Population 7483

At the north of the Whitsundays, Bowen is positioned within 5 kilometres of eight pristine beaches and bays. Named after the state's first governor, Bowen was established in 1861 – the first settlement in north Queensland. The town and surrounding area is well known for its mangoes, the Big Mango being testimony to this fact. Bowen has more recently gained fame as the film set for Baz Luhrmann's epic movie, Australia.

Visitor Information

Bowen Visitor Information Centre, Bruce Hwy; (07) 4786 4222

Nearby national parks

Nearby towns

  • Proserpine

    Proserpine is the inland sugar town and service centre of the Whitsunday Shire. It was named after the Roman goddess of fertility,...more

  • Airlie Beach

    Airlie Beach is at the centre of the thriving Whitsunday coast. This tropical holiday town offers a cosmopolitan blend of bars, restaurants...more

  • Ayr

    This busy town south-east of Townsville is surrounded by sugarcane fields – the most productive in Australia – and is the largest...more

In Town

Historical murals Around the buildings and streets of Bowen's town centre are 25 murals by local and national artists, each illustrating an aspect of the region's history. The mural by Australian artist Ken Done was displayed at Expo ’88. A new mural is commissioned every 2 years.

Historical Museum: covers history of area; open 9.30am–3.30pm Mon–Fri, 10am–12pm Sun Sept–Apr, closed Feb and Mar; Gordon St.

Summergarden Theatre: styled on the classic movie houses of Southern California. Used now to screen films and stage performances; Murroona Rd.


Bays and beaches Choose from 8 excellent spots for swimming, snorkelling and fishing in spectacular surrounds. Rose and Horseshoe bays are connected by a walking track with panoramic views over the ocean; a sidetrack leads to Murray Bay. Impressive corals and fish can be found at Grays, Horseshoe, Murray and Rose bays. Diving enthusiasts should head to Horseshoe and Murray bays. For a more exclusive swim, visit secluded Coral Bay. Details and directions from visitor centre.

Big Mango: tribute to the local Kensington Mango, grown since the 1880s. A shop sells all things mango-related – the mango ice-cream is a highlight; Bruce Hwy, Mt Gordon; 7 km S.

Gloucester Island National Park: group of secluded islands 23 km offshore, part of the Great Barrier Reef, boasting beaches and rainforest. Campers must be self-sufficient and obtain a permit. Access via private boat from Dingo Beach, Hideaway Bay, Bowen or Airlie Beach; (07) 4967 7355.

Cape Upstart National Park: remote granite headland flanked with sandy beaches; self-sufficient visitors only; access by boat, ramps at Molongle Bay and Elliot River; (07) 4967 7355; 50 km NW.

Collinsville: coalmine tours can be arranged at Bowen visitor centre; 82 km SW.

Fishing spots near town

Lake Proserpine 41 km

The closed season for barramundi in Queensland runs from November to February, but some of the best barra waters are exempt and this includes the fabulous Lake Proserpine, often called Peter Faust Dam, 26 km east of... Find out more

Eco-friendly activities around town

Wildlife tours - Rockhampton to Townsville 55 km

Proserpine River Eco Tours runs an eco-accredited all-day wildlife safari in which you have a fairly good chance of seeing saltwater crocodiles, agile wallabies, mud crabs and frillnecked lizards. The tour combines a... Find out more

Hiking the Whitsundays Great Walk 58 km

In the past few years a 30-kilometre walking track – the Whitsundays Great Walk – has been established, from Brandy Creek to Airlie Beach, through Conway State Forest. The two main camps, Repulse Creek and... Find out more

Camping - Whitsundays and Keppel Islands 77 km

If you want to camp on one of the Whitsunday Islands but do not want to kayak and do not own a boat, Camping Whitsundays and Island Camping Connections run a drop-off and pickup service, supply camping gear and food if... Find out more

Golf courses around town

Hamilton Island Golf Club 81 km

When Hamilton Island was being built in the 1980s it was a playground of the rich and famous. The island’s owner and developer, Keith Williams, knew a golf course would add to the tourism value of his island... Find out more

Campsites around town

Bona Bay camping area (boat-based camping) 21 km

This large shaded campground, with beach views, is on the south-west side of Gloucester Island. The site can hold up to 36 campers, making it suitable for large groups, but you need to be completely self-sufficient. The... Find out more

East Side Bay camping area (boat-based camping) 24 km

This site is on the east side of Gloucester Island between 2 rocky headlands and adjacent to a seasonal freshwater lagoon. It’s a small campground suitable for a maximum of 6 people and there are no facilities.... Find out more

