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Chinchilla, Queensland


Melon Festival
A Queensland youngster tucks into watermelon in Chinchilla

A Queensland youngster tucks into watermelon in Chinchilla

© Tourism Queensland

If you're tucking into watermelon somewhere in Australia, chances are you're sinking your teeth into juicy watermelon flesh from the Queensland town of Chinchilla.

Known as the Melon Capital of Australia, Chinchilla produces a quarter of all watermelon on the Australian market, and celebrates every two years with a four-day Melon Festival.

The 2013 Melon Festival has come and gone and festival secretary Tania Thornton says the 2015 event will be held from February 19 to 22.

What happens at the festival?

It's all watermelon fun and you'd have to be in it to really enjoy it. Just be sure to be suitably attired — old clothes will do — as you may be slipping and sliding in the slush of squashed watermelon, rind, flesh, pips and all.

In melon skiing, for instance, you'd have to squeeze your feet into watermelons and ski down a soapy course of watermelon debris with many a slip and tumble.

Or, if you're used to doing target practice, try hitting the bull's-eye, but with a large and, yes, heavy melon.

Or try to be first to reach your melon in the melon bungy while being tethered by a bungy cord to three other contestants in a field of slippery squashed melon.

Or you can join the pip spitting events to see who does it farthest, fastest, best.

There are melon iron man and woman competitions, too, as well as markets, a street parade, arts and crafts, a poets' breakfast, luncheons, a family concert, and even a laser show.

Where is Chinchilla?

The town of Chinchilla is on the Warrego Highway northwest of Toowoomba past Dalby, and is some 300 kilometres from Brisbane.

It lies in Queensland's Darling Downs fertile agricultural region and while farming has been its mainstay for years, coal and gas projects in the region are fueling greater development.

The visitor centre on Warrego Highway provides information on the town's attractions and amenities which include the Chinchilla Cultural Centre, with a 700-seat auditorium, cinema, function room and theatrette; the Chinchilla White Gums Art Gallery with new displays monthly; and a Historical Museum.

Aside from a taxi, there is no local public transport, so it's best to have a car for touring the area.

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