn’t need us to help you find a reason to get off the beaten track and camp under the stars in Birdsville, but we did it anyway. Where else can you watch the moon rise over the Simpson Desert’s iconic, 40m-high Big Red Dune, to tunes by Busby Marou, The Living End and Midnight Oil?  The Big Red Bash on the 16th – 18th July will be Midnight Oil’s first headline show in 22 years, so we’re predicting the weekend will be an absolute belter.

Pack a tent, load up the 4WD, pop your furry friend in the back seat (yes, they’re welcome, too) and make a beeline for this epic outback weekender. Before you leave, don’t forget to map out a fun roadtrip route (check out the Warrego Way pages), and brush up on all the important roadtrip tips from the ‘Travelling to the Big Red Bash’ Facebook group.

While You’re There

Have yourself a true blue Birdsville experience and stop in to the Birdsville Bakery to get your smackers around a curried camel – yes, camel – pie. Follow up your wild culinary experience with a pint or few at the iconic Birdsville pub.

(Images courtesy of Tourism & Events Queensland)

To find your perfect next Queensland event, click here.