A certified hidden gem, Bowen is waiting for you to explore and discover! If you're planning to visit Bowen soon, check out the following list...
1. You can walk to the reef!
That's right, within 5 minutes of donning your snorkel, you can be checking out the inner reef, located off several Bowen beaches. Bowen's reef is home to many types of coral, clams, fish, rays and turtles. As it is such a short swim to the reef, snorkelling at Bowen is perfect for beginners and children.
2. 8 unique beaches within 10 minutes drive
While Horseshoe Bay is our famous beach, no 11 out of 101 in Australia, there are many more beaches to explore. Each beach in Bowen is great for a different activity, from jet-skiing and fishing, to stand up paddle boarding, snorkelling and sunbaking of course!
3. Home to Giant Red Star Fish
During winter the daytime tides are so low you can walk all the way to North Head Island and the historic Bowen Lighthouse. Along the way, check out our local star fish! They're enormous, red, knobbly and glow in the afternoon sun. You'll see lots more interesting sea creatures too, including feather stars, sea cucumbers, urchins, mermaid coins and puffer fish. Be sure to wear shoes!
4. Boat to Plate Fresh Seafood
Just before sunset, the prawn trawlers leave the Bowen Harbour for the evening catch. Throughout the night you'll see their lights bobbing against the dark shadow of Gloucester Island. In the morning the Bowen Harbour is a hive of activity as prawns, scallops, mackerel and live coral trout are unloaded and prepared. While many live coral trout are exported to Asia, you can be guaranteed super fresh seafood, caught just hours earlier.
5. Flagstaff Hill Lookout
Flagstaff Hill offers some of the best coastal views you will ever see with a 360 degree view of the entire Bowen region. Stretching to the south is Gloucester Island and Passage, while to the North you will see Cape Edgecumbe, Queens Bay and Abbot Point. From June to September, you will see whales from Flagstaff Hill, breaching, waving and occasionally giving birth.
6. Turtle Nesting & Hatching
During November flatback turtles make their way to Bowen Beaches to nest. 50 days later, the turtle hatchlings appear and make their way to the water. The Bowen waters are home to 7 of the 8 sea turtles, including the Australian Flatback, Green, Hawksbill, Loggerhead, Leatherback and Olive Ridley. Bowen also has a turtle rescue and rehabilitation centre for turtles called BSTAR.
7. Bowen Mangoes are Famous World Wide
There's a few reasons why Bowen is famous for mangoes! Australia's favourite mango, the Kensignton Pride mango, was first named in the late 1880s on a Bowen farm and was selected for its stringless flesh, red blush and unique flavour. In 1991, the R2E2 mango variety was released, after several years in development in a Bowen orchard. The R2E2 is a popular mango for export as it has a long shelf life and boasts a deep red blush. Today, Bowen produces approximately 1 million trays of mangoes each year. We're also home to the Big Mango, famously stolen in 2014.
8. Salad Bowl of the North
Bowen is home to Australia's largest winter vegetable growing region, worth more than $450 million at the farm gate. Tomatoes and capsicum, corn, beans, pumpkin and melon, are the main crops, while the Mt Dangar strawberry farm is the perfect place to pick your own! Once the winter season finishes in November, mangoes are just in time for Christmas, harvest begins in late October.
9. The Summer Garden Theatre
Operated for over 50 years by the same owner, Ben Delucas, the Summer Garden Theatre is one of the few remain independent cinemas in Australia. As soon as you arrive you will be charmed by the 50's architecture and walk of fame as you head to your seat. Ben played a pivotal role in the filming of the movie Australia in Bowen, and counts Baz, Nicole and Hugh as some of his closest friends.
10. WW2 Catalina Flying Boat Base
During World War 2 Bowen provided the perfect base for the Catalina Flying Boats. These airplanes were painted matt-black and flew at night to detect enemy advancement in the Coral Sea.
11.Always a Calm Spot on the Water
Cape Edgecumbe, home to Horseshoe Bay and other beaches is an all-weather peninsula! During the predominant SE breeze, Greys Bay and Queens Beach are glassy, perfect for gentle boating and stand up paddle boarding. Swing to a Northerly wind, and Horseshoe, Murrays and Rose Bay are the picture of tranquillity. If you're chasing the wind for a kiteboard, jetski or windsurf, the Front Beach is your pick.
12.The Oldest Town in the North
Back in the 1860s Bowen was flagged to be the Capital of North Queensland, due to the ideal harbour for shipping. Within 10 years the Townsville Port had overtaken Bowen, but evidence of the plans for the town remain today, with the extra wide streets and 150 year old Jetty.
13.The Perfect Family Holiday
Since the 1950s Bowen has been a favourite for family vacations for regional residents. Collinsville locals would make the day-long journey over rough dirt to stay at the Murrays Bay resort for the weeks over Christmas. Children would fish and explore the rocks, while Mum and Dad relaxed on the beach. Fast forward to 2017 and not much has changed! Bowen is a relaxed, friendly community with plenty of free activities for families to enjoy. The children can run free, and parents can slow down and experience true country town hospitality.
14.150 Year Old Jetty
The Bowen Jetty stretches 800 metres out into Edgecumbe Bay, providing a safe dock for tugboats that assist the coal ships in the North. Wind back a few years, however, and the Jetty was a hive of activity, sending out meat, livestock, coal and salt to other domestic ports. Today the Jetty is the perfect spot for a walk, to throw a line or to spot a turtle. Join the Bowen community in the late afternoon for a stroll on the Jetty and have a chat to the locals!
15. 30+ Murals and Counting!
>Take a step back in time and check out Bowen's history as you walk around town. Our many murals depict the settlement and development of industry in the region. In recent months, a set of new murals have been painted in town, highlighting the role that locals play in making Bowen what it is today!