You could make this trip in one day if you left out most of the stops and rather just called in to Bowen or Cape Gloucester to stretch your legs and enjoy lunch by the sea.
Townsville to Bowen - 200 km | 2 h 20 m
Bowen to Airlie Beach - 77 km | 1 hr
Airlie Beach to Dingo Beach - 50 km | 45 m
The Whitsundays and the Great Barrier Reef
The road between Townsville and the rural town of Ayr winds through the verdant patchwork of sugar cane fields and snaking rivers of the Burdekin region to the rural town of Ayr (90 km south of Townsville). The Burdekin is well-known for its barramundi, mudcrabs, estuary species and off-coast reef fishing while Ayr is devoted to sugar cane, melon, and mango farming. Pick up tourist brochures at the visitor center on the south end of town for things to do in Ayr.
Bowen is Australia’s mango capital so naturally it has a big mango that you can pose in front of. Bowen is a coastal rural town with wide streets, wooden Queenslander homes, a slow pace, and friendly locals. There are plenty of things to do in Bowen.
Horseshoe Bay Resort, Bowen
If you’d like to discover one of Queensland’s best-kept secrets, venture off the highway just north of Airlie Beach to Dingo Beach and Cape Gloucester, a surprisingly beautiful and undeveloped part of the coast. Cape Gloucester has two beachside resorts. Montes Reef Resort is lively, while Cape Gloucester Resort is quiet and private. Enjoy the coastal scenery with a spot of lunch, then sleep it off in a poolside deck chair. Dingo Beach and Cape Gloucester are worth visiting before the developers discover it.
Cape Gloucester Beach Resort
Heart of Reef Shuttles, 48-50 Carlo Drive, Cannonvale, Queensland 4802 Phone: 1800 216 223
490 Nudgee Road, Hendra, Queensland 4011
Phone: 1800 216 223
440 Sheridan Street, Cairns,
Queensland 4870 Phone: 1800 216 223
273 Elizabeth Street, Coburg,
Victoria 3058 Phone: 1800 216 223
23-25 Erskine Rd, Caringbah,
Sydney, NSW 2229 Phone: 1800 216 223