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Where to stay when in Port Douglas QLD

Thala Beach Lodge  

Although it's technically a fifteen-minute drive outside of Port Douglas, Thala Beach is still close enough so that you can commute into town for your daily adventures, and still rest at night in a private, secluded resort far enough away that it's relaxing and peaceful. Mountain views stretch along the coastline where all you see is beach and ocean. Ensuring that, no matter where you venture, there's always a lush green mountain just on the horizon. It makes you feel so small, and your problems even more so.

Thala Beach Lodge is a resort, a nature reserve, and a tiny town all in one. It's situated in a private section of the rainforest that stretches along the coast of tropical Queensland. And it shares a beach that is almost as private as the resort itself.
The cabins you stay in vary in size and are scattered along the many winding pathways of the resort. They're built with a wooden frame and have a very raw feel. 
Inside, however, is modernly furnished with the necessities; lavish bathroom, cupboard top with a kettle for your coffee, the bed(s), TV and a cute coffee table and chairs to lounge on while you gaze from the balcony doors that provide a view of either the forest or the beach.
The staff are all lovely and helpful, and half of them migrated from Melbourne, as we found out.
Them: "Where are you guys from?"
Us: "Melbourne."
Them: "Omg me too!"
*has a lengthy discussion about which area we're all from and how cold Melbourne is.*

This is the perfect place to get away, you almost forget about reality entirely. If it weren't for your neighbours located just a few feet away, you'd feel like you're alone in the jungle with nothing but the waves and the birds to keep you company.

The best part about tropical QLD is that even in winter it's nice and warm so you can skip the coats and scarves and break out those summer dresses. If you get the sun, the beach is the best place to spend a day!

What you can do within the resort.

Thala Beach provides complimentary little tours and activities you can join to take you around the forest and aid your exploring. Jump on the nature walk, where a guide will walk you through the forest and chat to you about the local wildlife and fauna. You'll hear some stories about the coconut trees and see lots of butterflies if it's not overcast. Or just enjoy the peaceful walk through nature with a bunch of strangers holidaying right along with you. 

If you're lucky, (like I wasn't, too many clouds - damn winter) you can go stargazing at the observatory on-site. Or join a few other walks and informational tours if you're bored. 

The resort restaurant provides breakfast, lunch and dinner (not complimentary, unfortunately) and light snacky meals throughout the day. So, you basically, don't need to leave the resort for much. Well, unless you'd rather get food in the village where it'll be cheaper (what we did, actually.) 

There's a cute little library at reception where you can hire DVD's, books and board games to bring back to your room during rainy days or restless nights. And a shuttle bus service operating several times throughout the day and night, take you into town and back. The bus isn't free, but it is cheaper than if you were to try a Taxi. 

There are two beautiful rock pools available at any time day or night for a leisurely lie-in or dip during summer. While it's warm enough in winter to enjoy the pool, the water is undeniably freezing in winter, so swimming is sadly out of the question. But don't forget the beach! The beautiful beach the resort sits on is practically private. Even when other guests populate the large stretch of sand, it still feels like the entire beach is yours. 

What about when you want to venture out? What do then?

With Port Douglas a 15-minute shuttle bus away 

You can spend entire days exploring the town centre and dining out at one of the many restaurants and pubs. In town, you've got plenty of local shops from clothing to supermarket. And the large array of cafes and food/drink options leave you with plenty of places to eat.
Plus, at night when the pub's boom, the culture is so laid back and fun it's hard not to want to jump right in as all the drunk townies get rowdy and start singing Bon Jovi at the top of their lungs.
If you're visiting with your girlfriends, Port Douglas makes a great spot to have a few drinks and meet some friendly locals.
(I'd love to say this is what I did, but I went with a friend who is just as introverted and anxious as I am. So as much as we wanted to join in, the overcrowding made us run back to our room with a DVD and chocolate instead.) 

On Sundays 

There's a local market held along Anzac Park where it meets the ocean. It was literally, the first thing we did once we arrived and it did not disappoint. We spent the whole day here and it's so easy to do that. You find the time slipping away with each corner you round, and each stall you explore. You can find all sorts here from handmade artisan clothing, accessories, candles and delicious food stalls. It's all locally made and sourced, and a great place to take a stroll on a Sunday morning. And to eat some delicious crepes! (My choice of brunch.) 

If you want more beach while you're in this beach town 

The 4 Mile Beach is located right at the edge of the village centre. It's nothing too particularly spectacular (it's an average beach) but it stretches four miles and is a lovely relaxing walk that will kill some time. Plus, at the end of the day, you can spot millions of baby crabs crawling around the sand. It's horrifying and exciting.  

And if you're feeling like a REAL adventure

A trip to the Reef Marina and a booking with a tour takes you out onto the Great Barrier Reef for a full day of snorkelling. Info centres in the village have many brochures of all the cruises you can book. Once you book one, a transfer service takes you to the reef, where you jump on your cruise and take to the sea.
We booked ours with Calypso Reef Cruises, and I'm mentioning this little piece of info because I recommend them. They took us to three sites. so we got to explore more of the reef. It's such an amazing thing to do if you've never tried it. Even those with anxiety who freak out being in such a scary part of the ocean (me) will soon grow to love it! Just the sight of all the beautiful fish, coral and anemone as you splash about in the water are enough to have to squeal through your snorkel. 

My only regret was not hiring a waterproof camera to take many snaps. They would have made such amazing photos! At $40+ however, I was not about to do that. 

When it's time to wrap up your adventure. 

Thala Beach has an in-house massage studio to unwind and relax in. But at prices that were pretty high, we booked a massage in town instead.  Make sure you return your DVD's and take a final walk on the pristine beach before you board your final transfer shuttle, and make your way back home.


I certainly won't be forgetting this trip anytime soon.  

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Photos by Sheree Grace
- Sheree

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All photos are taken by ©Sheree Grace for Kindly, Sheree unless stated otherwise. Posts will always have an indication at the bottom verifying photo credits if sourced elsewhere. Photos by Sheree Grace are not to be taken or used without permission and must be credited with a link if given.