Singleton, in New South Wales' Hunter Valley is just two-and-a-half hours north-west of Sydney. Founded in 1820, it is one of Australia's oldest towns. It is a place of beautiful gardens, historical and cultural sites, vineyards and wineries, dairying, beef cattle, heavy industry, powerful mining operations and huge power stations.
Each year, Countryfest is held at Singleton Showground, attracting thousands of visitors and boosting tourism and trade for local businesses.
One of the main attractions at Countryfest is the Wife Carrying competition. The idea for that sort of competition began in Sonkajärvi, Finland and the 13th world championships were held this year. The preliminary games for the international event were held in Singleton. Couples from Australia, China, Japan, Lithuania, the United States, Ireland, Sweden and Great Britain will be taking part in the summer championships in Finland.
Last year, Anthony Partridge and Angela Moore, both from Singleton, came fifth in the World Championship with a time of 70 seconds. The world record stands at 55.5 seconds and is held by a couple from Tallinn in Estonia.
Winners of the local event receive a trip to Finland to compete in the World Titles and two nights in Helsinki. An added bonus is your wife's weight in beer.
Competitors race 240m on grass, and face four hurdles to go over and under. It finishes with a run through 12m of 1.2m deep water, before trekking through a sandpit to the finish line. There is a five-second penalty imposed if a partner touches the ground. There are several types of carrying permitted: piggyback, fireman's carry, or the Estonian's winning style where the wife hangs upside down with her legs around the husband's shoulders, holding onto his waist.
Singleton has some fine heritage buildings, many dating from the 1863 boom period. A brochure outlining a walk through the sites of relevant buildings is available at tourist information outlets. It has an attractive main street and shopping precinct, cafes and fine dining restaurants, the water wonderland of Lake St Clair and a host of boutique wineries.