2018 It's Live! In Queensland Events

5 December, 2017

On your marks! We've got your ticket to the greatest shows on Earth as Queensland makes history with a super-charged line-up of 2018 events. Get set! Global icon, the Gold Coast, hosts the year's biggest blockbuster, the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. But that's just the start… Go! Guaranteed, you won't experience anything like it on the planet: epic music gigs; drool-factor foodie festivals; world-class endurance trials; stadium sports sell-outs; culturally-immersive indigenous experiences and Outback hoorahs. The It's Live! in Queensland calendar showcases more than 100 of Australia's best events in the best destinations: www.queensland.com/events

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JANUARY

BRISBANE INTERNATIONAL

31 December (2017) – 7 January

Serve it, smash it, win it, love it! Find out why the Brisbane International is the 'sweetspot' of the world's leading tennis players – boasting one of the best tennis facilities on the planet, a warm, friendly environment, not to mention passionate fans. In 2018, Rafael Nadal is returning for his second year straight, alongside Andy Murray and Grigor Dimitrov. The Brisbane International is part of the Emirates Australian Open Series. The tournament has a reputation for attracting the biggest names in world tennis, including past favourites, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. www.brisbaneinternational.com.au

2018 MAGIC MILLIONS CARNIVAL

5 – 16 January

First out of the barriers, the Gold Coast Turf Club hosts the Magic Millions Raceday. The annual surf 'n' turf spectacular forms part of a week-long celebration of equine sports, including the flagship Yearling Sale and, return of the Pacific Fair Magic Millions Polo. Your chance to rub shoulders with royalty. www.magicmillions.com.au/racedays/gold-coast/

WHITSUNDAY CLIPPER RACE CARNIVAL

13 – 29 January

Drop anchor in The Whitsundays when Airlie Beach cranks up its world-class reputation as Australia's #1 sailing destination, stepping up as a host port for the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race in 2018, and putting on a party in tropical style! The two-week festival includes a rodeo by the sea and long lunch on iconic Whitehaven Beach. www.whitsundayclipperrace.com.au

FEBRUARY

BRISBANE GLOBAL RUGBY TENS

9 – 10 February

Join the greatest rugby revolution on Earth when this knockout tournament returns to Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium (aka The Cauldron) promising 10-a-side action that harnesses the skills of traditional 15-a-side rugby with the speed of the Sevens! Not forgetting, one rucking great advantage: 10 Super Rugby teams from Australia and New Zealand in the one place at the one time, squaring off against Pau (France), Panasonic Wild Knights (Japan) and mighty Samoan and Fijian teams. Returning bigger and better in 2018, Brisbane Global Rugby Tens switches to a day-night format, securing another mega advantage: more time to chill out and soak up Queensland's summer vibe. www.brisbaneglobaltens.com

GOLD COAST TRIATHLON – LUKE HARROP MEMORIAL

25 February

Keen to achieve your own Personal Best ahead of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games? There's no better time for Age Group athletes – aka every day heroes – to sign up for the Gold Coast Triathlon – Luke Harrop Memorial, held on the same course as the Commonwealth Games and attracting double points as a qualifying event to compete for Australia at the Age Group ITU World Championships on the Gold Coast in September. http://ap.ironman.com/triathlon/events/asiapac/multisports/gold-coast.aspx#axzz4wOUgPQ4h

MARCH

MOOLOOLABA TRIATHLON FESTIVAL

9 – 11 March

A firm fixture on the Australian triathlon calendar for 26 years, this Olympic distance triathlon provides a well-known course with a favoured ocean swim.  Part of a multi-sport festival, there's something for everyone including the ASICS Mooloolaba Twilight 5km run, 1km Ocean Swim, Superkidz Triathlon, Special Triathlon, and Sport and Lifestyle Expo. The event also features the Mooloolaba ITU Triathlon World Cup on the Saturday, a sprint distance triathlon attracting some of the biggest names from around the world. An event that doubles as the perfect opportunity for elite athletes to prepare for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, which features a triathlon of the same distance. Join in the buzz and Swim, Bike Run, on the Sunshine Coast. http://bit.ly/2nrNIp3 

