I had stayed the night in Bowen on a similar trip last year and enjoyed a lovely walk around Cape Edgecumbe that I wanted to repeat. I forgot however that the last time I was here was in the month of May when the temps were a pleasant mid 20s. This time was November so the walk would be in temperatures at least ten degrees warmer. The last time I did it was anti-clockwise so to vary the mix I did it clockwise this time starting with the Rotary Lookout walk from Horseshoe Bay.
With temperatures well into the 30s it doesn’t take long to work up a sweat as you climb the hill out of the bay. But there is a fine view from the Lookout to compensate. Below is the vista back to Horseshoe Bay and looking north into the Pacific.
Looking south, the town of Bowen is lost in the hazy distance. More prominent is the rock formation and local landmark called Mother Beddock. Mother Beddock is apparently named for her prominent nose, although no historical information on
such a person has been identified. Early spelling appears to have been ‘Beddick’.
Beyond the Rotary lookout is another more functional lookout post used by the army in World War II. A Japanese attempt to capture Port Moresby and gain a foothold in the Solomon Islands was thwarted in early May 1942 during the Battle of the Coral Sea. RAAF Catalinas flew many hours of reconnaissance missions over the Coral Sea searching for the Port Moresby invasion fleet. They were helped by the radar station on this hill.
Then it was back down the hill to Murray Bay. I fancied a swim in the ocean though was worried by the prospect of the stingers that infest North Queensland waters in the warmer months. However it didn’t bother a trio of teenagers having fun in the ocean. I thought that if it was alright for them, it would be fine for me too so joined them in the drink. It was a blissful escape from the heat of the day and the stingers stayed clear.
Then it was another climb to Mother Beddock and looking beyond to Rose Bay and the town of Bowen. Mother Beddock’s precarious position is as a result of thousands of years of weathering and erosion.
The Don River’s alluvial plain provides fertile soil that supports a prosperous farming industry. The river flows north by northeast through the Eungella National Park and is joined by thirteen minor tributaries before emptying into the Coral Sea north of Bowen.
Every year, during winter, the day time tides are low enough for a special event – Bowen’s Walk to the Lighthouse. North Head Island is home to one of Queensland’s oldest lighthouses. Port Denison was the first port established in North Queensland, with Bowen officially proclaimed on April 11, 1861. Built in 1866 this six-sided wooden tower lighthouse protected ships entering the busy port. The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1985 and the original lens shifted to the Bowen Historical Museum. Community groups restored the lighthouse in 2017.
Below is the view back along King’s Beach to Cape Edgecumbe from Flagstaff Hill. The walk looks tempting but a creek two thirds of the way down prevents beach access to the cape.
Finally to the kiosk at Flagstaff Hill for a coffee and to check out the story of the region at the interpretative centre. Sadly it was closed and may have been since Cyclone Debbie ripped through the region last year.