News and updates about Port Douglas, Cairns, The Great Barrier Reef, North Queensland and Thala Beach Nature Reserve. Share our News on social media and don’t forget to use the #thalabeach hashtag!

Coral reef research to reverse rapid decline

By Fiona Harper| December 3, 2015|

The quest to stabilize and restore coral reefs, a critical component of our ocean ecosystem, is receiving increased help through a unique research project supported by Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Inc. As ocean temperatures rise and oceans become more acidic, corals are declining in record numbers. A new project and winner of the 2013 Paul G. Allen Ocean Challenge will apply human-assisted evolution in developing resilient coral species to help reverse this decline. “Not all corals are created equal,” said

10 of the Most Photographed creatures of the Great Barrier Reef

By Fiona Harper| November 27, 2015|

A loveable little orange clownfish named Nemo has a lot to answer for. The Great Barrier Reef has never been so popular since Nemo and his fabulously forgetful girlfriend Dory splashed onto the big screen. We understand why! You want to come to Queensland to find Nemo. Who doesn’t? But long before this cute clownfish made headlines, there were plenty of other marine species in Tropical North Queensland worth getting your feet wet for. Here's a few of our favourites.

Great Barrier Reef coral spawn: happening soon!

By Fiona Harper| November 20, 2015|

Unless you’ve been hiding in a world wide web black spot behind a sand dune, you’ve probably already heard about nature’s spectacularly synchronised coral spawn. But in case you haven’t, coral spawning on the Great Barrier Reef is the biggest reproductive phenomenon this side of Texas. In fact, it’s bigger than Texas. (actually, that’s not strictly true – covering 344,00 sq km, the GBR is actually bigger than Italy, but no matter). What is important however, is the magnitude of

Tropical North Queensland awards excellence in tourism

By Fiona Harper| November 12, 2015|

The Cairns Convention Centre and long-serving tourism industry leaders Stephen Gregg and James Dixon were awarded for their contribution to tourism excellence at the Intrust Super Tourism Industry Excellence Cocktail Event last night.  Tourism Tropical North Queensland (TTNQ) Chair Max Shepherd presented the Tropical North Queensland Tourism Honours before about 350 people at a tropical extravaganza at the Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal featuring themed live food stations by Masterchef guest chef Nick Holloway of Nu Nu Restaurant. Former Deputy Chair

Captain Cook Hwy to be known as Great Barrier Reef Drive

By Fiona Harper| November 10, 2015|

THE picturesque drive from Cairns to Cape Tribulation will now be known as the Great Barrier Reef Drive after getting the nod from State Government. The idea to brand the 140km section of the Captain Cook Highway and Cape Tribulation Rd has been three years in the making and is set to rival Victoria’s Great Ocean Rd. Tourism Port Douglas Daintree executive officer Tara Bennett said an agreement had been reached between the tourism body, Tourism Tropical North Queensland (TTNQ),

Australia on Lonely Planet’s ‘must visit’ list in 2016

By Fiona Harper| October 28, 2015|

Leading global travel authority Lonely Planet has chosen Australia as one of the world's Top 10 Countries for next year in LONELY PLANET'S BEST IN TRAVEL 2016, published today. BEST IN TRAVEL 2016 is Lonely Planet's 11th eagerly-awaited annual collection of the best trends, destinations, journeys and experiences for the upcoming year. Australia is ranked sixth on the book's list of Top 10 Countries 2016. “Unless you're from New Zealand or Papua New Guinea, Australia can seem a long way from anywhere,” Lonely Planet says. “Getting here usually involves folding yourself into a plane for 24 hours.

5 of the best Indigenous tours around north Queensland

By Fiona Harper| October 22, 2015|

Thanks to the good folk at Tourism and Events Queensland for this fabulous article on Indigenous tours that depart from Cairns or Port Douglas. There’s something magical about arriving in Tropical North Queensland. Maybe it’s because it’s home to the world’s oldest rainforest with towering trees and curious animals quietly scurrying beneath the heavy canopy. Or perhaps it’s because the local Indigenous people have lived on the land continuously for 40,000 years and help you see life in a different way. Whatever it is, the region is so

Lace monitor lizards at Thala Beach Nature Reserve

By Fiona Harper| September 22, 2015|

Lace monitor lizards are great tree climbers and wander several kilometres each day foraging for food. There are many of these lizards inhabiting Thala’s native forest and guests often see or hear them rustling through the undergrowth. They’re also terrific climbers and can be spotted high up in the tree tops. Lace monitors grow up to 2 metres in length and have striking markings on their skin. Their toes have long strong claws which equips them for climbing. Lace monitors

Great Barrier Reef is a World Heritage wonder

By Fiona Harper| August 4, 2015|

The Great Barrier Reef gets plenty of media coverage. It’s no surprise really, given its one of the planet’s most fabulous eco-systems. It’s also a hot destination for tourists who put it at the top of their ‘must do’ lists.  It’s probably one of the most photographed holiday hot spots – just check social media platforms for the number of shared photographs. Most recently the GBR has been in the news after the World Heritage Committee gave it the big