LAGUNA REAL ESTATE NOOSA FESTIVAL OF SURFING

10 – 17 March

Mark a weekend in your diary to trek north and celebrate all that's swell about Noosa: the surf. Now in its 27th year, the event stakes its claim as the 'biggest surfing event in the world' by competitor numbers, drawing more than 900 entries from 20 regions in 2017! Billed as '8 days of pure stoke', it also promises to set global tongues wagging with the return of the VetShopAustralia Surfing Dog Championships for the seventh year straight and a buzzing entertainment program (live music, movies and more). http://www.noosafestivalofsurfing.com

QUIKSILVER PRO AND ROXY PRO GOLD COAST

11 – 22 March

Surf's up and so are the world's best board riders, carving it up on the southern Gold Coast's iconic 'super-bank' breaks. A perfect backdrop for the annual Quicksilver and Roxy Pro Gold Coast, marking the opening of the men's and women's world championship tours. Boasting a massive prize purse, the event sets up shop at Snapper Rocks, renowned for its iconic 'super-bank', promising world-class waves and flawless right-hand barrels. Expect big names such as Kelly Slater, Joel Parkinson, Matt Wilkinson, Stephanie Gilmore and Gabriel Medina to carve it up. http://www.worldsurfleague.com/events/2017/mct/1800/quiksilver-pro-gold-coast

WORLD SCIENCE FESTIVAL BRISBANE

21 – 25 March

Queensland again commands the world stage to celebrate the intersection of science and art for the World Science Festival Brisbane. Through conversation and performance by some of the greatest thought leaders on Earth, the festival, now in its third year, will showcase scientists and performers from around Asia Pacific and host the brightest and best from previous events in New York. Expect a program in which astronauts share their tips for going to the bathroom in space, kids play with computer microscopes, and food trucks compete for road space with robots. Even those without the brilliance of Einstein are bound to find something to delight and amuse. www.worldsciencefestival.com.au

CMC ROCKS QLD

15 – 18 March

It may be on the other side of the world from Nashville, but Queensland is fast becoming known as Australia's answer to the American country music capital. Staged at Ipswich's Willowbank Raceway, CMC Rocks QLD leads the field, staking its claim as the largest international country and roots festival in the Southern Hemisphere. In 2018, the all-star line-up includes US superstars, Luke Bryan, Darius Rucker and Kelsea Ballerini. Pull on your dancing boots and find out why Queensland is the Home of Country Music. www.cmcrocks.com

Did you know? The CMC Music Awards takes place on the Gold Coast on 15 March; country music's night of nights and the only fan-voted awards in the southern hemisphere at The Star Gold Coast. It will be the second year straight Foxtel's Country Music Channel awards returns to the Australia's most famous beach strip.

BLEACH* FESTIVAL

28 March – 15 April

Celebrating all that glitters about the Gold Coast art and cultural scene, Bleach takes visitors to the beach and beyond to the streets in this innovative festival. Plant your feet firmly in the sand and expect the unexpected with everything from eye-popping antics, street parties and picnics in unusual and whimsical settings. Now in its fifth year, this festival of fun involves contemporary live music, pop up art installations and exhibitions, outdoor film programs, theatre, and big ideas. Be prepared to be swept up in its wonderful wave (program to be announced early 2018). www.bleachfestival.com.au

APRIL

GOLD COAST 2018 COMMONWEALTH GAMES

4 – 15 April

Witness greatness rarely seen as more than 6,600 athletes (from 70 nations and six continents) compete for glory across 18 sports and seven-para sports. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to watch the best of the best compete in the world's most idyllic locations – from the stunning backdrop of Queensland's Gold Coast, where most of the action takes place, to Brisbane, Townsville and Cairns. www.gc2018.com

FESTIVAL 2018

4 – 15 April

Take a break from the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games trackside action to experience a winning (#free) arts and cultural program featuring acclaimed theatrical productions, world-class musicians, dance and physical theatre, interactive art installations and indigenous arts. The Festival 2018 program spans the length of the coast, with hubs in Broadbeach and Surfers Paradise operating day and night. Celebrations are also planned in Brisbane, Townsville and Cairns. www.gc2018.com/festival2018

