Posted by Haylee Buswell on 17 May 2018 | Comments

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Where mountains, blanketed in the spectacular rainforests of Far North Queensland, meet the ocean of the Coral Sea and splendour of the Great Barrier Reef, there lies a stunning national treasure.  Thala Beach Nature Reserve is an isolated eco-resort, perfectly positioned on a secluded stretch of coastline, giving guests the opportunity to immerse themselves in the surrounding natural grandeur and abundance of nature-based activities on offer. 

This reserve, a Green Travel Leader and recently added to the exclusive list of National Geographic Unique Lodges of the world, has its 20th birthday this month and there’s a lot to celebrate.


Thala’s nature driven philosophy has been a guiding force for their accomplishments.  Their expansion and enrichment of natural habitats has remarkably increased the biodiversity of the area.  When inaugurated in 1998, only 40 bird species were in the area, today there are nearly 200. 

According to owner Rob Prettejohn, the cooperation between guests and staff is what has created this dramatic effect on the environment.  “[This has all been] achieved as a result of visits by travellers seeking engagement with our flora and fauna. In our opinion this is tourism at its best. The guests have a great experience they would not otherwise get, long-term local employment is created and the environment improves. What could be better than that!”.  

Star Gazing

Thala’s perhaps greatest achievement to date is their exclusive recognition by National Geographic. In April this year, Thala Beach Nature Reserve joined the exclusive ranks of membership of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World, an accomplishment that makes them one of only five in all of Australia. 

This membership brings together world class hotels, resorts and retreats and is a unique collection of rare experiences in the world’s most beautiful environments, which ultimately give travellers an incomparable opportunity to intimately discover and help protect these spectacular regions of the world. 



Preserving the surrounding environment, while welcoming travellers, is something Rob Prettejohn is extremely passionate about:

“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,” Rob says. 

Thala was handpicked for the membership after meeting National Geographic standards based on the four pillars of sustainable tourism: protection of natural heritage, protection of cultural heritage, support for local communities and environmentally friendly

 Thala Beach Resort

Guests of Thala Beach stay in one of their 83 eco-designed treehouse-style bungalows while experiencing the unique natural environment through birds, wildlife, coconut plantations, stargazing walks and Indigenous cultural presentations. 

Thala Beach Nature Reserve has been a part of the Ecotourism Australia family since 2007, achieving Advanced Eco-Certification for over 10 years; awarding them Green Travel Leader status.  The Green Travel Leader program has been recognising Ecotourism Australia members who have been certified for ten or more years and currently, 59 operators have achieved this status.  These operators, including Thala Beach Nature Reserve, consistently demonstrate how certification indicates quality, business longevity and sustainability, giving them enormous credit as a tourism operator.  We’ll be talking a lot more these Green Travel Leaders in the future so stay tuned.      

For more information about Thala Nature Reserve and their experiences on offer, check out their website or Facebook page and to find out more about National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World visit their page.


[Photos from: Thala Beach Nature Reserve]

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