Aboriginal Australia: our country is waiting for you

By Fiona Harper| July 20, 2015|

Mossman Gorge is located in the southern part of the World Heritage listed Daintree National Park, and is approximately 20 minutes drive from Thala. Eco-sensitive Mossman Gorge is one of the few places in the country where visitors can gain an insight into the lives, culture and beliefs of Australia’s Indigenous population and their connection to the natural environment. The Kuku Yalanji people originate from the rainforest regions of Tropical North Queensland, including the Mossman Gorge area. Kuku Yalnji Elders

Happy birthday to the world’s largest crocodile in captivity

By Fiona Harper| June 2, 2015|

The saying goes to never smile at a crocodile, but Cassius the saltwater crocodile couldn't help but leave his audience smiling as the 'salty' celebrated a record 112th birthday, complete with balloons, a 'happy birthday' sign – and a chicken birthday cake. Recognised by Guinness World Records as the largest crocodile in captivity, and also thought to be the oldest, Cassius measures 5.48metres (18ft) in length and weighs 1300kg (2,866 pounds). The monster croc celebrated his 112th birthday from his

There’s a Wallaby in the lobby!

By Fiona Harper| May 28, 2015|

We're blessed at Thala to have an abundance of wildlife inhabiting our 58 hectare nature reserve. Agile wallabies are becoming increasingly friendly, popping into the lobby, hopping through at all hours of the day and night as though they own the place! We've even had visits from a wallaby with a joey cocooned in her pouch. But we don't mind at all. And neither do Thala's guests who are thrilled to see these charming critters up close and personal. It's

Dwarf minke whales close to the heart of Thala’s owner

By Fiona Harper| May 12, 2015|

It's hard to believe that a whale species the size of an African elephant went unidentified by man until 1981, but that is exactly what happened with the Dwarf minke whale. Rob Prettejohn, owner of Thala Beach Nature Reserve at Port Douglas, was the first to record this amazing creature after finding himself swimming with the Dwarf minke whales off the Great Barrier Reef in August 1981. Rob has an extensive background in nature and wildlife tourism and adventure so

Winning video highlights Kuku Yalanji culture

By Fiona Harper| April 28, 2015|

The winner of the Paradise Through Your Lens video competition is Perth based filmmaker Jarrad Seng. This talented filmmaker took out first prize with an emotive film showcasing local indigenous culture. Nearby attractions to Thala that feature in Seng's film include the Mossman Gorge Centre  which is operated by Kuku Yalanji people. This is the same group who visit Thala each Monday evening presenting an Indigenous cultural demonstration for guests. View Jarrad Seng's winning video below for a fascinating journey

David Attenborough returns to Great Barrier Reef

By Fiona Harper| March 18, 2015|

  David Attenborough will return to the Great Barrier Reef nearly 60 years after his first visit, as part of a new multi-platform media project between Atlantic Productions and Tourism Australia. Attenboroughs' visit is aimed at inspiring greater interest and more visits to the world’s largest coral reef system. Expected to air early in 2016 and anticipated to be distributed across more than 130 countries, the three-part documentary series will form a key part of a renewed push by Tourism

Explore Tropical North Queensland with the locals

By Fiona Harper| March 13, 2015|

  Discover which Great Barrier Reef islands you can camp on or catch up on the cultural highlights of Tropical North Queensland with the destination’s newly launched travel blog. New stories revealing some of Tropical North Queensland’s most exciting activities can be found at the Tropical North Queensland blog. Tourism Tropical North Queensland (TTNQ) Chief Executive Officer Alex de Waal said the blogs were an important component of TTNQ's advocacy strategy with local and visiting bloggers plus content creators sharing

‘Best moments at Thala’ photo competition winner

By Fiona Harper| March 9, 2015|

Thank you very much to everyone who entered our 'Best Moments at Thala' photo competition. We received some fantastic entries and loved seeing all your entries come through for the competition which ended on 28 February 2015. It was a touch decision for the judges but we're very excited to announce that the winner is SUE BURGESS   Enjoy Sue's winning photo below of our private access Oak Beach on a glorious blue-sky day. You can check out all the

Happy Birthday Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures!

By Fiona Harper| February 10, 2015|

Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures have reached the grand old age of 80 years. Happy Birthday Hartley’s! It’s a milestone worthy of celebrating for this iconic wildlife park that was inducted into tourism’s Hall of Fame in 2012. The name Hartley’s has been synonymous with crocodiles since 1935. But the connection with crocs only came about by accident. Herb (Pop) Evans, who ran a tearoom named the Halfway House, saw a ‘croc for sale’ advertisement in the Cairns Post. Herb (Pop) Evans


By admin| February 10, 2015|

Darting through the night air, creating a scintillating display of wonder with its luminous beauty, the firefly puts on quite a display. And while different to humans, in many respects fireflies and humans share a fundamental trait - the males are the main flashers, who cruise at night in search of a female. Also like their human counterparts behavior (if you'll excuse the gross generalisation!), the female firefly will respond with a favourable blink to a worthy suitor. To detect

Yellow Bellied Sunbird

By admin| January 29, 2015|

Adorned with a metallic blue chest and throat, and a bright plumage true to its name, the Yellow bellied Sunbird can be found fluttering about the forest surrounding Thala. This often fearless bird also possesses a long curved beak, which it uses to hunt spiders from their homes and extract nectar from flowers. Found in north-eastern Australia, as well as Southern Asia, the Yellow-bellied Sunbird breeds between September and February. Its nests are typically long hanging structures made from bark,

Load More Posts