JULIA CREEK DIRT N DUST FESTIVAL

13 – 15 April

Three days of jam packed adventure and old-fashioned outback hospitality keeps the droves coming to the small town of Julia Creek one weekend a year. Celebrating 24 years and combining a triathlon, bog snorkeling and the Dirt n Dust bull ride, it's is an event where the gutsy need only apply. Be sure to take in the iconic Red Claw Luncheon where punters are treated to locally-farmed red claw or for the cheekier of the bunch get on board with Australia's Best Butt competition. www.dirtndust.com

WINTON'S WAY OUT WEST FEST

19 – 22 April

Kick up your heels at Outback Queensland's new kid on the music block. Timed to celebrate the re-opening of Winton's famed Waltzing Matilda Centre, the four-day festival boasts an all-star line-up: The Living End, Jessica Mauboy, John Williamson, Busby Marou, Kip Moore, Lee Brice and more. www.wintonswayoutwestfest.com.au

MAY

BEEF AUSTRALIA

6 – 12 May

Australia's beef capital, Rockhampton, hosts one of the world's greatest beef cattle events just once every three years. A celebration of all facets of the industry, including property tours, seminars, a round-up of more than 4,500 cattle from 30+ breeds, this event will keep you talking until the proverbial cows come home. Steak lovers: expect celebrity chefs and cooking demonstrations. www.beefaustralia.com.au

BLUES ON BROADBEACH MUSIC FESTIVAL

17 – 20 May

The best things in life are free! Fast coming of age as a global 'must-do' on the music calendar, this Gold Coast event strikes the right chord as Australia's largest free music festival. Clocking up 17 years, the Blues on Broadbeach Music Festival draws more than 125,000 fans and a stellar line-up of home-grown and international acts to streets and venues across Broadbeach.

www.bluesonbroadbeach.com

NOOSA FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL

17 – 20 May

When it comes to drool-factor locations, Noosa takes the cake. Blessed with an average 300 days of sunshine a year, this Sunshine Coast haven stakes its claim as a premier food and wine destination. In 2017, Noosa Food & Wine Festival events sold out faster than hotcakes on post-card perfect Main Beach, along Hastings Street, by the Noosa River, in restaurants, markets and up in the hinterland. A long line-up of Australia's best chefs will be back in 2018 to showcase the region's produce and flavours… matched with a lip-smacking selection of wine and beer. www.noosafoodandwine.com.au

RUNAWAY NOOSA MARATHON

26 May

IRONMAN'S new kid on the block has all the makings of a 'runaway' success in the heart of Noosa. One of just four destinations hand-picked by the global endurance giant across New Zealand and Australia to launch a new 'Runaway Marathon Series'. Why? Quite simply because the destinations don't put a foot wrong, 'promising so much more than just another running event'. Natural beauty, world class running trails, local hospitality and food and wine options. Cheers to that! Runaway Noosa Marathon and sister events in the Barossa (South Australia) and New Zealand's Hawkes Bay and Queenstown, offer five distances: 42.2km, 31.6km, 21.1km, 10km and 5km.

www.runawaynoosamarathon.com.au

JUNE

CAIRNS AIRPORT ADVENTURE FESTIVAL

6 – 11 June

Set in Tropical North Queensland, this week-long multisport event brings together the coveted Cairns Airport IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship Cairns for the third year running; IRONMAN 70.3 Cairns; the Coral Coast Triathlon; and so much more. The perfect place to escape winter and head north to warm days and nights of the tropics. Other events in this exciting week include the Hekili Great Barrier Reef Ocean Challenge, Quicksilver Reef Swim – Green Island, Cairns Post Bright Night Run and McDonalds IRONKIDS Cairns – a triathlon designed especially for kids. So strap on your stamina, you're going to need it. http://ap.ironman.com/triathlon/events/asiapac/multisports/cairns.aspx#axzz3Itu8nQ6I

COOLY ROCKS ON

6 – 10 June

Hold onto your poodle skirts! Australia's biggest 50s and 60s nostalgia festival, Cooly Rocks On, is set to WOW the Gold Coast for its eighth year running. For five days, get ready as the streets of Coolangatta and Tweed Heads transform into a Back to the Future-style revival of all things vintage, rock 'n roll and rockabilly. Think high pony tails, glam tattoos, sock-hop dance moves, hip and happening bands, and a Go Greased Lightnin' line-up of vintage cars. www.coolyrockson.com

