Category Archives: Blog

ningaloo reef is granted world heritage status

The nine luxury safari tents of Sal Salis – the only accommodation in the Cape Range National Park adjacent to Ningaloo Reef – is located in the heart of the newest World Heritage Area:  the Ningaloo Coast, which was announced in Paris on Friday, June 24.

Over 600,000 hectares have been incorporated in the Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area, including Ningaloo Reef itself and the Cape Range National Park.  The listing officially recognised:

  • the aesthetically striking coastal and terrestrial environment of Ningaloo Reef adjacent to Cape Range
  • the lush and colourful underwater scenery and its contrast with the arid and rugged land
  • the annual aggregation of whale sharks, one of the largest in the world
  • the important aggregations and diversity of other fish species, marine turtles and marine mammals
  • the rare and diverse subterranean creatures
  • the diversity of reptiles and vascular plants in the dry lands

Whale sharks frequent Ningaloo Reef between March and August each year – and snorkelling alongside the world’s largest fish is one of the world’s greatest wildlife experiences.

Book your whale shark experience with Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef today!


Bird Hide

For avid bird watchers, this quaint bird hide is the perfect place to relax and enjoy nature. Mangrove Bay is in the Cape Range National Park, and is just a short drive away from the Sal Salis camp.  The tranquil environment and well camouflaged shelter allow the observer to watch wildlife and especially birds at close quarters. There is a vast variety of birdlife ranging from Peilicans, White Bellied Sea Eagles, Eastern Reef Egrets, Heron and Whistling Kites.

The extensive mangrove root system acts as a nursery habitat for juvenile fish seeking refuge. Mullet and Mangrove Red Snapper are the most common species here, and can often be seen and heard splashing around. Pictured below is a Mangrove Crab taking shelter in the mangroves at low tide.


Yellow fin Tuna off Ningaloo reef

It has been a big mornings fish at Sal Salis!

It was a late start to the day as we didn’t leave the mooring until about 10 am, but it didn’t take us long to get the lines in the water as we motored out through the north passage.

The Sal Salis Fishing boat is a brand new LeisureCat 8000 Sportsfisher which carries the latest range of Shimano fishing equipment and is designed to carry four anglers plus our skipper and deck-hand. There is a private toilet facility on-board and all catering and refreshments are supplied, so it was game on and off to the reef!

Our skipper, Murray Pattison – born in Zimbabwe but now a ‘true blue West Aussie’, is as experienced and passionate as they come, and a well respected game and bill fishing specialist for the Exmouth region. With crew like that you are sure to get into some pelagic action.
Conditions were perfect under a clear blue sky with no swell to speak of and hardly a breath of wind. After only a short half hour we got our first hit with line tearing off the reel! It was a long struggle but we finally saw the first bit of colour and it was a nice Yellowfin tuna doing the usual big sweeps under the boat. We eventually got it landed and now it was all on!

Tuna kyletuna_hassal

There was bird action all around the boat and big tuna were busting up the water surface everywhere. We set ourselves for the next run and had only got the second rod half out when it got hit again – this is as good as it gets!! It was another solid half hour fight before we finally had our second big Yellowfin in the boat.

The action continued like this for the next couple of hours until we’d landed six more big fish and one head that the sharks had got to first. By this stage we were just about worn out and had sharks circling all around the boat trying to get in on the action as well as a big pod of Spinner dolphins.

The final tally for the day was one Striped tuna, a Dolphin fish and six big Yellowfin tuna. The biggest of the Yellowfin came in at 45 kg and 1.37 m and we were tied up back at the mooring by a bit after 2 pm. Not bad for half a day’s fishing!

tuna head (400 x 300)

Bustards spotted at sal salis

Bustards are the heaviest flying birds in Australia. Because of their great weight, Bustards much prefer to walk, though it is a spectacular sight when they do fly. Bustards are omnivorous, feeding primarily on seeds and invertebrates. They make nests on the the ground, making their eggs and offspring vulnerable to predators. They walk steadily on strong legs and big toes, pecking for food as they go.

