As you can probably guess joining the ranks of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World is no mean feat. Far North Queensland’s Thala Beach Nature Reserve is the latest member of this very exclusive ‘club’.
The National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World collection are all properties with an outstanding commitment to sustainability and to protecting cultural and natural heritage. They are also located in some of the world’s most treasured and fragile environments from African savannah to Arctic tundra.
Surrounded by spectacular reef and rainforest and with green credentials second to none, Thala Beach Nature Reserve seems a natural (no pun intended) for membership. The vetting process, however, is rigorous and based on four principles: protection of natural heritage, protection of cultural heritage, support for local communities, and environmentally friendly practices.
For over ten years, Thala has achieved Advanced Eco-certification and Green Travel Leader status (Ecotourism Australia) through responsible and sustainable practices and environmental sensitivity. Traditionally, guests from Australia, Europe and the USA who are trying to minimise their holiday environmental footprint
Rather than simply a collection of luxury resorts, the National Geographic Unique Lodges member lodges offer extraordinary experiences, allowing guests the opportunity to connect with the environment in remarkable ways. Alongside Australia’s other members Capella Lodge, Lizard Island, Longitude 131 and Southern Ocean Lodge, Thala connects guests with their pristine surrounds, diverse wildlife and habitats.
Wedged between two UNESCO World Heritage areas of Wet Tropics Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef, Thala’s guests can star gaze, take on a Coconut Odyssey as well as guided nature walks through the 145 acres of varying habitats and eco-systems. From learning about bush tucker and ancient cultural traditions with the elders of the local aboriginal community to full-day birding expeditions the lodge offers guests countless ways to immerse themselves in the environment.
Eighty-three eco-designed, tree house style bungalows are set on 58 hectares of native rainforest with a spectacular beach just moments away. Some bungalows are positioned to capture views out to the Coral Sea and a chance to see local Ospreys, Bryde’s Whales or rare Australian Snub Fin Dolphins.
Thala Beach Nature Reserve’s owner, Rob Prettejohn says, “When visitors stay with us they contribute to preserving this wonderful and rare place. We are thrilled to now be a member of National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World and to be a part of a culture that embraces the very same values that we at Thala treasure.” With “visits to the Great Barrier Reef and guided walks in our ancient Gondwanan rainforests, guess have a combination of experiences available nowhere else in the world.”