AUSTRALIAN OPEN LAWN BOWLS

9 – 22 June

Holy crackerjack! Bowls Australia brings its most prestigious calendar event, the Australian Open, to the Gold Coast for the third year in a row. An event renowned as the world's biggest and richest bowls event. Hailed as the Holy Grail of lawn bowls, the Gold Coast boasts the winning combination of top-notch facilities (23 bowls clubs), climate and lifestyle, also hosting the 2018 Commonwealth Games and gearing up for the 2020 World Bowls Championships. Making the most of the stunning backdrop, the week-long competition will see over 4000 bowlers from around the world compete at 14 clubs across the Coast for their share in the AUD$250,000 prize purse. www.australianopenbowlsaustralia.com.au

WINTON VISION SPLENDID OUTBACK FILM FESTIVAL

29 June – 7 July

Welcome to the Hollywood of the Outback – the only open-air film festival of its kind in Australia, dusting off, then rolling out the red carpet for a big dose of Aussie culture. Now in its fifth year, the festival showcases contemporary, classic and award winning Australian films screened under the stars at Winton's historic Royal Theatre. One of just two open-air theatres still operating in Australia. Inspired by the Sundance Film Festival, Winton's Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival also features special events, conversations, tours and master classes, short-film competition, live entertainment and a kid's cinema. www.visionsplendidfilmfest.com

SCENIC RIM EAT LOCAL WEEK

30 June – 8 July

An easy one-hour road trip from Brisbane or the Gold Coast, the glorious Scenic Rim is nothing short of a foodie's paradise, hosting this lip-smacking annual festival to educate food lovers about the benefits of buying in-season and close to source. Now in its 8th year, Eat Local Week provides a backstage pass to the farms, wineries and foodie stories of the Scenic Rim. A region famed for a mouth-watering array of fruit, vegetables, milk, wine, beer and providores including olives, cheese, jams and relishes. The nine-day celebration that is Eat Local Week culminates in the Winter Harvest Festival. Pack an appetite!. www.eatlocalweek.com.au

GOLD COAST MARATHON

30 June – 1 July

Pitted as Australia's premier road race, and the first marathon in the country to hold an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Road Race Gold Label, it's hard to beat this course based on pure scenery alone. They say if you want to post your personal best, the flat, fast course which hugs the Gold Coast's beaches and Broadwater, is the place to do it. Held annually on the first weekend of July, more than 27,000 participants compete in a variety of races including the Gold Coast Marathon itself, Wheelchair Marathon, ASICS Half Marathon, Wheelchair 15km, Southern Cross University 10km Run, Suncorp Bank 5.7km Challenge, and Zespri Junior Dash 4km and 2km races. So esteemed and established is this event, 2018 will mark its 40th year. www.goldcoastmarathon.com.au

JULY

TV WEEK LOGIE AWARDS

(Dates TBC) -  July

The Gold Coast rolls out the red carpet to host Australian television's night of nights, marking the first time the awards have been held in the Sunshine State. In more cause for celebration – namely the chance for the ultimate selfie as the stars walk the red carpet on arrival at The Star Gold Coast – the Logies celebrate 60 years in 2018. Expect all the biggest stars to front up! http://www.nineentertainmentco.com.au/brand-tv-week-logie-awards

BIRDSVILLE BIG RED BASH

10 – 12 July

Shake up your bucket list and paint the Outback red at the world's most remote music festival, crowned Australia's Favourite Event in 2016. While Paris has the Eiffel Tower, Birdsville has Big Red, a 10-storey high sand dune on the edge of the Simpson Desert, itself the biggest sand dune desert on Earth. In 2018, Aussie rock legends and revered Jesus Christ Superstar trio – John Farnham, Kate Ceberano and Jon Stevens – are reuniting at the Outback Queensland gig, now in its sixth year. The journey to Birdsville Big Red Bash, 1,580km west of Brisbane, is equally mind-blowing. A destination that could easily be mistaken for Mars. In 2017, more than 6,000 people camped at the base of Big Red, travelling from all corners of Australia and overseas. On numbers alone, a community 52 times the size of nearest hub, Birdsville (Population: 115)! So, pack up the family (kids will love surfing the big red and camping under stars) and start compiling your road trip music mix. Staged between two other exciting nearby Outback events – the Bedourie Gymkhana and Rodeo and the Bedourie Pig and Camel Races – the Birdsville Big Red Bash provides plenty of reason to head Outback on an exciting adventure covering all three events. www.bigredbash.com.au

