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Bowen: Gem Of The Coral Coast
 
bowen qldBowen is a tourist meca that is situated just off the coast of Queensland's Whitsunday region, and is the ideal holiday destination if you are after fun, beauty and adventure. Often overshadowed by its nearby neighbour, Airlie Beach, Bowen is just as beautiful, offering a wealth of exciting things to see and do. Its position just a 45 minute drive down the coast makes it an essential place to visit while in the Whitsunday region. It is also acts as an ideal base for those wishing to explore the Whitsundays, which is is essentially what has secured its place on Australia's tourist map.

This charming town has resisted the changes that modernity bring about, opting to retain its sense of old-world charm. This is uniquely combined with a very easy-going and laid back atmosphere that immediately makes you feel a home. For a holiday that permits you to forget all the problems and hassles of life you simply have to head to Bowen!

One of the great things about Bowen is that it offers easy access to many of the 74 islands of the Whitsunday group. This means that you are surrounded by endless recreational pursuits and adventures. Tours to the islands (which include Gloucester, Poole and Holbourne) are on offer, or alternatively you can choose to go sailing through the still aquamarine waters between the islands. Another fantastic activity to take part in are the snorkelling and scuba diving activities. The sheltered reefs around the islands are the perfect starting point for beginners and children to first get accustomed to the delights and wonders of the underwater world. Meet up to 86 different species of marine animals and swim amongst the brightly coloured coral; this is a truly breathtaking experience.

While the Whitsundays are the main drawcard of Bowen, you will be pleased to find upon arrival that there is so much more on offer. The natural beauty here will just blow you away as you discover the beautiful beaches and secluded bays dotted up and down the coastline. The seven award winning beaches near to the town are amongst Queensland's best and offer something for everyone, including adventure seekers and sun bakers. Front Beach is the easiest to access from the town, situated right at the end of the main street. Bordered by a green park where there are picnic and BBQ facilities, its a popular place for picnicking and a refreshing dip in the ocean.

But if you are looking to escape the crowds you will find some real secluded gems in the unspoiled bays a short drive north of town. Rose Bay offers stunning views of the Whitsunday waterways and of Gloucester and Middle Island. This beach is ideal because it has all the facilities you will need, as well a gentle seaside setting that is ideal for beach cricket or footy! Horseshoe Bay is another popular swimming spot and is lifeguard patrolled, making it ideal for families. Its clean white sands, deep blue waters and granite headlands demarcating its northerly and southerly points. Fishing is extremely popular here; much like the rest of the region. Whether its fishing in rivers and creeks, off the shoreline, or in deeper waters in a chartered boat, there is something special about this place that keeps them coming back for more.

Commonly referred to as the town where "the bush meets the beach", Bowen enjoy a true country town feel, while still encompassing the best of seaside living. The bush literally converges onto the shoreline here; you can literally walk off the beach into some amazing walks that will take you through lush and thick vegetation.

The walk up to Flagstaff Hill lookout is a must and your efforts will be rewarded by panoramic views of Bowen, the coast and the countryside upon arrival at the Flagstaff. You can also marvel at the massive mango tree plantations that surround the town, where the infamous 'Bowen Mango' is cultivated. Its essential you visit the 'Big Mango', a large colourful replica of a mango situated at the Visitor Information Centre on the highway just out of town. Its a great photo opportunity!

There are a multitude of accommodation option available in Bowen, but none quite capture the laid back vibe and the friendly local atmosphere like the Castle Motor Lodge, located on Don Street in the town centre. Enjoy air-conditioned ground floor rooms, a remarkable swimming pool and spa, and a popular licensed restaurant. Ample parking and friendly, helpful staff will also make your stay all that more enjoyable and allow you to experience nothing but a pleasurable time in Bowen.

One of the latest attractions of Bowen would have to be that fact that Bowen is the movie set of the Baz Luhrmann epic, 'Australia'. Luhrmann chose Bowen as the set for the film because of its old world appeal and its typically Australian feel. While filming the town was branded as "Bowenwood" and was overflowing with A-list celebrities, film crews and of courses hordes of tourists trying to get in on the action. This is a truly unique place to visit and should definitely be part of your Bowen adventure.

With the Whitsundays on its doorstep, a shoreline of pristine beaches and bays and a lush hinterland, there really is no reason why you shouldn't make Bowen the destination for your next holiday.

Christine Barton




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