You might not have heard of Chinchilla, but this friendly Queensland town is an Aussie must-visit – especially for watermelon fans. In fact, it’s Australia’s melon capital, producing many of Australia’s watermelons, rockmelons, and honeydew (ie: the best parts of your fruit salad).
But there’s more to Chinchilla than just great melons. Mayor (and Big Melon campaigner) Paul McVeigh shares a little more about what makes his town special.
What’s the best thing about Chinchilla?
Chinchilla is a vibrant country town in the heart of the Western Downs. The best thing about living in Chinchilla is the good, clean, country feeling you get to experience every day. There are ever-changing landscapes, with seasonal crops of wheat, cotton and sorgham, and paddocks of cattle. On your days off, you can go to the Bunya Mountains or go swimming in a country creek. There are also lots of great country stores, which provide old-fashioned service, complemented by modern retail goodies, gourmet food, and great coffee.
What annual events or festivals should people visit Chinchilla for?
We have the world’s biggest melon festival! To celebrate Chinchilla’s reputation as Australia’s Melon Capital, for four days every two years we transform the town into a sea of pink and green. More than 20,000 visitors from around the globe come to try their hand at a range of fun and quirky melon-related experiences, including pip-spitting competitions, melon skiing, melon hat wearing, melon iron man, the biggest melon weigh-in, melon farm tours, melon tossing, and melon bungee. There’s also a street parade, a beach party, market stalls, a golf day, a poets’ breakfast, and an art exhibition.
What’s the best free thing to do in Chinchilla?
Spend a day (or two) at the Chinchilla Weir. Located on the Condamine River, 10km south of town, the weir is a freshwater playground that’s a hit with visitors and locals alike. It’s great for swimming, fishing, and bushwalking, and there’s free camping available for a maximum of two nights. With toilets, power, and picnic facilities available, the Chinchilla weir is a bush oasis in the heart of the Western Downs. It’s a must-visit!
What’s something surprising about Chinchilla that only locals know?
The Cactoblastis Memorial Hall is located at Boonarga, on the outskirts of Chinchilla. The hall was erected as a monument to the Cactoblastis moth that ate prickly pear, a noxious weed that, in the 1920s and 1930s, covered Queensland and New South Wales in endemic proportions. The hall was listed on the Queensland Heritage Register in 1993, as it represented a unique piece of Queensland’s Cultural Heritage – it’s the only known case of a building being dedicated to an insect.
What’s Chinchilla’s best-kept secret?
It’s a great destination for geology and fossil fans. Grab a pick and a shovel and join other fossicking enthusiasts to search for your own piece of rare Chinchilla Red petrified wood. You can buy a licence to fossick on two local sites – just see the friendly people at the Chinchilla Visitor Information Centre, who’ll be more than happy to assist you.
Why should Chinchilla win the Next Big Thing?
The Big Melon would be the perfect addition to the Chinchilla landscape and become a major to-do on many Australian travel bucket lists. It would solidify our reputation as Australia’s melon capital.
Think we should build the Big Melon in Chinchilla? Cast your vote now for your chance to WIN $2000 towards your next Wotif holiday.*VOTE FOR AUSTRALIA’S NEXT BIG THING
*AU residents 18+ only. Ends 11.59am AEDT 9/10/18. Limit one entry/vote per person per valid email address. Full terms and how to enter via link. Permit NSW LTPS/18/27577.