On our homebound dash north from Coolum Beach to Townsville, we made two stops. The first at Rockhampton to visit our friends and the next at a beach outside of Bowen.
I was emphatic about wanting to visit Bowen as we always seem to bypass it in our hurry to get to other destinations. Bill boards on the southern approach told us we were headed for an authentic mural town, a tidy towns winner and a Home of Festivals.
Bowen is also famous for hosting the filming of the movie Australia in 2007. Actually, we were heading for Horseshoe Bay, where an off-set Hugh Jackman was often seen enjoying the surf with his family. Horseshoe Bay is exposed to the Easterly winds and does get waves in a North Queensland kind of way. We did not swim as we didn’t have our stinger suits with us, but some people were taking their chances.
Our powered site on the top of the hill in the Horseshoe Bay Caravan Park was cooled by a breeze stiff enough to chase away the sand flies. Being our last night on the road we were keen to eat out and there were two options within walking distance. Picking our way past a friendly footy match taking place within the confines of tents, campervans and gardens, we found a spot on a rock to watch the sun dipping down across the water.
We chose The Cove restaurant because the setting blew us away. The Chinese and Thai inspired main courses were good value at an average of $21. An interesting option for vegetarians was the Salt and Pepper Eggplant styled on the popular Calamari dish. I would suggest arriving in time to see the setting sun and then stay on for drinks and dinner.
At 7.30 the next morning we were a little early for the market at Queens Beach so we continued into Bowen, thinking that we would find a local café that served Sunday Breakfast. We drove up and down the exceptionally wide streets admiring some of the twenty-four murals depicting the town’s history, but only found a Maccas and Subway open.
Back at the seaside market we caught up on the local gossip while devouring some crispy bacon and egg sandwiches from the Lions (Charity) stall. As we washed it down with some real coffee from a husband and wife espresso stall, we agreed we were lucky that we had not found that café after all!
Bowen turned on a welcome for us, with a spectacular sunset, a roaring bushfire, a restaurant in a stunning setting, and a lookout on the rocks high above the bay with the best views. Next time we will bring our boat, explore the reefs, try out the fishing and linger a little.