Queensland Events in 2022
THERE'S more to the state crowning the continent's east coast than beautiful-one-day-perfect-the-next weather, with Queensland home to some of the continent's most magnificent landscapes.
But that's not all Australia’s second-largest state has to brag about. The scenic spots between Coolangatta and Cape York – and west to the Northern Territory and South Australian borders – are home to hundreds of festivals and events that are reason enough to plan a visit to this captivating corner of the country.
To help you plan your next Queensland holiday, AAT Kings have compiled a list of the best events planned for the Sunshine State in 2022. From festivals showcasing local artists to a celebration of agricultural life and sporting events for both spectators and competitors, there are plenty of things to do in Queensland for families, couples and solo travellers.
Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland
EVENTS IN BRISBANE
Australia's River City – where the temperature hovers at agreeable all year round – has something for all travellers in 2022 with international sporting showdowns, enviable art exhibitions, loads of live music, and fabulous foodie functions all in the calendar.
The Brisbane Festival is set to start on September 2 and – after reaching an audience of more than 1.5 million people in 2021 while "championing local artists" – this year's line-up will look a little more international with stage shows and art installations packing the program.
The Redcliffe Festival of Sails will revisit the seaside suburb at Easter, the Brisbane Writers Festival is in the books for the week commencing May 3, the Brisbane Street Art Festival will take place between May 7 and May 22, and August 17 will host the Hidden Lanes Festival.
The Ekka is as Brisbane as the Broncos, with the annual Royal Queensland Show bringing everything good about the bush into the heart of the state's big smoke. This year more than 300 activities – from fireworks to fabulous food experiences – are planned for the Brisbane Showgrounds in Bowen Hills between August 6 and 14.
GETTING BUSY IN BRISBANE
AAT Kings' Wonders of Australia is the ideal itinerary for those keen on sightseeing the Queensland capital, with the nine-day guided holiday perfect for a pre-tour stay timed to coincide with a River City event.
The journey takes in some of Australia's big-ticket locations, setting off from Brisbane following a two-night stay before a relaxed three-night break on Hamilton Island – including time for a day tour and cruise onto the Great Barrier Reef – and two full days to explore the delights of Sydney.
If something a little longer looks attractive then Australia & New Zealand Panorama is a 15-day excursion that features the same Australian component before jumping across the Tasman Sea to survey Queenstown, Auckland and Rotorua.
EVENTS IN OUTBACK QUEENSLAND
Queensland is renowned for beautiful beaches, but there's more to this state than the 10,000km of coastline wrapping around the mainland and Coral Sea islands. The vast ochre outback is home to legendary locations like Longreach, known as the birthplace of Australia’s national airline, Qantas; Quilpie, home to the ‘Jewel of the Outback’, brilliantly kaleidoscopic boulder opal; and Winton, where visitors can trace the footsteps of dinosaurs and hear tales of the origins of the famed ballad, Waltzing Matilda.
The locals certainly know how to kick up their heels with Outback Queensland boasting some of the state's most significant events when the weather cools enough to gather on this legendary sun-baked landscape.
Winton will play host to plenty of unique local events this year with the Winton Way Out West Fest taking place on the first weekend of April; the Winton Pastoral and Agricultural Show from July 3 to 5; the Winton Opal Festival from July 8; and Winton Community Ball the premiere social event in August.
The Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival – which was inspired by the Sundance Film Festival – is helping turn Winton into the "Hollywood of the outback" with this not-for-profit celebration of the state's thriving regional film industry slated for the last week in June this year.
EXPLORING THE OUTBACK
Those set on seeing Queensland's rugged outback should take a squiz at Queensland Spirit: Heart of the Outback with this AAT Kings' adventure completing a seven-day circuit from Brisbane that takes in Longreach, Winton, Quilpie and Roma.
This hosted holiday includes an overnight journey on the Spirit of the Outback train between Brisbane and Longreach, and guests can choose to complete a clockwise or anticlockwise loop, so your rail journey comes at the beginning or end of this epic outback tour.
Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland and Jack Harlem FIRME Agency
EVENTS IN CAIRNS
Tropical North Queensland punches above its weight when it comes to world-class events, with the famed destination where the Wet Tropics rainforest meets the Great Barrier Reef drawing everyone from art lovers to athletes to the state's far north in 2022.
Endurance events are the highlight of the Cairns sporting calendar. The Yungaburra Triathlon sets off from the the pretty Tablelands town of the same name on May 1, closely followed by the Cairns Ironman on June 12, the Cairns Marathon on July 17, the Cairns Port Douglas Trail Ultra taking place from September 2 to 4, and Great Barrier Reef Ocean Swim Series on October 22.
The Port Douglas Gran Fondo Festival, which is in the diary from September 9, is a new three-day cycling spectacular that will include a race along the Great Barrier Reef Drive between Port Douglas and Palm Cove with the athletes enjoying exclusive access to the scenic route.
The Cairns Indigenous Art Fair is returning in 2022 – after becoming an online event for the past two years – with the show scheduled to take place across five days from July 6. A highlight of this popular art fare is a feature sale for emerging talent that draws buyers from around the world, Art Market, and visitors can also catch live performances and a fashion parade featuring local First Nations designers.
The Cairns Children's Festival is a two-day celebration on May 14 and 15, the Cairns Tropical Writers Festival is booked for three days from August 12 with "change" this year's theme, and Targa Great Barrier Reef is back on September 2 for three days of rally-style driving.
For something extra-terrestrial the Cardwell UFO Festival invites visitors to an alien-themed costume party - the festival takes place from August 12 to 14. For those seeking to sample a slice of outback life, a tour to Far North Queensland around July 9 will see you venturing "up the hill" from Cairns to the Tablelands to savour all the colour and action of the Mareeba Rodeo.
Image credit: Daniel Osterkamp
CAIRNS TO THE CAPE
The 3-day Cape Tribulation and Cooktown Wanderer tour sets off from Cairns and travels north to the World Heritage listed Daintree Rainforest, visits the iconic Cape Tribulation beach and journeys along the famous 4WD-only Bloomfield Track to Cooktown.
QUEENSLAND IS GOOD TO GO
As travel restrictions ease around Australia – and borders begin to remain reliably open to interstate travel – Queensland is ready to welcome visitors, with many tourism and hospitality businesses now wearing the "Good to Go" stamp.
This government-backed endorsement means the organisation has implemented a COVID-safe program that guarantees those working behind the scenes have COVID Safe documentation in place, completed the COVID Clean module, or adopted the COVID Ready program.
It is about giving holidaymakers confidence that the wellbeing of guests and staff that will remain the top priority as we settle into this “new normal” of post-pandemic travel.
Good to Go isn't limited to accommodation providers, tour operators and local attractions, with many of the state's 2022 events – both big and small – also ensuring they are committed to providing a COVID Safe experience for attendees.
So, what are you waiting for? There's never been a better time to get a shot of that energy and enthusiasm that only comes when visiting Queensland.