Alice Springs is proud to be home to one of Australia’s quirkiest race days: the Camel Cup. Around 20 riders bring their camels from farms around the region to race eight heats throughout the day, building up to a finale. You may not be surprised to hear that camels are not the easiest animals to ride, which is one of several factors that make the races so exciting to watch, providing endless fun and entertainment for both riders and viewers. Camels have a long history in Australia, however, this event is about more than racing camels – it’s more of a carnival. Aside from the races, visitors can enjoy an array of vibrant live entertainment, delicious food stalls and bars, and market stalls.
The origins of the Alice Springs Camel Cup can be traced back as far as 1970 when a bet between two friends led to a camel race in the dried up Todd River bed. The popularity of the race led to it being made into an annual event. Although the venue has temporarily changed for essential upgrades, the races generally take place in Blatherskite Park, which is the only venue within the Southern Hemisphere built specifically for camel racing. Within the park is the Noel Fullerton Camel Racing Arena, named after the man who originally challenged his friend to a camel race, without whom this thrilling event would not exist.
If you ever happen to be in Alice Springs in July, the Camel Cup is not to be missed.