"SO you're here for the triathlon," the young woman looked nonplussed while chatting to the svelte 1.8m man.
"Guess that means I won't be getting lucky with you tonight."
And she disappeared into the crowd.
That's how things roll in the Outback.
And having a good time at the Dirt n Dust Festival is mandatory.
You get given little choice in an action-packed weekend that is unique on the Australian events calendar.
It's an amazing combination of a triathlon, gala race day with gourmet luncheon, bull ride ... all followed by a massive party in the usually quiet cattle and mining town of Julia Creek, 664km west of Townsville.
The town will come alive for the festival this year on April 20, 21 and 22.
This adventure into the Outback's north-west is unforgettable and will have you longing for a return. Rural hospitality is at its best from the moment you get into town. People love to have a chat down the main street, and everyone gets a wave when you pass on the highway.
Things get under way on the Friday night next door to the Town and Country pub, which is transformed into festival central.
A welcoming dinner enables the triathletes to carb-load, while those not entered in the race can party on with the band.
From sun-up on Saturday, it's action aplenty as entrants prepare to take on a challenging sprint distance over three disciplines.
Competitors jump on the bus to start their race and swim 800m in Eastern Creek, about 25km from town. After cycling back, they do three loops of the main street on foot, all in rising temperatures.
The triathletes are given brilliant support from the spectators who line the main street.
There is a short rest before donning your best garb for the races.
Don't be fooled by the "turf club" moniker: it's a dirt track all the way. Hats are seemingly the measure of the man, and some wonderful characters converge to catch the action.
Those looking for something special while there should put the Red Claw Luncheon on their agenda.
It's important to pace yourself at the races, because the fun is only just beginning. As the sun sets the serious, action arrives.
Australia's best bull riders go on show. Part of the Pro Bull Riding calendar, this is serious stuff as you see man's attempt to tame the wildest of beasts.
After the bull ride winner is crowned, you'll mark time 'til the real partying begins. The live bands return to the main stage, leaving the triathletes, racegoers and bull riders to celebrate into the wee hours.
The kids aren't forgotten in all the athletic activity, and they have their own triathlon on Sunday morning. Children of all ages have a go and the race provides a brilliant finish to an amazing weekend.
Down under in Mount Isa
WANT to know why miners earn so much money? Visit the Hard Times Mine.
Donning the orange overalls, gumboots, helmet and lantern, it's as close as you'll get without signing up for a job underground.
You head below in a cage and get to touch, smell and feel your way around a mine.
While Hard Times Mine has never been in operation, and was constructed only for tourism purposes, it's a brilliant way to gain an insight into mining operations.
Old machinery is scattered around the tunnels, and you even get the chance to feel the power of an air-leg drill, see how they blast a face and hear what it sounds like below the surface when they light the wick.
Turning off your head lantern proves an eerie feeling and gives you an immediate respect for those who tackle the tunnels each day.
The minimum age for visitors is is seven. Entry fees: adult $45, concession $38, child $26, family $119.60 (two adults two children).
Tours run seven days a week, but bookings are essential.
DIRT N DUST FESTIVAL
The 2012 festival will be held on April 20, 21 and 22.
Julia Creek is on the Overlander's Way, which stretches from Tennant Creek to Townsville.
The town has a population of about 600.
The festival started with a couple of locals spinning yarns at the Town and Country Club bar back in 1994.
They wanted to put Julia Creek on the map. So they came up with an idea to host a triathlon, and with support along the way from a legend like Brad Bevan, it's become one of the most colourful events on the sport's calendar.
It's organised by a non-for-profit group and assisted by many locals - one in five of the McKinlay Shire residents volunteers in some way.
This lowest home in Berserker is perfect for the first home buyer looking to break out of the rental cycle or an investor looking to grow their portfolio. The home...
This affordable home is a great place to start for a young couple or the astute first home buyer. Situated In a central location in Kawana this home has a lot to...
Investors behold! This is the perfect property to begin or expand your portfolio. With tenants already in place, these low maintenance two bedroom units are ideal...
This stylish 3 bedroom low set brick unit is tucked away in a quiet complex in a great part of Norman Gardens. If you are looking for an excellent investment or...
This beautifully modern designed two storey 3 bedroom unit needs no maintenance and has a stunning entertaining area. Security gated and no mowing again, plus...
Normally just about impossible to find on 4000m2(1 acre approx.) this property has been placed on the market to sell and won't last long at this price. Features...
This is the perfect place to start, situated in a quiet street in Park Avenue and within walking distance to two primary schools and shops. Set on a fully fenced...
Surrounded by natural farm land this 2.5 acres and home is perfect for the family that will appreciate the peacefulness. The home has been completely renovated...
Modern luxury has never been so attainable with this gloriously detailed one bedroom apartment in the heart of Rockhampton's vibrant CBD. Revel in picturesque...
Breeze in and behold this ideal city apartment, your new home away from home. Located in the heart of Rockhampton's buzzing CBD you'll find these newly made luxury...
Join the Community.
Get your local news, your way.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.