The coastal road between Cairns and Port Douglas is such a beautiful road trip that it could easily rival the Great Ocean Road. There are several deserted beaches along the way just itching to be explored and a stay at Thala Beach Nature Reserve allows you to do just that.
Thala Beach Nature Reserve is a five-star eco resort tucked between Oak Beach and Pebbly Beach about 10 minutes south of Port Douglas.
Even though it was built over 30 years ago, its owners were very conscious of the resort’s impact on the environment. The result is a resort that blends in with the landscape while allowing the views to be the hero.
First impressions count. Turning off the coastal road you drive along a driveway bordered by palm trees that leads you down to an impressive open-air reception with views out over the Coral Sea.
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Thala Beach is actually a fairly large resort with 83 deluxe timber bungalows connected by steep winding paths across 145 acres of private land.
But despite the size it remains private and tranquil and the only noise you’re really aware of is the sounds of the birds and the ocean.
And all of the bungalows have views, whether it’s of the ocean or the rainforest.
Our room, which was actually more like a treehouse, was a Coral Sea Bungalow with ocean views.
It had a King size bed, a large bathroom with separate bath and shower, a mini bar and all the mod cons that come with a top quality resort.
The resort also has an excellent restaurant called Ospreys, a beach shack, two pools and a spa.
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Osprey’s is worth stopping off to visit for lunch even if you’re staying elsewhere.
It has fantastic panoramic views and, for bird lovers, it’s also a great spot to enjoy the colourful North Queensland birdlife.
One of the trees even has a bird-bath on it, you can enjoy watching rainbow lorikeets splashing about as you nibble on your breakfast in the morning or enjoy a lazy lunch.
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If you’re the kind of person that enjoys feeling the soft sand and dipping your toes in the shallows, then you can head down to the one of resort’s private beaches.
Pebbly Beach is a fairly small stretch of beach with a lot of rocks.
Oak Beach was our favourite. It has an endless stretch of sand bordered by palm trees with rockpools at one end and hammocks under the trees.
This is where you’ll find Herbie’s Beach Shack with its corrugated iron walls and driftwood decorations. It comes alive at 4.30pm each afternoon to serve cocktails on the beach as the sun goes down.
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While only 10 minutes from the village of Port Douglas, Thala Beach Lodge actually feels like you are miles from anywhere.
You can easily just spend your days enjoying the views, having Spa treatments or joining one of the resorts tours including star gazing, bird and nature walks, the coconut odyssey tour or a cultural presentation.
Thala Beach is that kind of place.
And, if you do feel like a change of scenery you can still pop into Port Douglas to browse around the local restaurants and boutiques.
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- Don’t mistake Thala Beach Nature Reserve for a public national park, it is a private five-star eco resort
- Thala Beach Nature Reserve has recently undergone a name-change and was previously known as Thala Beach Lodge. The name change was to reflect the experience guests enjoy on this private nature reserve.
- While you won’t necessarily find many families staying at Thala Beach, it does cater for families and will include an extra bed on request.