Thursday, 14 June 2018
|Our safari transport|
|Amigo and friend|
|Specially constructed race|
|Making friends with Lefty|
|Plenty to eat this year!|
|What else would you find on a longhorn property in the tropics? A heeland coo (highland cow for the non-Scots)!|
|No snakes up here|
|Buffalo (top of the pecking order)|
|Photo with J.R.|
|Lefty back again|
|On Towers Hill|
|World War II bunker|
Wednesday was our longest day on the road – 481 kms from Emerald to Charters Towns took us six and three quarters hours. The road was good with some traffic between Emerald and Clermont, where we topped up the fuel tank. The traffic thinned out considerably after the turn-off to Mackay and unfortunately, the standard of the roadway deteriorated. Large sections between Clermont and Belyanda Crossing were very bumpy, forcing the speed down to 60 km/h at times. It would appear that this speed was a bit too slow for a few drivers towing caravans, who had to hurry past. No doubt, they also had to spend time on arrival cleaning up the mess in their caravans! We stopped at Belyanda Crossing for lunch before changing drivers once again for the final leg to Charters Towers. Somehow, Himself always manages to select the best parts of the highways, leaving the bumpy sections to improve my driving ability!!!
There wasn’t much wildlife to be seen today, apart from a few emus, a large flock of brolgas and a few dead kangaroos. Apart from the coal mine/s near Clermont, we drove through cultivated farm lands – arables and seed sorghum – for quite some time, as well as numerous cattle stations.
We are staying at the Big4 Aussie Oasis Holiday Park at Charters Towers; it has certainly changed since we stayed here previously. The extra large sites are now much smaller, and there are more sites naturally. There appears to be entertainment or food at the campfire on most nights – tonight we had a paramedic give CPR instruction (complete with his little dolls) and advice on treating snake bite. After his finished, a singer (complete with loud music) took over.
We were in for another hot, clear day as we set off early this morning for our Texas Longhorn Safari at Leahton Park, north of Charters Towers. This 1100 acre property has 110 head of stock (the going rate is 1 animal per 10 acres in this area) and is home to the largest herd of full blood Texas Longhorns in Australia, including J.R. with his 3 metre wingspan! We were given seats on All-Terrain Polaris Rangers (we had the back seat, facing backwards!) and proceeded a few metres through the first gate before stopping, disembarking, entering The Love Shack and learning the art of artificial insemination. None of the cows on the property have ever actually met a bull. Back on board and we were met by two American Bison, before further gates and meeting the remainder of the herd, including Lefty – he liked being the centre of attention and followed us practically the whole way. We stopped a number of times for information and photo opportunities and we allowed alight from the vehicles except when near the water buffalo (can’t be trusted!). J.R. was very obliging and wandered away from the buffaloes so we could have a photo with him in the background. The morning finished with a very pleasant morning tea, complete with home made biscuits and slices.
This afternoon we had a drive to the Burdekin Weir and then back into town and up Towers Hill, with its World War II bunkers and tremendous views across the town and beyond.
Late this afternoon we were pleasantly surprised when our friends, Denise and Barry, arrived unexpectedly and pulled into a site only one away from us. Might be a long happy hour!