Wednesday, 26 January 2022

Outback Adventure, Part 3

Monday 6 September

 All of our group have a background of a country childhood. When researching for our trip, Jocelyn tried to book a tour with the 'Texan Longhorn Wagon and Safaris'. We were disappointed that on the day we were to be in Charters Towers, the tour was fully booked, but we were put on a cancellation list. We hadn't heard anything when we were only a few days away from Charters Towers. A phone call was made and we were delighted that we were able to juggle our itinerary and visit on the morning, of the day of our Charters Towers departure. 

The tour was offically from 8.30 to 11 pm. We, along with most of the visitors, arrived at 8am. We were made so very welcome that it was after 12 pm when everyone departed. An absolutely wonderful morning! So glad we didn't miss seeing these amazing beasts.

Michael and Lynda Bethel had spent all their lives in the bush, breeding cattle. In 1996 they established the HORSESHOE B LONGHORNS, Texas Longhorn herd on 1100 acres. These cattle are among the 'most famous and iconic breeds of cattle in history. The cattle on this property are direct descendants of the millions of Texas Longhorns that walked in the great trail herds from Texas in the late 1800's."

Many of the steers have horns spanning 250 cm or 100 inches, tip to tip. JR was a Guiness World Record Holder with his horns exceeding 3.15 m, [10 feet 4 inches.

Michael and Lynda  were perfect hosts and it was obvious that they have a great love for the land and these animals.

Their motto - "Do what you love and love what you do and you will never have to work a day in your life!"

Arrival at Leahton Park.

The home yard, an oasis in a land of brown.

First view of the Longhorns.


The tour commenced with an excellent  20 min video of the Longhorn's  Texan history and that of Leahton Park.

Our transport for the tour, Safari Rangers.

Lynda led the convoy to the yards where the calves were being held.
Seven months old and thankfully very docile.

These are the beautiful mares who pulled the wagons, prior to the Safari Rangers.

Now it was time rejoin the Safari Rangers and head off into the paddocks.

Michael was very accomplished at sharing his love of these very placid animals.

Leahton Park predominently has Texas Longhorns, but 6 other breeds are also being farmed.

African Watusi breed.

Indian Gyr breed.

Indian Gyr in background. Texan Longhorn foreground. There was mention of the Mexican Sardo breed, but I don't believe I have an image of one, unless I have it confused with the Indian Gyr. 

It seemed very unusual to see Scottish Highland cattle surviving in our summer temperatures of 30C plus!

American Bison.

Back scratchers were in evidence in several places.

Water Buffalo

Smoko was homemade biscuits and tea or coffee with time to chat with Michael and Lynda, wander the grounds and visit the JR Gallery of Horns.

JR is their famous bull, whose horns, over 13 years, grew so long that he was entered in the Guiness Book of Records.

A pole the length of JR's horns.

T-Bone also had impressive horns.

At Leahton Park, these beautiful creatures are farmed purely for their breeding and as a loving farm companion. 

I would love to read your coment.


  1. Utterly fascinating animals, Helen, all the breeds shown!
    Does the last sentence mean they are not raised for meat production and killed? I was really happy to read that because admiring them I was becoming sad when thinking of their destiny.
    The horns are really impressive. :)
    Thank you for the lovely post!

    And your comment yesterday! The book about kindness is indeed interesting. Unfortunately the post when translated into English by Google becomes partly incomprehensible. I hope to have time to write summaries in English more often.
    The wonderful mum/dad (his name is Sulo Karjalainen) of the bear cub is not blind. He's more than 80 years old and had his face injured by a bear that wanted to play. About Sulo, I found for example this video in English:

    Stay well! <3

    1. Sara, the cattle on this property are not sold for meat.
      The link for Sulo did not work, but I managed to google his name and have found several videos. What an amazing man, he is. A delight to watch the antics of the cubs.

  2. What a fascinating place to visit. The shape and length of the horns are incredible. The Scottish Highland cattle must spend a lot of time in the shade. You always take us on such wonderful excursions, Helen.

    1. I'm glad you seemed to have enjoyed the visit as much as I did, Marie.

  3. I can't believe that they all look so different! Each with its own personality too, I bet. Can you imagine carrying those horns around all the time?! There used to be a field with a few longhorns near Aspen when we biked there, and I would always stop and visit them.

    1. Contary to expectations, the horns are quite light weight.
      They adapt to the length and rarely does another cow, horn its mate.
      They become accustomed to being in the cattle chute from a young age and know to turn their heads sideways when entering so their horns aren't caught. A more specialised chute is required for the older animals with the extremely long horns.
      Since visiting, I have spotted several in fields, on two different occasions, when we were driving out in the country.

  4. Those horns! I wouldn't want to walk right up to them! But, I do have a fear of cows.

    1. These cattle appeared totally comatose, Mary.

  5. Most people don't realize what happens to the majority of dairy cattle who are unfortunate enough to be born male... Ah-- but enough of that! Lovely longhorns, brahmas, africans, scots! What a delightful day!

  6. It most certainly was, Bill!

  7. Good to know the cattle were docile. I still don't think I would have been as brave as you to stand beside one with my hand on its horn! That was such a nice experience you and your friends got to share and learn from a couple who are living their dream!

  8. It's interesting to me that the photos look like they could ACTUALLY have been taken in Texas when you compare landscape, animals and farm scenes! I'm glad you were able to arrange a visit!

  9. Beautiful animals and a fascinating tour. I wonder why their horns grow so long!