ABBEY MEDIEVAL FESTIVAL

14 - 15 July

It doesn't cost a King's ransom to step back in time to the medieval era at Brisbane's Abbey Medieval Festival. Enjoy historical re-enactments, cheer jousting and falconry, gorge on sizzling meats and fine mead and leave with a taste of history on your lips. A combination of Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones, this two-day festival includes The Medieval Banquet; authentic medieval costumes, swords and shields; puppet shows; gypsy dancing; and Turkish oil wrestling. Re-enactments feature Viking raiders and traders; Middle-Eastern warriors and nomads; and nobles and peasants from the Great European households. www.abbeymedievalfestival.com

TOWNSVILLE 400

6 – 8 July

If you like your tropical Queensland destination infused with some extra revs, the Virgin Australia Supercars Townsville 400 is the event for you. Watch powerful Supercars roar their way through Reid Park (just south of Townsville's CBD) on specially constructed roads which form 70 percent of the circuit, with top speeds clocking 260km/h. Townsville in July, you're going to hear it roar. www.supercars.com

VELOTHON SUNSHINE COAST

20 – 22 July

Saddle up! Winter racing is back bigger and better, with Queensland's endurance whizz-kid, the Sunshine Coast, landing the first Velothon Series event in the Southern Hemisphere, launched in 2017. Billed as 'the ultimate winter cycling escape to the sun', organisers successfully transplanted the best elements of the European-style race into the perfect riding climate of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. Don't miss this epic Union Cycliste Internationale-sanctioned event (a one or three-day Velo challenge). www.velothonsunshinecoast.com

CAIRNS INDIGENOUS ART FAIR

13 – 15 July

The Tropical North Queensland city of Cairns is an ideal setting for this culturally important and vibrant art market. It's considered to be the only art fair in Australia to welcome commercial art galleries and Indigenous art centres to sell and showcase works by Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists. Held at the Cairns Cruise Liner terminal, the event is framed by the waters of the Cairns Trinity Inlet, and rolling mountains and land of the Gimuy Walubara Yidinji people. The three-day fair features a vibrant program of events, exhibitions, dance and theatre. www.ciaf.com.au

BOULIA CAMEL RACES

20 – 22 July

Giddy up! Welcome to the Melbourne Cup of camel racing; the longest camel race in Australia (running a 1500m cup final). The Boulia Camel Races, however, are about as far removed from Flemington's fashions-on-the-field racetrack experience as you can get. These original ships of the desert can be cheeky buggers as they fly around the dirt track with their brave riders holding on tight. The tiny outback town of Boulia bursts at the seams with around 3000 people making the pilgrimage to watch the hotly contested races. Away from the track, there are camel rides, skydivers, belly dancers, market stalls and live music to keep you entertained. www.bouliacamelraces.com.au

BROADBEACH COUNTRY MUSIC FESTIVAL

27 – 29 July

Proving you don't need to travel way out west to find country music fans, this free festival takes over the stylis beachfront of Broadbeach. More than 40 established Australian and international musicians take to the stage over three days of festivities. www.broadbeachcountry.com

AUSTRALIAN FESTIVAL OF CHAMBER MUSIC

27 July – 4 August

Townsville sets the stage for this terrific nine-day festival in which 25 to 30 chamber musicians appear in more than 25 concerts. Held every July and August, 2018 marks the 28th year of this event in which internationally-acclaimed musicians entertain audiences from Australia and overseas. Expect everything from pianists, quartets, quintets, to bands, orchestras, accordions and violins here. www.afcm.com.au

AUGUST

REEF TO REEF

9 – 12 August

Listen up mountain bike fans! Global MTB Nirvana, Tropical North Queensland, raises the curtain on Australia's most epic stage race, Reef to Reef. The four-day event, created under the IRONMAN umbrella, nods its cap to mountain biking as the fastest-growing recreation sport on the planet. Complementing IRONMAN's Port to Port (Newcastle) and Cape to Cape (Western Australia), Reef to Reef incorporates: Stage 1 (Smithfield MTB Park – 30km); Stage 2 (Davies Creek MTB Park – 50km); Stage 3 (Mount Molloy – 60km); and Stage 4 (Wetherby Station to Port Douglas – 55km). The event also heroes Australia's longest running point-to-point race, the iconic Triple-R Mountain Bike Challenge (formerly the RRR) – itself conceived on a track carved out by gold miners, leading to the birth of resort wonder-town Port Douglas over a century ago. Now that's gold! The one-day Triple-R (short for Rural, Rainforest and Reef) coincides with the final day the inaugural Reef to Reef. www.reeftoreefmtb.com

