Just imagine dipping your toes in pristine water at secluded white sandy beaches with coral gardens that are just a stone throw away from shore and tropical palm trees. Positioned at the northern tip of the Whitsundays, Bowen offers the charm of the Whitsunday Islands but on the mainland coast without a need to access by boat.
Whether you’re looking to indulge in a day full of splashing fun or simply want to dip your toes in ocean waters, let’s discover the top places to cool off in Bowen as revealed by locals.
1. Horseshoe Bay beach
Kicking things off with a tribute to the most popular beach in Bowen, Horseshoe Bay beach brings in the crowd thanks to its crystal clear waters and white sandy beach. It can get quite busy during weekends so be sure to come early to grab yourself a spot in the sand, but you’ll be glad to know that lifeguards patrol the area during weekends and school holidays.
From swimming to snorkelling and diving, the fantastic fringing coral gardens bring forth an abundance of marine life to the bay. There’s also the fascinating Bywa underwater sculpture, which is part of the Whitsunday Ngaro underwater marine sculpture trail, waiting to be explored.
The location is also great for stand up paddle boarders and kayakers looking to explore some beautiful coastlines of the Whitsunday without having to go all the way out onto the islands.
Beyond swimming and getting wet, there’s plenty to do here at Horseshoe Bay such as hiking the Cape Edgecumbe Walking Trail which is a 2.5 kilometre walk to Rose Bay from Horseshoe Bay, or the Horseshoe Bay Rotary lookout which is a quick 5 minute walk to the top offering stunning views of the area.
2. Grays Bay
Staying on the topic of beautiful beaches and bays, the idyllic Grays Bay offers pristine blue waters that lap alongside the road offering a spectacular experience during high tide.
There are plenty of parking options at the Grays Bay boat ramp and along Horseshoe Bay Road, making it easy to access.
With calm waters in a well protected spot, Grays Bay is great for families, kayakers and stand up paddleboarders looking to explore the area away from rocky waters.
One of the best things about Grays Bay is the spectacular sunset views over the sea. For the perfect vantage point, head to the top of the huge granite boulders right outside the Coral Cove apartments. Alternatively, stay on the lush green lawns of the Whitsundays Sands Resort for a ground level view.
3. Rose Bay
If you’re an early riser, Rose Bay is the place to be for amazing sunrises in Bowen. Facing East, the views are phenomenal so don’t forget to bring your camera and some snacks to enjoy the experience.
The Mother Beddock lookout rests right above the bay, and is worth a short hike at approximately 1 kilometres up. The sight above is rather impressive, featuring magnificent views of the Whitsundays and Bowen.
4. The Bowen Water Park
Try something different than the beaches and head to the Bowen Water Park for a big splash. Interestingly, the water park was installed after the iconic film ‘Australia’ was filmed in the area.
The park is operated by a timer so you’ll have to press the button to activate the play time. There are a wide range of slides, a huge tipping water bucket, and plenty of other splash zones and water equipment to keep the kids busy and cool off from the heat.
Nestled right by the waterfront of the Santa Barbara Parade, the water park offers breathtaking views of Port Dennison and gives you the perfect opportunity to explore the foreshore by taking a stroll down the jetty where the film was also shot.
As for the water park itself, it’s free to enter and promises a day full of fun for both kids and adults. With many adults saying that the Bowen Water Park was the highlight for the kids, you definitely won’t want to be missing this splash zone with your family.
5. The Grand View Hotel in Bowen
Not your typical kind of cool off that involves getting wet, a head to the Grand View Hotel will help you quench your thirst with cold beers on tap and a wide array of drinks followed by cool air conditioning and a hearty meal.
Whether you’re looking for a casual scene at the Bar and Beer Garden or a sit down meal at the Restaurant, you won’t be missing out on a moment of the Whitsunday experience with views over Port Denison Harbour.
There’s also a ton of history at the Grand View Hotel, having been one of the iconic settings where the film ‘Australia’ was filmed, along with the salvaged yacht ‘GRETE’, built in Denmark in 1937, who now stands proud in the Beer Garden at the Grand View Hotel in Bowen.
Weekends are filled with live music, promising an eclectic atmosphere featuring the best of Bowen hospitality. The menus comprise of favourite pub style meals with a modern twist, coupled with weekly specials and an array of fresh local seafood, prime cuts of meat, and seasonal fruit and vegetables direct from the local market.
Professional chefs that head the kitchens will cook up divine meals that will make your experience in Bowen unforgettable. With restaurant staff that offer exceptional customer service, this is the place to be when you’re looking to cool down in Bowen.
Don’t forget to make a booking via phone on (07) 4786 4022 to avoid missing out.
Banner image credit: 7Weekender