Sleepy Town Of Bowen North Queensland


Christmas Road Trip to Sleepy Town Bowen, North Queensland. Australia

This Christmas we took the Great Queensland Getaway, and hit the highway for an epic Brisbane to Bowen, North Queensland road trip.  From the city lights of Brisbane to the technicolour underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland has a slice of paradise to suit every traveler.

While there’s no shortage of places to hit the bitumen, some road trips are considered true stand-outs. Like the 1808-kilometre Pacific Coast Way, stretching from Brisbane to Cairns, cusping the region’s renowned beaches and rainforest. As Australia’s second largest state, there’s a whole lot of Queensland to discover – 1.85 million square kilometers

The Pacific Coast Way links coastal havens, hinterland towns, and major cities all along the east coast, from the Gold Coast to Cairns. The Pacific Coast is a 'big' drive. From South East Queensland to the Tropical North you can discover world class resorts, lush farming regions, stunning coastline, and communities that inspire sea changes. Linger near the warm temperate Pacific Ocean, where cocktail hour includes a backdrop of blue waters crashing onto white shorelines.

Brisbane to Bowen is 1144 km or 12 hours, 53 minutes. This is a really long drive, so it's not very realistic to drive nonstop. We stopped for and overnight in Rockhampton, which is the central hub to the Capricorn and Leichardt Highways, Australia’s Country Way and Pacific Way (Bruce Highway) and 7 hours from Brisbane. Rockhampton is the beef capital of Australia with many cattle stations in the local area. Rockhampton is the heart of the Fitzroy Basin, Australia’s second largest river system, and bordered by the brooding Berserker Ranges, ultimately delivering the best of both worlds for outdoor and adventure buffs. Up early we did the 6 hour drive to Bowen passing Mackay and Proserpine.

Situated at the top of the Whitsundays, Bowen offers visitors a veritable paradise with eight beautiful beaches to enjoy and explore. The inner reef is just metres from many of Bowen's bays. It's beginning to look like a monumental Bowen Christmas. The Poinciana’s are in bloom, the mangos are ripening on the trees and the weather is warming up. We loved our North Queensland take on Christmas, and we reckon you will too – here's why we loved our Bowen Christmas.

North Queensland’s oldest town, Bowen is well known for two main reasons - it is the home of Bowen Mangoes (a popular variety of the mango fruit) and it was the main filming location for the famous movie Australia in 2008. Bowen is the home of the famous Big Mango statue. The 10m high Bowen Mango represents the sweet and delicious mangoes that are grown in Bowen and sold nation-wide. 

Baz Luhrmann's epic movie, Australia
Baz Luhrmann's epic movie, Australia
Baz Luhrmann's epic movie, Australia

Bowen was the main location for Baz Luhrmann's epic movie, Australia. Starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, the film was set in the 1930s, and revolves around the relationship between a respectable English aristocrat (Kidman) and a rough-and-ready cattle drover (Jackman). The two are caught in World War II bombing raids, which is where Bowen comes in: it is the stand-in location for Darwin. Even now Bowen evokes the feeling of an age gone by; streets as wide as a six-lane highway and hotel buildings so old you feel like you are already on a movie set. Baz Luhrmann himself was taken aback when he discovered the 1940s Summergarden movie theatre already in Bowen, and immediately started using it to view the end-of-day "rushes" - the raw footage he had shot that day.

Summergarden movie theatre
Summergarden movie theatre
Summergarden movie theatre
Summergarden movie theatre
Summergarden movie theatre

The Summergarden Theatre

For film buffs, the Summergarden Theatre at Queens Beach is a must visit. Built in 1948, modern facilities merge with old world charm, and is a must see for tourists and shutterbugs. With twin screens, the theatre provides a full cinema experience showing blockbusters, family films and Hollywood Classics. The Summergarden Theatre has a strong association, extending from the late 1940s until the present, with the communities of the districts of Bowen, Whitsunday, Proserpine and Collinsville as a focal point of social life. The theatre functions not only as a cinema, but also as a venue for other forms of popular entertainment and important social occasions for which the place is a focus for memories.

Check out our little movie at Instagram of The Summergarden Theatre, Bowen.