AIRLIE BEACH RACE WEEK FESTIVAL OF SAILING

9 – 16 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, 2018 marks the 29th 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 OCEAN FESTIVAL

(Dates TBC) - August

Have a whale of a time at this annual festival which celebrates the arrival of humpback whales to Hervey Bay; a stop like no other on the 'humpback highway', promising the most awe-inspiring, soul-stirring and up-close whale encounters. Each year, large groups of whales stop and spend up to 10 days resting, socializing and playing in the protected waters of Hervey bay before continuing their trip back to the Antarctic for summer months. The festival includes a calendar of events, live concerts and more, with the important aim of promoting marine conservation. www.herveybayoceanfestival.com.au

ROYAL QUEENSLAND SHOW (EKKA)

10 – 19 August

Regarded as one of Queensland's most iconic events, the Royal Queensland Show, or “Ekka” as it is colloquially known, clocks up 141 years in 2018. 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. www.ekka.com.au

MOUNT ISA MINES ROTARY RODEO

9 – 12 August

It's pure poetry in motion, where the romance of the Australian Outback meets the grit of a mining town: east meets west, and man meets beast. The Mount Isa Mines Rotary Rodeo is not only the richest rodeo in Australia, but also the largest in the Southern Hemisphere and it hails from a long history, with 2018 marking the events 'Diamond Jubilee' (60th) rodeo. In the arena, experience the best of the best as they participate in saddle bronc, bareback bronc, bull riding, rope and tie, steer wrestling, team roping, ladies barrel racing, and ladies break-away roping. Professional rodeo clowns add to all the adrenalin and excitement in the ring. Away from the arena, a kickin' entertainment program, including popular music acts and sideshow alley ensure there's never a dull moment in Mount Isa during rodeo weekend. www.isarodeo.com.au

MCDONALD'S TOWNSVILLE RUNNING FESTIVAL

4 – 5 August

With roots back to 1972, this festival proudly lays claim to hosting Australia's second longest running annual marathon. Appealing to all ages and fitness levels, it promises so much more: an action-packed weekend of racing (seven events including a marathon and half marathon, plus 10K, 5K and 2.5K runs), fun and full festival atmosphere. www.townsvillerunningfestival.com

AUDI HAMILTON ISLAND RACE WEEK

18 – 25 August

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 MUSTER

23 – 26 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 37th anniversary in 2018, the Muster has become one of Australia's largest outdoor music festivals and maintained its traditional and modern country music roots while expanding into eight 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

IRONMAN 70.3 SUNSHINE COAST         
26 August

Cheer on the world's best at the IRONMAN 70.3 in Mooloolaba, which hosted the World Championship event in 2016. http://ap.ironman.com/triathlon/events/asiapac/ironman-70.3/sunshine-coast.aspx#axzz4VVO1RPy0

SEALINK MAGNETIC ISLAND RACE WEEK

30 August – 4 September

Magnificent Magnetic Island is the attraction for five glorious days of racing off of Townsville. Now in its 11th year, this event offers first-class racing on the crystal clear waters off Cleveland Bay. Drop anchor for five days of action on and off the water. 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.

www.magneticislandraceweek.com.au

BIRDSVILLE RACES                       

31 August – 1 September

Welcome to the Melbourne Cup of the Outback. The second race meet of the Simpson Desert Racing Carnival, the Birdsville Races attract crowds of up to 7,000 to enjoy two days of racing and entertainment. Horse owners, trainers, jockeys and spectators pull up a swag, crack open a tent or simply sleep under the stars during this event which is staged to raise funds for the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS). Fly or drive to Birdsville to experience this iconic Australian racing tradition. www.birdsvilleraces.com

