Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia.
Every year on the third Saturday in August.
Nothing stops the sports - and beer-loving people of the Alice having a good time. Since 1962, the outback town has held an annual regatta on the sandy bed of the dry River Todd. The ‘boats’ are bottomless and the crews race barefoot with their lightweight craft hauled up around their waists. No oars, coxes or winged keels are required here, just a swift pair of heels.
The boats come in all shapes and sizes – yachts with sails, kayaks, flat-bottom boats pushed through the sand using shovels instead of oars, and even a bathtub derby where contestants carry a passenger in a tub. Add to that a sand-ski race, a tug-of-war, a ‘surf rescue’ and iron-man and woman events.
There’s plenty of outback anarchy away from the bathtub action. Locals don oddball outfits, a procession of boats and floats winds its way through the streets and, in proper outback style, enough booze flows to fill the Todd.
One of the most famous fixtures in a country obsessed by sport, the event began, like many great Australian traditions, as a piss-take. In this case, the target was the regatta in Henley-on-Thames, where the English upper class scoffs champagne and strawberries.
5 – get ready for the desert challenge.
Southwest of Alice are the breathtaking rock formations Kings Canyon, Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) and Uluru (Ayers Rock).
If you are a spectator, then you'll have a fantastic day watching all kinda of wacky races in the regatta - just make sure you drink plenty of water and have lots of sun protection, the Alice Spring climate is harsh and unforgiving - and if you go unprepared you won't be spared!
If you are a participant, then god help you. It's a dangerous event - ships can tumble and crash and any manner of mishaps can be be-falled upon you. But if you are crazy enough to go in the races, you won't listen to us anyway...
More info: www.henleyontodd.com.au
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