Saddleback Island camping area (boat-based camping) 31 km

On the western side of Saddleback Island, this campground has space for 12 people. The only facilities are picnic tables, so you need to bring all self-sufficient goods and equipment.... Find out more

Camp Kanga 42 km

Powered sites are available at this campground, 24 km north-west of Proserpine on Crystal Brook Rd. It’s just 1.5 km from Lake Proserpine (also known as Peter Faust Dam) and offers handy extras such as laundry... Find out more

Armit Island camping area (boat-based camping) 43 km

This campground in the south-west corner of the island has space for 12 totally self-sufficient campers. Access to the southern beach and Little Armit Island is prohibited Oct–Mar each year, for regeneration.... Find out more

Grimstone Point camping area (boat-based camping) 48 km

This low-key, quiet campground is accessible by boat only. Pit toilets and picnic tables are the only facilities here so bring all self-sufficient goods and equipment (including insect repellent).... Find out more

Coconut Beach camping area (boat-based camping) 50 km

Coconut Beach has no facilities and suits self-sufficient campers. Access is by boat only; beware of marine stingers Oct–May and beware of estuarine crocodiles year-round. The campground is surrounded by the waters... Find out more

BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort 54 km

This modern 26 ha camping and caravan park is located in Cannonvale, 4 km from Airlie Beach’s town centre. The facilities are top class: ensuite powered sites, plenty of shade, concrete slabs, and 3 amenities... Find out more

BIG4 Airlie Cove Resort Van Park 59 km

This modern tourist park with excellent facilities is located 2.5 km from Airlie Beach town centre on Shute Harbour Rd. The campground features a Polynesian-style camp kitchen with fridge, microwave, hotplates and other... Find out more

Bloodwood camping area (walk-in camping) 61 km

Hikers on the Whitsunday Great Walk can camp at this site, 11.5 km (5–6 hrs) from Repulse Creek camp and 8.5 km from the end of the walk at Airlie Beach. The track from Repulse Creek follows a ridge to the summit... Find out more

Caravan parks around town

BIG4 Bowen Coral Coast Beachfront Holiday Park 3 km

Bowen is a popular coastal town and this park has absolute beach frontage, with excellent facilities and spotless amenities. Swimming, snorkelling and walking are all popular activities here. Beachfront sites are... Find out more

Wangaratta at the Beach Caravan Park 4 km

Great for a winter break, this is a very neat and tidy council park on the waterfront, adjoining the golf course. Bookings are required in peak periods.... Find out more

BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort 54 km

This is a top quality park in an exceptionally popular holiday destination. The park has many features including a kids club, a tennis court and minigolf. Bookings are required in peak periods and a minimum-length stay... Find out more

Proserpine Tourist Park 55 km

In a quiet off-highway part of Proserpine, this is a very neat park that adjoins the town swimming pool, golf course and bowling green. Bookings are required in peak periods.... Find out more

Flametree Tourist Village 60 km

This is a well-known park in the heart of a popular holiday destination. Enjoy the pool, covered barbecues and other features. This is a good place at a reasonable price in this busy coastal strip. Bookings are required... Find out more

O’Connell River Whitsunday Tourist Park 72 km

Located alongside the highway 22 km south of Proserpine, this place has good basic facilities and is for an overnight stop. Bookings are required in peak periods.... Find out more

Travellers Rest Caravan and Camping Park 86 km

There are no more sandflies or midges at Midge Point than elsewhere, but there is a lovely beachside caravan park with lawns, large shady trees and a host of other great features. We really enjoy staying here. Bookings... Find out more

BIG4 Ayr Silver Link Caravan Village 100 km

Easily accessible from the highway, this park is in a quiet, off-the-road position not far from the main shopping area. It has good facilities, and sites under numerous mango trees. Bookings are required in peak periods.... Find out more

Hotels, motels & B&Bs around town

Rose Bay Resort

The Coral Sea is almost at your doorstep in these one- and two-bedroom apartments and studios with private balconies and views across the water. The atmosphere is very relaxed and casual, and the parkland at the... Find out more

Rest areas around town

Mount Gordon park area 4 km

60km N of Proserpine (R) or 8km S of Bowen (L)

Just off the highway and overlooking a beach.

Guthalungra rest area 44 km

At Guthalungra

Just off the highway and opposite the roadhouse.

Home Hill rest area 95 km

At Home Hill

Near the tourist information centre on Eighth Ave (west of the main street).

What's on around town

Bowen Show: June.

Polocrosse Carnivale: June.

River Rodeo (Collinsville): July.

Bowen Fest: Aug.

Family Fishing Classic: Sept.

Coral Coast Festival: Oct.

Bowen Cup: Oct.

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