Texas: beyond cowboys and cactus

Texas: beyond cowboys and cactus
By admin


Expected: Bona fide cowboys

When you walk into a saloon in Texas you will find hooks fixed to the booth. Ladies, these are not for your bag – they’re for cowboys to hang their hats on. Authentic cowboys are found in rural areas away from the wannabes that the cities attract. If you want to see the genuine article, the town of Bandera is the cowboy capital of the world. Expect horses hitched to posts and meals from the back of a chuck wagon.

Unexpected: Spanish flair

You will hear the word Tejano (Spanish for Texan) spoken often in San Antonio, where the majority of people have Hispanic heritage. Sombreros replace cowboy hats, tacos are a breakfast food and the city’s market square is the largest Mexican market outside of Mexico. Here you’re likely to find flamenco dancers and mariachi bands, and you may spot some charros horsemen (traditional Mexican riders) in their sombreros. Salsa is not just a side dish in San Antonio; at establishments such as Rosario’s Caf√© y Cantina salsa dancing is fuelled by Tex-Mex food and margaritas.



Expected: Texas style proportions

They say that everything’s bigger in Texas – and that begins with meals. The Texan barbecue is an obsession and fat slabs of beef are a testament to the state’s cattle industry. Most self-respecting barbecues will serve steak, ribs, sausage and bread on a stack of butcher’s paper that doubles as a grease-relieving hand wipe. Do not commit the faux pas of asking for barbecue sauce – most places won’t deliver, saying they have nothing to hide. Don’t expect forks either – as one venue puts it, they can be found “at the end of your arm”.

Unexpected: Small eccentric venues

With the town slogan “Keep Austin Weird”, you know you’re in for a surreal time in this city. Roadside food is all the rage here and some of Austin’s best grub comes from the smallest of venues – the Airstream trailer. Found in car parks, these moveable feasts dish up some wacky cuisine.

At food cart Oh my Lard! everything is deep fried, from the Oreos to the dill pickles. At the Chocosutra trailer you can try spicy chocolate guacamole before cooling down with a basil spritzer from The Ice Cream Social Truck.



Expected: Vast stretches of desert

Think Texas, think cactus. When in bloom the distinctive plant provides a shot of technicolour to the otherwise ochre uniformity of the desert. The largest piece of protected Chihuahuan desert in Texas is at Big Bend National Park, where you’ll find the Chisos Mountains. The most popular attraction in the park is a vantage point called The Window, where a break in the red rock frames a view of terrain that seems to wrap around the horizon.

Unexpected: Rolling green hills

Forget boulders and sand, Texas has a little known landscape of undulating green fields aptly called Hill Country. The New York Times compared this region to Tuscany and nominated it as the number one place to visit in North America. Wildflowers are so prolific in spring that there is a Bluebonnet Trail consisting of country roads meandering through pastel-carpeted meadows. The scene is that of an Impressionist painting streaked with yellow, blue and red. This region is increasingly recognised for its quality wine too.


Did you know?

Texas is larger than Great Britain, Ireland, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands combined.

It’s illegal to put graffiti on someone else’s cow.

It is still a hanging offence to steal cattle.

The hamburger was created in Athens, Texas in the late 1880s.

The soda drink Dr Pepper was invented in Waco in 1885 by Charles Alderton who was a pharmacist.


Email the Travel Weekly team at traveldesk@travelweekly.com.au

Latest News

  • Cruise
  • News

MSC builds new hospital ship with Mercy Ships

Cruise line MSC has joined forces with Mercy Ships International, through the MSC Foundation and the MSC Group, to build a new hospital ship.  The new purpose-built hospital ship will expand the impact of Mercy Ships’ life-changing surgeries, anaesthetic care and surgical education for future generations of patients and healthcare professionals in sub-Saharan Africa. Chairman […]

  • Cruise

“I peed on myself watching this” – Social media users squirm at Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of The Seas 55ft dive video

Cruises aren’t necessarily known for attracting adrenaline junkies, however, Royal Caribbean is shaking things up with the 55ft dive aboard its Harmony of the Seas ship. In an eye-watering video, Ginni van Katwijk, a trained Royal Caribbean diver can be seen jumping off a 55ft high diving board into a pool below. (Lead Image: Instagram: adventures_with_ginni) […]

  • Aviation

FLIGHT REVIEW: The Qantas Boeing 787 Dreamliner business class

There are only a few airlines that make you feel right at home as soon as you board and fewer safety videos that leave you with a proud tear in your eye. Call it clever branding, but it really hits home! Highlighting the talented Qantas employees around the world all while promoting their broad international […]

  • News
  • Technology
  • Travel Agents

Traveltek offers travel agents new rapid deploy cruise website

Traveltek has developed an affordable and convenient solution for cruise booking websites, tailored to meet the needs of travel agents. Created with Digitaltravel.io, the easy-to-deploy, customer-facing ‘out of the box’ cruise solution is available as a fully bookable website or a search-only widget and is designed for small businesses with a specific focus on growing […]

  • Tour Operators
  • Travel Weekly TV

What sets Eclipse Travel apart with Africa expert Hilary Dubyk: Travel Weekly TV

Join Hilary and Nancy on the couch in the weeks episode and learn a little more about why Hilary loves ‘the Mother Continent’ so much and why she thinks the expedition cruise space is one of the most exciting to watch in 2024. Hilary is an absolute Africa specialist who has found a home in […]

  • Destinations
  • Tourism

Surge in Australians visiting Japan

The number of Australians visiting Japan in the first quarter of 2024 increased by 46.3% compared to the same period in 2019, new data released by Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) shows. Visitor numbers in March alone were up a staggering 87.4% compared to March 2019. “These figures are fantastic to see and confirm what […]

  • Cruise
  • Luxury
  • News

Seabourn announces Western Kimberley Traditional Owners as Godparents of Seabourn Pursuit

Seabourn has named Western Kimberley Traditional Owners, the Wunambal Gaambera, as Godparents of the ultra-luxury purpose-built Seabourn Pursuit. It is the first cruise line to appoint Traditional Owners as godparents of a ship. Seabourn Pursuit embarks on its inaugural season in the Kimberley region this June. The naming ceremony will take place on Seabourn Pursuit’s […]

  • Luxury

Malolo Island Resort opens brand new Spa

Fiji’s Malolo Island has added another string to its bow – opening its $1.3 million day spa on Thursday, 18th April 2024. (Lead Image: matriarch Rosie Whitton with spa staff) Located at the edge of the resort’s luscious patch of tropical rainforest, the new “Leilani’s Spa” adds another level of elevated experiences to Malolo’s already […]