Bowen

View of ocean and islands - Photo and text courtesy of Tourism QLD

Most Australians only think of Bowen as the home of mangoes and tomatoes, but there is a variety of interests for travellers in this tropical country town.

Located halfway between Mackay and Townsville, Bowen is very much a beach town. Tucked away a few kilometres east of the highway are eight golden palm-fringed beaches and parks studded with mango trees.

Bowen was the first town established in Australia's north. The town's documented history dates to 1770 when Captain Cook named the area of Cape Gloucester and described Edgecumbe Bay in his diary.

There are full-scale resorts, motels and caravan parks. Bowen has licensed clubs and old colonial pubs with colourful histories. There is a twin cinema complex which includes a heritage cinema, and a number of restaurants that cook the wonderful local seafood.

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Photos

Snorkelling at Horseshoe Bay - Photo courtesy of Tourism QLD
Greys Bay - Photo courtesy of Tourism QLD
Sunset at Horseshoe Bay - Photo courtesy of Tourism QLD

Underwater Recommendations

The magnificent clear waters surrounding Bowen and its proximity to the Great Barrier Reef make it an outstanding area for snorkelling and scuba diving. Some of the best fringing coral lies just metres off Bowen's shores meaning snorkellers and divers can walk off the towns white sandy beaches and view hundreds of species of corals, fish and other exotic marine life.

Locally Horseshoe Bay and Murray's Bay are the best while Rose Bay is good for snorkelling. The best time to dive the town's bays is early morning on a high tide, which means calm waters and good visibility. Horseshoe Bay is protected by two granite outcrops that reach out towards the ocean and offers a safe diving haven when the open sea is too rough to negotiate.

You can expect to see all the tropical fish you get on the Great Barrier Reef. They may be smaller in numbers but they are all there. There are soft corals, hard corals, and nudibranchs and sea slugs. Middle Island, just eight nautical miles north east of Bowen is another excellent dive spot. Completely deserted, the island has a fringing reef with corals and fish nearly on par with the outer reef and offers an excellent dive spot.

Getting There

Located halfway between Mackay and Townsville.
Nearest Airport: Proserpine

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