SEPTEMBER

ITU WORLD TRIATHLON GRAND FINAL AND WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS GOLD COAST

12 – 16 September

More than 5,000 of the world's best elite and age group triathletes will descend on the Gold Coast for the grand finale of the 2018 ITU World Triathlon Series. The sun, surf and sand are the perfect foundations for some exhilarating racing. Be part of the action as the Age Group World Championships are held alongside the Elite World Grand Final. Did you know? Every day heroes can qualify to represent Australia as part of the Australian Age Group Team. Triathlon Australia can select up to 25 male and 25 female athletes per age category when the world championships are on home turf. https://goldcoast.triathlon.org/

BRISBANE FESTIVAL                    

September (Dates released early 2018)

Watch Brisbane come alive with all the fan-fare of what is quickly becoming a world-class arts and entertainment festival and the city's biggest cultural event. Around one million people each year flock to the Queensland capital for an explosion of music, theatre, dance, opera, circus and major public events such as Sunsuper Riverfire. www.brisbanefestival.com.au

WINDS OF ZENADTH CULTURAL FESTIVAL

12 – 14 September

Perched on the tip of Queensland's northernmost point, Thursday Island comes alive every two years when local Torres Strait Islander communities converge for the Winds of Zenadth Cultural Festival. Expect elaborate traditional dresses, spectacular headdresses and handheld instruments as dance teams from different islands tell ancient stories, passed down and told through the medium of dance.

TOOWOOMBA CARNIVAL OF FLOWERS            
21 – 29 September

Think London's Chelsea Flower Shower, but super-sized. Now in its 69th year, Australia's longest running floral show held in Queensland's 'Garden City' isn't just for green thumbs. It also celebrates locally-produced food and wine for which this Southern Queensland Country destination is renowned, alongside a popular entertainment program including live music and classic cars. The Grand Central Floral Parade forms the centrepiece of the 10-day event, staged to celebrate spring in all its glory in one of Queensland's most fertile regions. www.tcof.com.au

CALOUNDRA MUSIC FESTIVAL               

28 September – 1 October

Sun, surf and soul. That's the promise from this festival, which celebrates its 11th year in 2017. The über cool, family-friendly event attracts a stellar music line-up, also showcasing a vibrant mix of live art, roving performances, beach-side carnival, buskers and children's entertainment. Whatever your vibe, there's something for everyone here. www.caloundramusicfestival.com.au

OCTOBER

2018 WORLD PARACHUTING CHAMPIONSHIPS GOLD COAST               

7 – 13 October

The sky's the limit when the Gold Coast hosts more than 1,000 skydivers from over 45 countries, setting their sights high on the world championship title. Stay grounded at the Runaway Bay Sports Super Centre, watching the world's best jump from 14,000 feet – either on huge screens or up close at the drop zone. Want to know if you've got what it take to make the same leap of faith? Test your nerve in the mobile wind tunnel. www.apf.com.au

GOLD COAST 600                                 

19 – 21 October

The Gold Coast roars into action each October when the Virgin Australia Supercars race into town for the Gold Coast 600. On track, the highlight will be the PIRTEK Enduro Cup final in which supercar drivers battle it out on one of the world's toughest street circuits to claim the ultimate endure racing title. The super-charged fun extends to the Porsche Carrera Cup, V8 Utes and Formula 4 action. Off track, events are just as explosive with a huge concert line-up. www.supercars.com

YARRABAH BAND FESTIVAL
(Dates TBC) November

Just east of Cairns is Yarrabah; home to a flourishing indigenous music scene. Visit in November, when Queensland Music Festival presents its sixth year of the acclaimed Yarrabah Band Festival. The event, formed to revive the Yarrabah Brass Band first established more than a century ago, brings together local and student bands alongside big name musicians in a celebration of the diversity of Australian music. Past performers have included Indie favourite, Montaigne, Aussie icon Archie Roach and local favourite, the Yarrabah Brass Band. www.qmf.org.au

NOOSA TRIATHLON MULTI SPORT FESTIVAL

31 October – 4 November

Adventure and endurance at its best. This annual 'must do' event stakes its claim as the largest Olympic distance triathlon in the world and the largest multi-sport festival of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. Fitness fanatics won't be disappointed with everything from the Endura Noosa Run Swim Run to the Noosa Tri Charity Golf Day on offer. In between, there's the Breakfast with the Stars; Barambah Organics Noosa Breakfast Fun Run; Arena Noosa 1000 Ocean Swim; Coates Hire Noosa Superkidz Triathlon; and Tingirana Noosa Special Triathlon. Add to that the Noosa Legends Triathlon; SUBARU Australian Open Criterium Women's and Men's events; the ASICS Bolt; and the Noosa Sport and Lifestyle Expo; and you've got one heck of an event. And did we mention, it's in Noosa? http://ap.ironman.com/triathlon/events/asiapac/multisports/noosa.aspx#axzz4CNvC15Sy

