I have a wonderful Australian’s children’s book called ”Where the Forest Meets the Sea” and while I was teaching I kept many a restless class captive with this book.
I wish I had all those students (and my daughters) here now to see the real thing….a lodge perched on a mountain, literally where the forest meets the sea.
We are in Far North Queensland, escaping the winter in Canberra, and we have stopped off for coffee at a wonderful place called Thala Beach Lodge.
A sweeping staircase takes us up to the circular guest lounge perched high amongst the trees, with breathtaking views of the Coral Sea.
The whole lodge is made from local timbers, and it is just like walking into a grand tree house.
The building is designed to bring the breeze from the sea and the scent from the trees.
Each year, between June and September Southern Humpback whales are seen passing by this part of the coast. They mate and give birth along the shores of Queensland, after migrating from their Antarctic feeding grounds.
Adult males establish dominance by ”singing” their complex songs, which can travel more than 100 kilometres underwater and can last 20 mins without repetition.
This photo, in the local newspaper, shows the whales along the coast near here.
How I envy locals being able to witness such a sight!
Near the lounge is an eye-catching painting, by the Australian artist Ray Crooke. He is best known for his Gauguin-inspired paintings of islander life in Fiji and the Torres strait.
Archibald prize winner, Ray Crooke lived nearby, in Palm Cove, until his death last year.
He was inspired by the people and history of Far North Queensland and the islands of Torres Strait and the Pacific.
This striking painting told an interesting slice of history of this area.
In 1876 gold was discovered inland from Kewarra Beach. The government paid for a track to be cut through the forest to reach the gold, and in 1877, some bushmen were sent out to cut the track.
One of the bushmen set up camp near the track, and awoke to find his horses had strayed in the night. While he was searching for them he shot at a large black snake, and to his surprise
”a naked greased white man with a red beard stood up and politely asked him not to shoot”
He and four other companions had lived in the area for 14 years with local Aboriginal families. The mystery of where they came from was never solved.
One clue to their identity was that they carried American made axes and there were the ruins of a ship wreck off White Cliffs, where Thala beach sits today.
So much fascinating history is never told unless there is someone to record it…
The Lodge today is surrounded by natural stands of Eucalyptus forest/ dry woodland forest.
Tall canopies of trees protect an under-layer of ferns and vines…
Guests staying in the Lodge can swim in this peaceful pool, or go down to the beach below.
It is a credit to the owner Rob Prettejohn that he was inspired to build a place for people, yet treading lightly on the surrounding habitat, the forest and the beach front.
The Lodge specialises in bird watching, nature walks and star gazing.
Imagine lunch here, with kookaburras in the trees, and Rainbow Lorikeets flying (occasionally) through the dining room.
Copyright: Geraldine Mackey: All Rights Reserved.
This is a flashback photo of Paul, myself and my cousin Theresa during our recent holiday in nearby Palm Cove.
Theresa, has lived in Far North Queensland for many years, and like me, she is a teacher. We were both born in Africa and have shared many adventures in both Africa and Australia.
She has introduced us to many new places in Queensland (like Thala Beach Lodge) and if she wasn’t a teacher, I would highly recommend her as a wonderful tour guide….