A hearty breakfast is a must before you hit the trails and beaches.

Le Sorelle Coffee House
Le Sorelle Coffee House
Le Sorelle Coffee House
Le Sorelle Coffee House
Breaky Burger - Le Sorelle Coffee House
Breakfast Crepe - Le Sorelle Coffee House

Le Sorelle Coffee House

 From a shipping container to their very own shop on one of Bowen's main streets Le Sorelle Coffee House and Florist on Richmond St created by  local girls, Alexandra, Bianca and Virginnia, who also happen to be sisters, have banded together to open this cute café with its faux grass walls and ceiling. Le Sorelle boasts old-fashioned customer service, fresh food made in-house, gourmet fudge and the best coffee in the Whitsundays. They offer a divine hot cooked breakfast, a delicious lunch menu and desserts to satisfy any sweet tooth. We loved this little café and ate here twice. They make great coffee and adapted to Covid times by integrating and order pick up window with drive through capability in one of their front window. They have indoor and outdoor seating, playground, dog fenced area, and serve a myriad of lovely food items along with curious quirky gifts items. The staffs were very pleasant and the café itself was beautifully set up and presented.

Le Sorelle The Sisters Coffee House

The Cafe Horseshoe Bay
The Cafe Horseshoe Bay
The Cafe Horseshoe Bay
The Cafe Horseshoe Bay
The Cafe Horseshoe Bay
The Cafe Horseshoe Bay

The Horseshoe Bay Café & Beach Bar

Horseshoe Bay is probably Bowen’s most iconic beach, a favourite for locals and visitors alike. The Cafe Horseshoe Bay is Bowen's newest and most exciting new cafe. With a key focus on the regions local produce, they strive to make every experience incredible and make your trip to Horseshoe Bay that much more memorable. Great place to chill and read a book and gaze at the ocean. 

Zucinni And Corn Fritter Tower - The Cafe Horseshoe Bay
Stacked Breakfast Bun - The Cafe Horseshoe Bay
The Cafe Horseshoe Bay

We absolutely loved our breakfast here. Everything was cooked to perfection and tasted lovely. We had great service from the very friendly waitresses during our breakfast. Staffs bring out a bowl of water for your pup and love pats.

The Cafe Horseshoe Bay

Bowen boasts eight beaches within a 10-minute drive. That’s one for every day of the week, plus a spare. And each beach has its own distinct personality.

Kings Beach

With views over Gloucester, Middle and Stone Islands, Kings Beach is a beach of contrasts. Large granite boulders protect the mangroves of Magazine Creek, and offer a rare glimpse of a delicate eco-system. Beautiful and often deserted, this sweeping long stretch of sand is ideal for those who wish to relax and enjoy the quiet life. Kings Beach is for the Robinson Crusoe traveller who likes to take their dog for a walk. This 24h off leash Dog Friendly Beach just north of the horse exercise area.

Queens Beach

Queens Beach is a great beach to enjoy a leisurely stroll and at 5km, is the longest beach in Bowen. Free BBQs dot the beachfront and there is a large playground. A shared walkway and bicycle circuit make it a great spot for exercise. At the most northern end of Queens Beach lies the mouth of the Don River and with onshore winds and lagoons creating tide and sand movement. Dog off leash area is right next to the horse exercise area so this beach is suitable for horses and hounds that are comfortable with each other’s company.

Check out our little movie at Instagram of Playtime Queens Beach Bowen

Rose Bay

Rose Bay is a beautiful little bay with an unbeatable aspect. It has views that reach across to the magnificent peaks of Gloucester Island. With plenty of space, Rose Bay beach is a great place for the kids to explore the rock pools at low tide, while family and friends can relax and make use of the BBQs and picnic tables. The northern end of the beach is an ideal launch point for kayakers and paddle boarders, whilst divers and snorkellers can enjoy the fringing reef that hugs the shoreline.

Horseshoe Bay

Horseshoe Bay is probably Bowen’s most iconic beach – a favourite for locals and visitors alike. The Café is close to the beach making this spot a perfect location to start your day. The beach is protected by two granite outcrops, which provide a haven for a wonderful range of fish and coral just a short swim from the beach. Horseshoe Bay is a top spot for divers and snorkellers.

