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Located halfway between Mackay and Townsville, Bowen is very much a beach town. Tucked away a few kilometres east of the highway are eight golden palm-fringed beaches and parks studded with mango trees. Bowen was the first town established in Australia's north. The town's documented history dates to 1770 when Captain Cook named the area of Cape Gloucester and described Edgecumbe Bay in his diary. There are full-scale resorts, motels and caravan parks. Bowen has licensed clubs and old colonial pubs with colourful histories. There is a twin cinema complex which includes a heritage cinema, and a number of restaurants that cook the wonderful local seafood. DISTANCE FROM BRISBANE (State Capital): 1,182 kilometres