THE ARB Eldee Easter Festival is an essential family-friendly four-wheel drive event held annually near the rural outback town of Silverton, approximately 55km north-west of Broken Hill in NSW.
Each year, owners of the Eldee Homestead property, Naomi and Stephen Schmidt, open their gates to let families participate in a weekend full of fun activities and (often-intense) off-road events. And despite COVID-19 quashing the event in 2020, the Eldee Easter Festival was back in 2021 for its 10th anniversary, to help raise funds for the Childhood Cancer Association based in SA.
Taking place from April 2 to April 6, families gathered in front of the homestead restaurant for registration and scrutineering on the Friday afternoon.
The competitive 4WD activities then took place over Easter Saturday and Easter Sunday.
"We Originally had 40 [competitors], but with rescheduling and COVID - and with the week before with the final COVID scare - we had 15 teams start, with 10 dropping out just days before the weekend started, unfortunately," Naomi Schmidt said.
Activities this year included the ARB Mini Dakar, AGL Back and Forth, Silverton Bakery Paddy Melon Challenge Autophix Blind Man’s Run, 4x4 MotorKhana, Mad Max Museum Stump Up, ARB Broken Hill Swag Roll and Set up, John Dynon Water Carter, 7 Days Spares Toolbox Challenge, Eldee Station Easter Egg Hunt, Sheepyard Shenanigans, Ultimate9 All Terrain Challenge, and the R.A.B. Hobbies and Offroad Images Remote Control Car Mini Rally.
"The event went really well and the weather was really warm for an Easter Weekend," Naomi said. "Both Saturday and Sundays events ran very smoothly and the participants were very impressed with the variety of challenges that the whole family got to try.
"All of the families also were generously rewarded with sponsors products worth many thousands of dollars at the presentation on Sunday afternoon."
The event is proudly sponsored by aftermarket powerhouse ARB. A full list of event sponsors can be found here.
ARB's Matt Frost told 4X4 Australia that despite a lower attendance than usual due to COVID-19, it was still a great event, especially the entertainment, in particular the band, fireworks and drag queen show.
The traditional presentation took place late on Sunday afternoon - where Kirk and Dior (and kids) were crowned winners - which was followed by the fantastic fireworks display and entertainment.
"The Charity Auction held for the Childhood Cancer Association for SA on Sunday night raised $5000"
Extra activities for the kids included an RC track, a colouring-in competition and an Easter egg hunt on Sunday morning. Adults were treated to a complimentary sunset tag-along tour on the Saturday night, a massive campfire and access to 4x4 tracks on the Southern Barrier Ranges and on the Mundi Mundi Plains on the Monday following the event.
"The Charity Auction held for the Childhood Cancer Association for SA on Sunday night raised $5000," Naomi told 4X4 Australia. "We are really happy with this achievement and proud of everyone who attended and contributed to this amazing amount being donated to a group that supports so many regional families."
For those not wishing to compete, spectator passes were also available over the weekend, with passes allowing spectators to view the challenges and activities scattered throughout the property.
Eldee Homestead itself in an essential off-road destination, with 4x4 tracks (and guided 4x4 tours), mountain-bike trails, walking tracks and plenty more all within cooee.
Rooms are available, starting at $160 per night. Plus, there are a small number of caravan and campsites.
Eldee Station is located in Silverton, Outback NSW. From Broken Hill, follow the signposts to Silverton, which you'll reach after 25km. Cut through Silverton for about 16km until you reach Umberumberka, and from here you then need to travel on gravel for 19.6km until you reach Eldee Homestead.
To ensure you remain on the right track, keep the Barrier Ranges to your right as you follow the road, before turning right to the homestead once you pass the unmissable large gum tree. Use this map as a reference.
The 2022 ARB Eldee Easter Festival is scheduled to take place from April 15 to April 18.
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