Gordon Beach is off-the-beaten track which is great for fishing. Grays Bay is for sunset drinks, paddle boarding and kayaking; Murray Bay is a hidden local secret found down a little track. The Front Beach is for families where kids chase soldier crabs and frolic in a water park.

Grand View Hotel

Experience the flavours of Bowen. Using only the freshest local produce, the Grand View restaurant is well known for its diverse and modern cuisine. The menu consists of your favourite pub meals with modern flair and ever-changing weekly specials thanks to the amazing local produce available.

Queens Beach Hotel

Queens Beach Hotel

The Queens Beach Hotel offers great food and drinks seven days a week for lunch and dinner. Their menu consists of all the pub classics along with a selection of beer food for you to graze while enjoying a drink with friends. Seating outside allows your pup to sit with you while you have a beer.

The Original North Australian

Original North Australian

The Original North Australian 1862 may be the oldest licensed pub in the NQ, and are newly renovated and ready to be at your service. They provide delicious meals, alcoholic beverages, music to match your mood, modern industrial décor. Seating outside allows your pup to sit with you while you have a beer.

One of the best ways to enjoy Bowen's coastal scenery is to explore the many beautiful tracks and lookouts.

Flagstaff Hill

Bowen’s premier lookout is Flagstaff Hill and is a must do whilst visiting Bowen Flagstaff Hill offers some of the best coastal views you will ever see with a 360-degree panorama of the whole Bowen region – and you won’t have to walk up a hill! The views encompass the Whitsunday Islands of Gloucester, Middle, Stone, Holbourne and close to shore, North Head Island and it's historic lighthouse. The expanse of Kings Beach is best viewed from the top, stretching to Rose Bay and the pendulous boulder of Mother Beddock Lookout on Cape Edgecumbe. The township of Bowen, rich harbour, marina and jetty lie to the inland, while to the west the Whitsunday hinterland comes alive at sunset with golden hues.

Hanson Park to Horsehose Bay (2.6km)

Boasts some of Bowen's prettiest views, and follows Queens Bay around to Horseshoe Bay. It's a wide paved track making it wheelchair and stroller friendly.

Kings Beach Walk (1.8km)

Is an easy walk along the sandy beach, starting from the car park area below Flagstaff Hill. Access to the beach can also be made from Rose Bay or via a short, unsealed road off Queens Road.

Queen Bay Beach Walk (1.6km)

You just need to follow Queens Beach, from the Don River estuary to Golf Links Road. This path has beautiful views of both the bay and the suburb of Queens Beach.

The Bowen Foreshore and Jetty

Enjoy the foreshore parklands or walk the planks of the town jetty. It’s a great way to observe the turtles, dugongs and stingrays that cruise the shallows when the tide is in.

Cape Edgecumbe Walking Trail (2.5km)

With its many elevations and beautiful views, the walking trail starts from Horseshoe bay, traverses Murray Bay and terminates at Rose Bay. Nature lovers will be impressed by postcard-worthy lookout views of the bays and beaches, whilst having the opportunity to see native wildlife up close. You can walk the entire circuit or just part of it, as there are entry points at Horseshoe, Murray and Rose Bays

Tony and Kim acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians of the lands in North Queensland region. We pay respect to Elders past, present and emerging and acknowledge their ongoing relationship and connection to Country.
Within the Whitsunday Region, five groups of traditional owners occupy the country, within, but not limited to the following areas:

Ngaro Country around the Whitsunday Islands and the mainland coastlines
Gia Country around Proserpine and Gloucester surrounds (north to Bowen, south to O’Connell River and east to the Clarke Connor Ranges)
Juru Country around Bowen and Gumlu north to the Burdekin River
Jangga Country around Mount Coolon and surrounds
Birriah Country around Collinsville and surrounds

Bowen is well known for Mangos

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.

#Visitqueensland #lovewhitsundays #thisisqueensland #seeaustraliaThe #seeaustralia #brisbanebloggers #Australia #liveinthemoment #travel #Bowen

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