Thala Beach Nature Reserve: About

Located in Port Douglas, Australia

Amid the lush rainforests of Australia’s Far North Queensland region, there lies a secluded stretch of coastline shrouded in greenery and bordered by the turquoise waters of the Coral Sea. Located on 145 beachfront acres just outside of bustling Port Douglas, Thala Beach Nature Reserve feels like another world altogether. Sea and forest converge at this spectacular eco-retreat, and the timber bungalows, perched atop stilts, offer commanding views of both. It's a place where wallabies wander against the waves, birds visit your breakfast table, and nature’s soothing soundtrack provides a backdrop to everything you do. And with two spectacular natural treasures at your doorstep—the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest—there is no shortage of activities on offer, whether you want to explore the planet’s largest coral reef system or its oldest jungles.

Highlights

  • Venture into the rainforest with a lodge guide to spot a rainbow of butterflies and birds.
  • Head off shore to explore the white-sand cays of the Great Barrier Reef, and snorkel amid a profusion of marine life.
  • Take a guided walk in the Daintree Rainforest to learn about its ancient ecology and human history.
  • Meet a member of the Kuku Yalanji community, delving into Aboriginal legends while listening to the haunting strains of a digeridoo.
  • Savor fine wines and cuisine crafted with local ingredients at the lodge’s renowned restaurant overlooking the Coral Sea.

Why We Love this Lodge

In the early 1970s, when Rob Prettejohn purchased the land that would become Thala Beach Nature Reserve, he had an idea that was ahead of its time. The conservation-minded entrepreneur envisioned an eco-retreat nestled among nature, a place that existed in harmony with its surroundings rather than trying to dominate them. At the time, the land in question included 100 acres of sugarcane—the region’s main industry—and the local government encouraged developers to clear the rainforest in favor of more crops. Resisting the decree to cut down trees, Rob began instead to plant them—a lot of them. Over the next 30 years, he returned the land to its pristine, wooded state, attracting native wildlife back to the fold and restoring the local ecosystem—all while creating an eco-friendly lodge that welcomes guests from around the world.

Lodge Features

  • 83 timber bungalows situated amid 145 acres of wooded headland
  • Two freeform rock swimming pools
  • Private-access beach
  • Walking trails
  • Outdoor restaurant overlooking the Coral Sea
  • Guest lounge and reading room
  • Gift shop and art gallery
  • Spa and massage studio
  • Complimentary valet parking
  • Free Wi-fi in main lodge

National Geographic Exclusive

Each of our lodges has created a special complimentary experience offered exclusively to guests who visit through a National Geographic expedition. At Thala Beach, guests are treated to a behind-the-scenes walk through the lush landscapes surrounding the lodge. Learn about a wide variety of resident plants and animals from a private guide as you experience the diverse ecosystems of forest, beach, and coconut plantation. Then leave a lasting reminder of your visit by planting a tree in a dedicated National Geographic forest rehabilitation project. You will be able to monitor the progress of your tree long after your stay.

Awards and Recognitions

  • Advanced Ecotourism Certification from Ecotourism Australia
  • Studiosus Quality Award, 2017

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