NOVEMBER

PAN PACIFIC MASTERS GAMES GOLD COAST
2 – 11 November

Gearing up for the biggest turnout in the event's 20-year history, the 11th edition of the Pan Pacific Masters Games, held on the Gold Coast every two years, is tipped to draw more than 13,000 participants across 40 sports. In 2018, in the wake of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, the event will make good use of five GC2018 venues. Little wonder it's the world's best and biggest biennial masters games! www.mastersgames.com.au

TROPICAL JOURNEYS GREAT BARRIER REEF MARATHON FESTIVAL
3 – 4 November

If you are compelled to run a marathon, why not do it alongside one of the world's most spectacular natural icons – the Great Barrier Reef. Staged in Port Douglas, Australian marathon legend Steve Moneghetti has dubbed this race the “world's best”. Taking in all the delights of Tropical North Queensland, participants can run 74km JCU Ultra Marathon; 42km adventure marathon; or 21km half marathon set along the fantastic fringing reefs and ancient rainforest for which this region is renowned. There's also a 10km, 5km, and 2.5km junior challenge. All races start at stunning Four Mile Beach. After all, life is a marathon, not a sprint. www.greatbarrierreefmarathon.com.au

PBR IRON COWBOY TOWNSVILLE
15 – 18 November

Dust off your cowboy boots and make strides to the toughest Professional Bull Riders (PBR) challenge on the planet. Welcome to Australia's only Iron Cowboy event, now in its third year in Townsville, and one of just three in the world, outside Dallas and Brazil. The Iron Cowboy format requires the winner to face a whopping four or five of the fastest, biggest bulls in two days, with the aim of staying on for eight seconds. In elite endurance stakes, the bull riding equivalent of IRONMAN triathlons, albeit a cowboy-vs-bull endurance contest (with both considered elite athletes). www.pbraustralia.com.au

DECEMBER

AUSTRALIAN PGA CHAMPIONSHIP

(Dates TBC) - December

This esteemed golfing event on the Gold Coast hits a hole in one every time. Boasting a total prize pool of $1.75million, it attracts some of the world's best golfers who compete at the RACV Royal Pines Golf Course. The championship course features tight fairways, undulating greens and immaculately manicured swales, with each nine having its own distinctive challenges. If all that's double Dutch to you, don't worry. You'll probably recognise the names of a few past champions including Greg Chalmers, Adam Scott, Robert Allenby and Peter Senior. www.championship.pga.org.au

QUEENSLAND BALLET - THE NUTCRACKER

14 – 22 December

Bring the whole family to enjoy Queensland Ballet's much-loved production of The Nutcracker, something of a seasonal tradition at Brisbane's QPAC Playhouse. www.queenslandballet.com.au

WOODFORD FOLK FESTIVAL

27 December 20181 January 2019

Imagine the world as you wish it could be. That's the driving force behind the Woodford Folk Festival, held annually over six blissful days and nights from 27 December to 1 January. Drawing more than 2000 performers and showcasing more than 400 events across 25 venues to an estimated audience of 120,000 people, it's like stepping into another world. Set on 200ha of land behind Woodford in Greater Brisbane, the festival awakens the village of 'Woodfordia', Australia's 67th largest town. Expect concerts by national and international acts, dances, street theatre, writers' panels, a film festival, comedy sessions, acoustic jams, social dialogue and debate, folk medicine, a children's festival, environmental program, art and craft workshops, circus performances, late-night cabaret and a spectacular fire event. www.woodfordfolkfestival.com

*101 reasons and more to start packing: these featured events offer just a taste of more than 100 events on Tourism and Events Queensland's It's Live! In Queensland calendar, showcasing Australia's best live events staged in the best destinations. Visit www.queensland.com/events

ENDS

Word Count: 5946

Author: Shelley Thomas

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