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!

Parrot Fish

By admin| September 25, 2012|

The colourful, ubiquitous parrot fish is a marvellous addition to the waters surrounding the Great Barrier Reef. Besides handsomely adding to the colour spectrum of this coral rich wonderland, the parrot fish contains a number of quirks that makes it a particularly interesting species. While there’s 30 different types of parrot fish in the Great Barrier Reef alone, it still relies on several inbuilt mechanisms to ensure its continued survival. Just one male parrot fish can produce whopping amounts of


By admin| September 21, 2012|

While fish have different things going for them, it surely would pay to be a batfish, an elongated, laterally flattened species that could dart through the narrowest of crevices. Besides providing a good game, such a skill would surely prove useful in a fleeting escape from a hungry predator. These reef dwelling fish can often be seen at the Great Barrier Reef, although their appealing good looks means they’re also commonly kept in aquariums. However, it’s the younger fish that


By admin| September 18, 2012|

Often termed lilies of the sea, crinoids, which can resemble a beautiful underwater flower, or perhaps even a creature from a Ridley Scott thriller, are amongst the oldest living creatures on earth. While suffering a major extinction episode in the Permo-Triassic, today their population remains stable, although they’ve since mostly shifted to deeper waters. Above: Crinoid on Tongue Reef - The Great Barrier Reef, Australia. The word crinoid comes from the Greek word krinon (lily) and eidos (form). One unusual

Red-legged Pademelon

By admin| September 14, 2012|

A one-of-a-kind rainforest wallaby with rust coloured limbs, the Red-legged Pademelon is a spirited creature that communicates via hard thumps in the ground. The males also make a harsh, rasping sound after romantic rejection, and a soft clucking sound during sensual success. Found in the wet forests of eastern Australia and New Guinea, this colourful bouncer has a short, thick tail, and stands at about 2 ½ feet tall. Its primary food is fallen leaves, but they also feed on

White-lipped Tree Frog

By admin| September 11, 2012|

Unlike the adage suggests, the White-lipped Tree Frog doesn't suffer from fear or terror, rather its name owes to a brilliant white stripe that runs from its lower lip to its shoulder. Other hued characteristics include thighs that turn salmon pink in the males when they’re sexually excited. The White-lipped Tree Frog also possesses several other unique characteristics. Its call sounds like a dog barking, while when in distress, it sounds somewhat like a cats “mew”. It’s also the largest

Musky Rat Kangaroo

By admin| September 7, 2012|

The smallest kangaroo on the planet, the Musky Rat Kangaroo is also a diurnal day napper, usually taking a kip at midday before sleeping through the night. However, unlike the kangaroo, this furry little macropod has a bounding rather than a hopping gait, travelling on all fours, much like the rabbit. It also has possum-like features, which includes a large toe or hallux on its hind feet which it uses to climb trees. Its tail curls much like a possum’s,

Kauri Pine

By admin| September 4, 2012|

If you’re fortunate enough to be vacationing in this part of the world, it pays to immerse yourself under the local vegetation, to get the essence of the place, and to infuse some delightful native smells into your well-being. One such specimen well worth poking a stick at is the Kauri Pine. Found solely on Fraser Island, around Maryborough, and just west of Cairns, the Kauri Pine is a charming tree that’s lived through a tumultuous past at the hands

Barron Falls

By admin| August 31, 2012|

Thundering and churning its way through the Wet Tropics World Heritage area, in the Barron Gorge National Park, Barron Falls puts on a spectacular display during the height of the wet season. At other times, the mighty roar of the Barron can be reduced to little more than a trickle. However, what sets Barron Falls apart from other cascades of its calibre, is its lush setting, and the fact it can be viewed from a stop on a scenic rail

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

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