LIGHTING THE WAY
Just off the mainland of Bowen is a tiny island, North Head Reef, home to one of Queensland’s oldest lighthouses.
Built in 1866, this six-sided wooden tower lighthouse protected ships entering the busy port between Middle, Stone and Gloucester islands.
While it was extinguished in 1985 and the original lens moved to the Bowen Historical Museum, the local landmark was restored by community groups last year.
In the cooler months in Bowen (relatively speaking – it never gets really cold up here), with the winter low tides, the island is connected to the mainland by a sandbar.
The town of Bowen comes out once a year in August for the Walk to the Lighthouse festival… pretty self-explanatory, really.
Fitted with reef shoes, locals and tourists venture out to the lighthouse via shallow waters, passing the famous giant red starfish and green sea turtles sliding over seagrass beds.
Kids particularly love the squirting sea cucumbers, and the local dugongs may make an appearance as they graze in the shallows.
Look out for the mermaid tail.
There are four chances to Walk to the Lighthouse in 2018 and the timing is particularly perfect on August 11.