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
POPULATION: 17,000 (Shire) approximately
Airlie Beach is situated right on the coast, 24 kilometres from Proserpine. Explore the magical Whitsundays with day trips that offer sailing, trips to the outer Great Barrier Reef, snorkelling and coral viewing, fishing, rainforest walks, visits to a wildlife park, a chance to explore uninhabitated and resort islands, scenic flights and diving.
Island and mainland accommodation is available, ranging from camping through to 5 star luxury resorts. During the sugar crushing season, sugar mill tours are conducted. There is a large variety of restaurants and shopping facilities. Overnight crewed sailing trips through the islands, and the largest Bareboat Charter Fleet in the world also operate from here giving you the chance to skipper your own boat. National Parks and Wildlife Service covers 74 islands and 50 000 hectares on the mainland. There are two marinas which together offer 300 berths. Markets are held Saturday mornings along the Airlie Beach esplanade.
DISTANCE FROM BRISBANE (State Capital): 1,146km
POPULATION: 8,654 approximately
Situated on the northern approach to the Burdekin Bridge, 85 kilometres south of Townsville, with more than 300 glorious sunny days each year, the district truly is the winterless north. The natural beauty of the rivers, creeks, estuaries lined with unspoiled mangrove and miles of sandy beaches make the area a mecca for fishing, crabbing, windsurfing and water skiing.
Said to be "built on liquid gold" because it is situated on a vast natural underground aquifer which is artificially replenished with water from the Burdekin Falls Dam the district is Australia`s richest sugar producing area and also the mango and melon capital. It is a bird watcher`s paradise with 280 species of birds recorded.
To view the vast flat farmlands and wetlands of the Burdekin district the best vantage points are from the lookouts of Mount Inkerman and Mount Kelly.
The spectacular Burdekin Bridge is known as the silver link and was the longest bridge in Australia for many years. It is the district`s best known landmark.
The district is well served by all forms of accommodation and eating places to suit all tastes and budgets and is renowned for its friendly service. The Burdekin Water Festival is held in September.
There is a diversity of sporting, cultural and tourist facilities and be sure to visit the Ayr Nature Display, the Burdekin Theatre and see the mighty Burdekin River Irrigation Area.
DISTANCE FROM BRISBANE (State Capital): 1,277kms
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