Rockynats #5: Where, when and why!

Rare Spares Rockynats has new dates for 2025

Photographers: Ashleigh Wilson

If you tuned into our Rare Spares Rockynats coverage over the long weekend, you’ll have seen it has turned into a a mammoth event. For the past four events, Rockynats has coincided with the Easter long weekend, but next year it will fall on the weekend after, 4-6 April. If you’re curious as to why, read on!

Winding things back to the very beginning, Rockynats was originally planned to kick off in June 2020, but old mate COVID-19 put the mockers on that one. So  rather than wait for a whole year to get it up and running, Rockhampton Council opted to schedule Rockynats #1 over the Easter long weekend in 2021. 

And there it has stayed for four events, with Rockynats #4 being by far the biggest yet, with a whopping 57,000 spectators and over 1600 entrants. With the action spread over three outstanding precincts, Rockynats is not only one of the most picturesque settings for a major car festival in the country, but also one of the most user-friendly for entrant and punter alike.

With success and growth come challenges and there is no doubt that taking over a decent-sized CBD over multiple public holidays is no easy feat. One of the biggest issues with the long weekend is finding enough staff needed to make the event happen – and paying for them. We’re talking security and safety bods for starters, as well as essential services like the police, fireys and ambos. The hospitality industry has the same challenges, with many workers understandably wanting to enjoy the long weekend with their families.  

With that in mind, Rocky Council and the Summernats team decided to move the event away from the Easter Long Weekend next year, kicking it off just before the start of the Queensland school holidays on Friday 4 April. 

The move will significantly reduce the costs to council, ensuring that the event can have a long and fruitful future.

There are other benefits as well. For starters, many hospitality businesses that stayed shut over the long weekend (either due to labour costs/availability or Good Friday alcohol restrictions) will be able to open – great news for visitors and the town as a whole. And local residents who travel for Easter will have the opportunity to enjoy the event. 

And what about the epic street parade that has become such an awesome feature of Rockynats?

“”It is most likely that the street parade will stay in its lunchtime Friday spot,” says Summernats co-owner Andy Lopez.

“That means CBD workers and school kids alike will be able to enjoy the spectacle without disrupting school pick up or peak hour traffic. The same set up works perfectly for the City Cruise in Canberra for the Summernats each year.”

We’re pumped for Rockynats #5 and if you are too, keep your eyes on for entrant and ticket info.