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!

Mareeba Rock-wallaby

By admin| August 28, 2012|

A member of the Allied Rock Wallabies, which is not an association but a scientific classification, the Mareeba Rock-wallaby shares characteristics with the Sharman’s Rock-wallaby and the Allied Rock Wallaby. However, unlike others of its clan, the Mareeba Rock Wallaby is a relative newcomer to the rock-hopping classificatory system. It was only recently, in 1992, that the Mareeba Rock Wallaby was classified as genetically distinct from its relatives. While the Allied Rock Wallabies are known to be parapatric, which is

Rainforest Fungi

By admin| August 24, 2012|

Diverse, colourful, animal-like, bioluminescent and often toxic. Sounding like an unfriendly creature from another planet, rainforest fungi are quite the opposite, as they are crucial to the survival of one of the world’s most sensitive ecosystems. Firstly, their animal association sprouted after it was found fungi do not contain chlorophyll like other plants, rather they are heterotrophic, producing their own food and chitin in their cell walls, much like animals. Comprising one of the five biological kingdoms on Earth, fungi

Coral Trout

By admin| August 21, 2012|

Also known as the Leopard Coral Grouper, the Coral Trout could be considered somewhat of a lush, as it will rarely move outside of a 500 metre area, while it has a particular penchant for prawns. Who can blame them? After all, many of us like to sit at home on our couch eating our favourite food. Found throughout the world, including various parts of the western Pacific, the Coral Trout can often be seen in and around the waters

Crested Hawk

By admin| August 17, 2012|

With generous, piercing eyes and a unique hunting technique, the Crested Hawk, also known as the colloquial sounding Pacific Bazza, is a character all of its own amongst the landscape surrounding Thala. Found in coastal parts of north and east Australia, Wallacea, New Guinea and their surrounding islands, the Crested Hawk spots its food from the treetops, raises its wings into a signature v shape and plummets swiftly towards its disadvantaged prey. These unfortunate individuals consist of stick insects, birds,

Sailfin Snapper

By admin| August 14, 2012|

Marked with a steep forehead and signature black spot on its tail, the Sailfin Snapper is a shy, solitary creature that cruises the waters of the Great Barrier Reef at night, hunting for fish, crustaceans and molluscs. Above: This Sailfin Snapper was photographed at Opal Reef, The Great Barrier Reef - Australia. It prefers to swim over sandy bottom areas of coral reefs at depths of 5 - 60 metres, where its turquoise undulating lines and wispy dorsal fin make

Spectacled Flying Fox

By admin| August 10, 2012|

For a creature with straw coloured rings of fur around its eyes, that soars amongst the rainforest canopy with the slick face and snout of a fox, it’s not hard to see why it was named the Spectacled Flying Fox. Restricted to the north-east regions of Queensland, as well as Papua New Guinea and its islands of Woodlark, Alcester, Kiriwina and Halmahera, the Spectacled Flying Fox spends the majority of its time in the upper canopy of rainforests. However, unlike

Lace Monitor

By admin| August 7, 2012|

Armed with a prodigious head, camouflaged skin and sharp tree climbing skills, the lace monitor is a sturdy forager and a tenacious opportunist. Besides raiding the odd garbage bin when the going gets tough, this stealth-like lizard is known to launch aggressively into birds nests for a raw egg feast. Found all the way from north-east Queensland to the bottom of South Australia, the lace monitor is the second largest monitor lizard in Australia. Its long tail and bulky head

The Spangled Drongo

By admin| August 3, 2012|

There’s not many names that suit the character of a creature as aptly as the Spangled Drongo, a sort of yobo of the avian world that’s earned its name through its often comical and clamorous behaviour. The sound this bird makes has been likened to that of a stifled sneeze, followed by a strangled cat-like noise, which is then followed by something that resembles strings being inharmoniously plucked and stretched in an overexerted frenzy. Not all birds, it seems, are

Macleay’s Honeyeater

By admin| July 31, 2012|

Endemic to Far North Queensland, between Cooktown and the southern end of the Paluma Range, the Macleay’s Honeyeater is an inconspicuous species that flitters at the edge of rainforests, in orchids and in gardens. However, the Macleay’s Honeyeater differs from the numerous other members of the honeyeater family in that it perches higher up within the rainforest. It also flits from branch to branch when it’s not hovering around a range of flowering plants. Despite its unassuming nature, the Macleay’s

Butterfly Cod

By admin| July 27, 2012|

A striking looking creature, which looks as if it’s set to star in an underwater Chinese New Year Parade, the Butterfly Cod is adorned with fins and spikes that fire out of its body in flamboyant fashion. These fan-like protrusions, which are typically striped in appearance, are venomous and used for the fish’s protection. Located on the dorsal, anus and pelvis, the fins give the fish almost complete immunity to cruise the waters of the Great Barrier Reef. Growing up

David Delaney

By admin| July 24, 2012|

Twenty five years' in furniture removals saw David Delaney travel extensively throughout NSW and Queensland. Highways, dirt tracks, family, and mateship with both colleagues and war veterans shaped much of David’s experiences during this time. However, it was after his retirement, back in 2006, that David reflected on these experiences and felt inspired to write poetry. Two published books and numerous poems later, and David is enjoying the poet’s life. Here’s a poem he wrote about his experience at Thala.

