The Whitsundays are one of those dream destinations romanticised in imagery and tourism campaigns- 74 islands fringed by the Great Barrier Reef and a coastline that is equally spectacular. It’s easy to envy the people that live and work in this beautiful corner of the world and for five days that was me. Shooting for a Queensland weekender travel show we tackled 5 very different stories for the program with a great cross section of holidays ideas, to throw in a horrendous cliche I hate using in my scripts ‘there is something for everyone’ being that everyone is only the people that love sunshine and azure blue water, who want to tuck in to some amazing local seafood, fresh produce and get to know a few friendly locals – surely not a small sample of the population?
First on our agenda was Bowen, a town known for it’s mangos but there is a lot more on offer than trays of the amazing tropical fruit (though I severely recommend you eat as many as possible while you’re there).
Bowen has a bunch of different beaches on offer as it wraps itself around a headland. Horseshoe Bay is probably the most popular but personally I really liked the little beach outside our accommodation, Coral Cove Apartments. Just around the corner from Horseshoe it was protected from the prevailing winds, clear and calm.
Families should definitely check out front beach where there are BBQ facilities and some great playground equipment for the kids. And while you’re in the vicinity head up Flagstaff Hill and visit Bev at 360 On the Hill. This restaurant has, what would easily be, the best view in all of Bowen and ,as the name suggests, 360 degrees of it. It can offer some amazing grilled reef fish for lunch and a beautiful story behind it. It’s operated by a local community group Girudala and works as not only a restaurant but training centre.
Bowen has so much beachfront property it brings a whole new meaning to a golf sand trap. It’s seaside course is fringed with coconut palms and run along Queensland Beach. It has 9 holes but 18 tees so you can get a full round in, that is if you don’t want to call it a day half way through and grab a cold beer to enjoy the view.
My final recommendation in Bowen – Arabon Seafoods by the harbour. These guys can whip up a platter that will blow your mind. A great deal of the Moreton Bay Bugs we eat in restaurants in SE Qld actually come from this region and don’t even get me started on the prawns, do yourself a favour and try them for yourself.