Thala Beach Lodge, Port Douglas
Thala Beach Lodge sits North of Cairns on the Captain Cook Highway just outside Port Douglas, Queensland. With 83 individual lodges set in forest and on the cliff overlooking the beach, the place is quite magical. Centred around the main reception and restaurant, the location is like a small maze. With various paths and routes leading to all the lodges, various look-out points over the Coral Sea, the beach, a star gazing area and many walks around the vast 145 acre grounds.
The main reception and restaurant area is a large ‘lodge’ (I only call it that as it is primarily made out of wood), including a small shop, conference room, multiple eating areas, reception, bar and everything else you might expect. Although all enclosed by the roof, and retracting sides, the views are very nearly 360 degrees over the balconies. Overlooking the rain forest, bays and the Coral Sea, mean that any meal is enclosed within magical surroundings. A good selection of breakfast options, from continental to freshly cooked, and a great evening menu provided by head chef Catherine Pacey. The Crocodile Spring rolls were out of this world, and to take it back to basics, the Jungle Fries were quite possibly the best chips I have ever tasted!
The lodges themselves are quite large, with different options and views available. Featuring King Size bed, table and a couple of lounge chairs as well as a bathroom as expected. There is a balcony on the front of each of the patio doors with nature on your doorstep. Every evening a number of eko type lizards would congregate on mine for a bit of a party! Some lodges have beach views, forest views or those of the cliffs, but from all of them you can hear the water crashing against the rocks and the birds singing in the background to make sure you are right at home with nature.
A number of free nature type tours are available, from bird watching to star gazing, or you can pay a little extra for a guided sea kayak tour which I thoroughly recommend. If you head to the rocks just before the beach, you can see the turtles coming in to feed every 15 minutes, and a kayak is the perfect vehicle to get you close to the action.
Although the lodges aren’t of the highest finish (the one I was in was particularly 80s esq). The whole atmosphere, positioning, and magical feeling whilst you are there makes the finish irrelevant. Not to mention, the lodge is just a place to crash whilst you are exploring the area, if you want to sit in your hotel room all day, Thala Beach Lodge will be wasted on you.
With prices from $279 per night, Thala Beach Lodge should be one of the first on your list of stopovers whilst in Queensland.
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