Why You Should Visit Bowen, Queensland
If you are travelling along Australia’s east coast, be sure to plan a stop in the coastal town of Bowen. 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. There is more to this small town than meets the eye and there are plenty of ways to spend a day or two exploring Bowen!
The Big Mango
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. Seek out the Big Mango (or the Mini 6m Mango) for the perfect photo opportunity and drop into the Visitor Information Centre for some tasty mango sorbet. There is even an off-lead dog park on the grounds.
The Bowen Murals are another iconic feature of the town and many have been painted by well-known artists. There are 27 murals located around the town centre and each depicts a moment in Bowen’s rich history - a must-see if you are in the area.
Bowen’s diverse history has produced an eclectic range of architecture around the town. Buildings range from vintage Queenslanders to art deco masterpieces. If you are a keen photographer with an interest in perspectives, some great places to capture are the Old Museum Building, Bowen Harbour Board Building, Sky View Motel and the Summergarden Theatre.
Bowen Summergarden Cinemas
A new-release movie for $12, yes please! The old 1948 Summergarden Theatre in Bowen now screens movies in two cinema rooms using state-of-the-art digital projection. The Theatre is full of history and charm and owner Ben De Luca, who has run the theatre for 56 years, has some interesting stories about the time that Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman visited while filming the famous movie Australia in Bowen itself!
Did you know that Bowen is one of the only places on Australia’s east coast that you can walk straight of the shore into the water and explore the reef? Visit Horseshoe or Murray Bay at high tide, or the left side of Rose Bay at low tide, to view schools of brightly coloured fish among the hard and soft corals of the fringing reef. There are also great places for scuba diving including the sunken WW2 landing craft.
One of eight beaches within 10 minutes, Bowen’s iconic Horseshoe Bay is the favourite among both locals and visitors alike. Two granite outcrops frame Horseshoe Bay at either end of the beach and create a haven for marine life on the fringing reef. This is one of Bowen’s most popular snorkelling and scuba diving spots with the recently added attraction of the underwater Bywa sculpture, part of the Ngaro Underwater Marine Sculpture Trail in the Whitsundays.
Fish & Chips
Bowen is a great place to gorge yourself on fresh seafood with several cafes serving up mouth-watering fish and chips. For a tasty lunch overlooking the Bowen Marina, visit Birds Fish Bar at Bowen Fishermans Seafood. This family-owned business has been selling locally caught seafood wholesale for four generations and has now opened a cooked to order seafood cafe with outdoor seating on the waterfront.
Check out more hidden gems in the Whitsunday here!