On our way up to Townsville we had a day in Bowen and would have loved to spend a night here. The town isn’t much to write home about but it’s beaches, bays and cafes are beautiful. There is a great lookout to walk up to which is also part of a longer 4.5km hike, the Mother Bedrock circuit. Our friends Jess and Olly who are working in Bowen at the moment have hiked it and thoroughly recommend it. We had coffee at the Horseshoe Bay Cafe & Beach Bar and then picked up dinner at the fresh fish shop on the esplanade. Bowen also has the big mango so of course photos had to be taken.
We spent 3 nights at the Rowes Bay Caravan Park which is by far the best located Campsite in Townsville with good Wiki Camp reviews . We had big plans to hit the mountain bike trails at Douglas Mountain Bike Reserve but with a few bike maintenance issues and jobs to do they alluded us! Instead we spent an afternoon walking along the strand and the historic building of Townsville and had lunch at C-bar. It has great views over the bay and the food was good, Palmer street and Flinders street laneway are the other places to eat out.
That evening we headed up Castle Hill for the views. It’s a Mecca for every fitness fanatic after work and we felt very guilty driving up! The views from the top are spectacular over magnetic island.
Top Tip: Pick up the Official Holiday and Travel Guide guide for discount vouchers.
- Bilabong Sanctuary is a great place to go if you haven’t had the chance to get up close and personal with Aussie wildlife, Jess and olly loved it (They have been like our extra tour guides for this section)
- Reef HQ was also recommended to us and I would have liked to have gone.
- Botanic Gardens
We were so undecided if we should go to Magnetic Island as people had given us mixed reviews,with some saying it is just another suburb of Townsville. The ferry runs regularly and we made the decision to headed over on an early crossing to make the most of the day. Its only a 20 minute crossing with Sealink and it was a really nice smooth crossing that even my Dad would have enjoyed. It’s a beautiful island that has a really nice buzz about it, with lots of options on how to get around. Although the classic mokes looked so much fun, we decided to do it on foot!
We found the paths aren’t well signed for creating one long walk from Nelly Bay to horseshoe bay, but once on each section they are well marked. There are some short road sections in places, but its all on the quiet sections and the walk is fantastic with beautiful views and gorgeous beaches. We added on the 4km forts walk, which is the most popular walk on the island and it takes you up and around the old gun placements from WWII, we loved climbing the towers.
I forgot to charge my watch so sorry no stats, but the total distance was around 15km, for info checkout the QPWS website. Our route was Nelly Bay to Arcadia on the Heritage track, then we joined the junction track, before doing the Forts. The Four bays walk was the final section taking in; Arther, Florence and Radical Bay, before arriving at Horseshoe Bay. We had lunch at Florence which is a small side trip.
We rounded off the day at Horseshoe Bay which has a lively but relaxed feel. We started with coffees at Cafe Nourish and ended with cocktails at Noodies On The Beach overlooking the ocean. We then jumped on the bus back to the ferry terminal. The buses run regularly and perfectly connect with the ferries! (But we did meet a family while in NT later in our trip,who said they stop running at lunch time which caught them out ) A wonderful day and as we sat at horseshoe Bay, we wished we were staying longer. The jet ski tours look amazing, as do the self guided snorkel trails. Mags as you’re affectionately known by the locals, you are wonderful and we are so glad we came ashore.