Orange Thighed Frog

By admin| July 20, 2012|

A colourful species endemic to the coastal region of Far North Queensland, the Orange thighed-Frog is adorned with a lime green dorsal, bright yellow feet and a yellow underside. Large golden irises protrude from its flat head, while its signature bright orange thighs distinguish it from others of its kind. Dwelling largely in rainforest canopies, the Orange-thighed Frog often only descends when it’s time to breed. However, it’s not uncommon to spot this citrus coloured amphibian hopping within the grounds

Lynette Wallworth – Coral: Rekindling Venus

By admin| July 17, 2012|

An Australian artist who’s cinematic journeys typically reflect the connection people have with the natural environment, Lynette Wallworth has captivated audiences with her film, Coral: Rekindling Venus. Using photography, film and a range of technologies to convey its message, Coral: Rekindling Venus introduces the audience to the luminescence, colours and textures of the underwater world. The film’s aim, says Wallworth, "is to move people with the beauty of coral reefs". In conveying this sense of beauty and mystery of the

Orange-footed Scrubfowl

By admin| July 13, 2012|

A member of the megapode bird family, which are typically stocky, chicken-like birds with small heads and large feet, the Orange Footed Scrubfowl is a common sight among the leaf ridden areas surrounding Thala. Also found in the islands of Wallacea and southern New Guinea, as well as other parts of northern Australia, this aerodynamic headed creature is somewhat of a romantic, forming permanent pair bonds with its sexual counterpart. The Orange Footed Scrubfowl also appears to be a capricious

Giant Clam

By admin| July 10, 2012|

A beautiful sight to behold, the giant clam, which enjoys the warm waters surrounding the Great Barrier Reef, is the largest living bivalve mollusc. At times weighing more than 200kg, these bottom feeding behemoths have an average lifespan of around 100 years in the wild. Having a rather settled nature from the outset, the giant clam will find its home on the reef and remain there throughout its entire life. Here it feeds on passing plankton, which it syphons from

Total Solar Eclipse 2012

By admin| July 6, 2012|

A phenomenon that can only occur during a new moon, when the sun and moon are in conjunct with the earth, a total solar eclipse is a rare and spectacular event that was last seen in Australia in 2002. Now the time has come again, as on November 14 at 6:39am, the great cosmic shadow of solar eclipse 2012 will descend upon Australia, targeting the top of Cape York before similarly casting Cairns and Port Douglas into morning obscurity. In

Cruiser Butterfly

By admin| July 3, 2012|

A colourful addition to Thala’s wildlife, the Cruiser Butterfly is a conspicuous resident that swoops and flutters amidst the local vegetation. It's a member of the Nymphalidae family, also known as the four-footed butterflies, which comprise about 5,000 butterflies distributed throughout the world. Found from Malaku through to mainland Guinea and northern Queensland, this orange and graceful cruiser has a wingspan of approximately 8cm. It also possesses several curious characteristics unique to its species. The female Cruiser Butterfly is much

Chillagoe Caves

By admin| June 26, 2012|

Spectacular limestone caverns, passages and stalactites, in over 700 caves (some of which run for 11kms) comprise much of what is known as Chillagoe Caves, a 400-million-year old cave system located roughly three hours west of Cairns in the Chillagoe-Mungana Caves National Park. This striking, yet unusual rock formation formed after intense volcanic activity and mineralisation shaped the then coral reef environment. Today, the limestone appears from the surface in towering pinnacle outcrops known as bluffs that project 40 metres

Snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef

By admin| June 22, 2012|

For a fun and accessible way to see rare and colourful creatures in a pristine coral environment, that’s also the largest in the world, there’s arguably no better activity than snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef. In fact, the only requirements for snorkelling are a reasonably good level of fitness and a moderate sense of adventure. And there’s many tours in the area that will take you to any number of reef destinations, so all one has to do is

Whale Migration and Breeding

By admin| June 19, 2012|

During autumn in Antarctica, when ice forms on the sea surface and the air takes on a palpable chill, a great whale migration occurs, as these prodigious marine mammals head north towards the world’s more tropical waters. Each year, around 2,000 Humpback Whales make the annual migration towards Cairns, where they mate and give birth in warmer, more nurturing waters. These rather acrobatic creatures are also the fifth largest animal in the world, and if you're lucky, they can be

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