Pictured below are a male and female Bustard, spotted by the road that leads you to Sal Salis.

Sal Salis Fishing in the Media

Ningaloo Reef is recognised as the premier game fishing destination of Western Australia.  Few places in the world offer the ability to hook famous species such as Marlin, giant Trevally, Mahi Mahi and Sailfish regularly.  With over 40 different varieties of game fish it’s no wonder Ningaloo Reef is on every angler’s wish list. 

We were fortunate enough to host the iFish crew and former MotorGP champion, Casey Stoner last month.  Look out for this special iFish episode which will air on Sunday 15th May on channel ten at 12 midday.   

Scott Coghlan of Western Angler magazine also visited Sal Salis and was there to see us raise a 2.82m sailfish.  To read this feature article please click here

First Whale Shark Sighted for 2011

A curious whale shark was spotted last week only 40 metres beyond the edge of Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia, heralding the arrival of its brethren behemoths.  The whale shark was estimated at 3.5 metres.

In addition to the sharks’ arrival, Qantas have also announced the launch of their new Perth-Exmouth service.  The new Qantas service operates on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday with the first scheduled flight departing on Wednesday March 30th.

Whale Sharks and Qantas arrive at Ningaloo reef

March heralds the arrival of the annual whale shark migration off Western Australia’s Ningaloo Reef.

Qantas have also announced the launch of their new service between Perth and Exmouth bringing an injection of new blood to the route (in addition to the daily Skywest service) and some great new airfares to work with.

The new Qantas service operates Wednesday, Friday and Sunday with their first scheduled flight departing on Wednesday 30th March 2011.

Qantas flights and connections available from:

  • Ex Perth from $199 one way
  • Ex Adelaide from $299 one way
  • Ex Melbourne from $339 one way
  • Ex Sydney from $349 one way

Snorkelling alongside a whale shark – and getting a close-up perspective of their massive, 1.5 metre diametre mouths – is one of the world’s greatest wildlife experiences. The plankton feeding sharks are harmless to humans – and have even been known to ‘play’ with divers.

Sal Salis offers three and four night whale shark packages between March 31 and July 16, costing from $3,100 and $3,700 per person, twin-share respectively. This includes accommodation and meals and beverages at Sal Salis; guided activities including snorkelling, kayaking and gorge walks from camp, and a whale shark tour exclusive to Sal Salis guests.


conde nast UK readers’ awards 2011

We were delighted to see both Bamurru Plains and Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef listed in the Conde Nast UK Readers’ Travel 2011 Awards for Top 20 Accommodation in the Australasia and South Pacific! 

Conde Nast UK Readers’ Awards 2011

We were delighted to see both Bamurru Plains and Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef listed in the Conde Nast UK Readers’ Travel 2011 Awards for Top 20 Accommodation in the Australasia and South Pacific! 

Turtle Nesting Season Approaches at Ningaloo reef

The nesting season is approaching at Ningaloo Reef.  The photo below was taken last week and is of two Green turtles mating in the shallow waters of Ningaloo Reef. 

Courtship activity occurs several weeks before the nesting season. With their large claws on the end of their front flippers the males grasp the shells of the female to mate. 

In a few weeks time this female will come ashore usually at night and often during high tide to lay her eggs.  She will use her front flippers to crawl past the high tide line to find a safe spot to nest.  Using her front flippers she digs out a “body pit”, then using her back flippers she digs an “egg cavity”. 

Over a course of 2 – 3 hours she will lay between 50 – 200 ping pong ball shaped eggs.  Using her back flippers she covers the eggs with sand.  By burying her eggs she protects them from predators, keeps the shells moist hence protecting them from drying out and the sand maintains the proper temperature for the eggs to hatch.   

The eggs take approximately 2 months to hatch.