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Recharge your batteries at Thala Beach Nature Reserve

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Thala Beach Nature Reserve is located on a hill overlooking the Coral Sea. A 15-minute drive south of Port Douglas (Australia), this breath taking nature reserve offers you an island feeling in an environment of rainforest, coconut plantations and the sea. It is a magnificent resort between sea and forest blending in with its environment. Here you feel relaxed and secluded away from the busy hustle and bustle of every day life.

In the early 1970’s Rob & Oonagh Prettejohn purchased the 58 hectare/145 acre peninsula. At the time, the land comprised just 45 acres of original native forest. Environmental sensitivities were not as they are today and planning approval at the time would have allowed for a 700-bedroom hotel to be built! Fortunately, as locals with a feel for a low impact on this wonderful environment, this was not their style. They planted many thousands of indigenous plants to rehabilitate the area and start its return to a wild natural state. The Main Lodge and all bungalows are built out of natural sustainable materials in a low impact style that does not dominate, rather enhances, the surrounding landscape. Thala opened in 1998 and has achieved the highest accreditation of eco-certification through sustainable practices and environmental sensitivity.

The atmospheric, wooden bungalows in a tree house style stand high on stilts and blend into their natural environment. From the spacious veranda of your bungalow you look out over the ocean or the forest. The rooms are very spacious and you can wake up naturally by sunlight or close everything up and wake up when you want to. The balcony is lovely to sit on and watch out for the birds and other wildlife, this was our favorite part of the room.
Granite rocks, waterfalls and overhanging trees have formed natural pools for swimming. The paths of the nature reserve meander through the rainforest and along mangroves, secluded bays and beaches full of native birds, flora and fauna. Approximately 120 butterfly species and almost 200 bird species have been spotted at Thala. On site rangers estimate that there are at least 50 wallabies inhabiting the forest. Young joeys and pregnant females are regularly sighted, indicating a thriving population. Frogs, lace monitor lizards, sugar gliders, echidnas, spiders and geckos are in abundance too.

From the Osprey Restaurant and the Curlews Lounge, high among the treetops, you look out over the sea and the woods. You don't actually have to leave this paradise to enjoy the beauty of the tropical north.

Best time to visit

The most popular time of year to visit Thala is in winter (between June and October). This is considered the best time to visit with crystal clear skies, cool breezes and perfect scuba-diving on the Great Barrier Reef. The wet season usually begins to build up around December, giving humid days and possibly stormy nights. Most rainfall occurs during January, February and March, and is usually in the form of heavy tropical storms in the late afternoons. Click here for more average weather details.

This article was last updated on December 18, 2020.