Forget The Race That Stops A Nation, These Whacky Races Define A Nation

Only in Australia can you find you find events like emu races, cherry spitting competitions (and a tuna toss in between), that draw the masses to small towns from around the country and even from abroad.

These seemingly weird yet wonderful events are often a key tourism driver for smaller communities. And they encapsulate Australia's sense of humour as well its ability to make something out of (almost) nothing.

Here are some of 10 daily's favourites:

New South Wales 

An Aussie version of Spain's Running of the Bulls. Photo:
  • Header v Picker Demolition Derby, Mungindi Two types of agricultural harvesting machinery smash into each other in a bid to be the last engine running at The Mungindi Show.
  •  The Real Juice Company Citrus Sculptures, Griffith More than 100,000 oranges are attached by special rubber bands to steel frames, making unique shapes including a grand piano and Cinderella carriage.
  • The Running of the Sheep, Boorowa A woolly version of Spain’s Running of the Bulls which sees dozens of sheep make their way through the streets of Boorowa.


If they're voting with their feet, it's a yes for watermelons. Photo: danielSPEAKING
  • Melon skiing, Chinchilla Donning watermelons for shoes, competitors are pulled along a juice-covered tarp as part of a melon festival.
  • Mary Poppins Nanny Race, Maryborough A speed walking race while pushing a pram down the streets where author of Mary Poppins, Pamela Lyndon Travers, grew up.
  • Great Australian Pumpkin Roll, Goomeri A challenge that started in the 90’s to boost morale in the farming community during drought sees participants bowl pumpkins down a steep street.

Northern Territory

Cheers to creative events like a beer can boat race. Photo: Northern Territory, Australia's Outback
  • Darwin Lions Beer Can Regatta, Darwin Contestants take to the high seas in vessels that are seemingly made from recycles drink containers, predominantly beer cans.
  • Henley on Todd Regatta, Alice Springs Believed to be the only boat race in the world cancelled because of water in the river, contestants build ships to fight and race in on dry land.

South Australia

Like a bucking bull of the barrel racing world. Photo: Intrinsic Mind Holistic Health and Wellness Centre.
  • Tunarama Tuna Toss, Port Lincoln A world championship where competitors aim to throw and 10 kilogram fish the farthest using techniques similar to discus or shot put.
  • Wobbly Cow Race, Mount Compass While some ride actual cows at the Compass Cup (Australia’s only cow race), others hop aboard a painted drum pulled by mates in a bouncy barrel race.


The Tour de France of yesteryear happens in Tasmania. Photo: Sketchy Visions
  • Penny Farthing Championships, Evandale Cyclists travel from across the globe to turn back the wheels of time and compete in a vintage bike race.
  • Quick ‘n’ Dirty Boat Building Challenge, Hobart Tasmanian school children learn the art of boat building the take their wooden craft to the harbour for a circuit race.


  • Potato Picking Competition, Thorpdale In celebration of the humble potato, competitors show off their quick hands but picking up potatoes and putting them in a sack the fastest.
  • The Victorian Wheelie Bin Championships, Thoona A box car derby that is totally rubbish - that is the vehicles are made out of wheely bins and raced through the streets.

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Western Australia

Children and adults can make a dash dressed as an emu. Photo:
  • Emu Race, Yalgoo Emu Festival attendees could run the pants off a kangaroo as they make a dash down the local race track in impressive emu costumes.
  • Cherry Pip Spitting Competition, Manjimup To celebrate cherry harvest, competitors take to the stage, take a deep breath and attempt to spit out a cherry pip the farthest.