Category Archives: Blog

Say hi to the humpback whales!

Set your watches folks, humpback whale season is just around the corner! From August through to the end of October each year, these magnificent giants swim through the waters of the Ningaloo Marine Park.

Did you know humpback whales are one of the largest whale species and can range from 12 to 16 metres? They love swimming close to the surface and breaching up out of the water, which makes for spectacular viewing. We can often see them in the distance right here from camp, which makes for a pretty spectacular experience.

Since 2016, we’re no longer limited to the coastline when it comes to whale spotting, you can now get into the water and swim right alongside them.

This is a truly transformative experience for all nature lovers; we’re talking serious bucket list material!

We can organise a humpback whale swim for you with one of our preferred suppliers in Exmouth. This is one day trip you don’t want to miss! Your day will begin with a 25-minute transfer from camp to the Tantabiddi boat ramp, where you’ll board the vessel. Once on-board you will be given your wetsuit and snorkel gear and a briefing on the day’s activities. Enjoy a delicious morning tea as you sail through the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean towards the edge of the Ningaloo Reef. A spotter plane will be above you, ensuring they know just where to find these ocean giants. They monitor their behaviour to ensure they meet all the requirements for a swim. Once their path has been identified, it’s into the water for an out of this world experience. As you tread water you’ll hear the guide counting down the distance as the whales approach, then it’s faces in the water to catch an amazing view of the beautiful whales.

On your way back to the coast, your team of guides will be looking out for other marine life, like whale sharks, manta rays, turtles, dolphins, dugongs and sea birds.

We also have an amazing special offer running this August.

For a strictly limited time, all new 3-night bookings at Sal Salis will receive a complimentary humpback whale tour! (Valued at $1,200 per couple twin share). Valid only on new bookings made before 11 August 2019, for travel from 01 September 2019 to 31 October 2019.

To find out more about the magical experience, check out our blog post or contact us today. 

Get to Sal Salis via the Coral Coast Highway

Our location here in the Cape Range National Park may be remote, but that doesn’t mean it’s hard to get here.

Becah and ocean

You can fly from Perth to Exmouth, where we will be waiting to transfer you to our camp. If you fancy a self-drive adventure, you can also take the 1200km Coral Coast Highway from Perth to Exmouth!

This is one of Australia’s great scenic drives and along the way you will discover a combination of some of Australia’s most amazing attractions and experiences, many found nowhere else on earth, as the road hugs the Indian Ocean coastline.

Road trip highlights include:
• the famous Pinnacles Desert,
• fields of amazing wildflowers in Spring,
• meeting the dolphins at Monkey Mia
• the Yamaji Drive trail in Greater Geraldton and surrounds where you can see the sites of the Wadjari community
• a night tour under the stars Malgana tribe of Gathaagudu in Shark Bay, where you can cook up red mullet and play the didgeridoo

This adventurous self-drive route is the perfect way to start your holiday to Sal Salis so you can enjoy everything this gorgeous part of the world has to offer.

Avis are now offering great deals on fly and drive holidays, so you can drive up to Sal Salis and then fly back to Perth. Find out more on the Coral Coast website.

Pygmy Blue whales spotted on the Ningaloo Reef

You’ll often hear us talking about the whale sharks and humpback whales that frequent the waters of the Ningaloo Reef Marine Park; but there’s one other gentle giant that’s been making a few appearances lately; the pygmy blue whale.

Whilst you can’t hop in the water with these giants, you can see them from the air. As whale shark and humpback experiences are so popular here in Exmouth, the boat operators use aerial spotters to help find the marine life quickly and easily. This makes for a seamless guest experience, but also makes for some amazing aerial photography!

Here are some fascinating shots of the pygmy blue whales, taken by Ningaloo Aviation in the last few months.

Pygmy blue whales on the Ningaloo Reef
Pygmy blue whales on the Ningaloo Reef

The pygmy blue whale is a subspecies of the blue whale, first identified in 1966. These whales can reach lengths of up to 80 feet and have several distinct features that separate it from the blue whale which include a larger head, shorter tail and shorter baleen plates.

The pygmy blue whale can be found primarily in tropical waters throughout the Indian and South Pacific Ocean and whilst they do migrate to breed, little is known about their migration behaviour.

The Ningaloo Reef is just teaming with life and seeing these giants in that water is something really special.

There are a number of operators in Exmouth who offer scenic flights over the Reef, if you’re interested speak to our team when you book, and we can help plan your aerial adventure.

Pygmy blue whales on the Ningaloo Reef
Pygmy blue whales on the Ningaloo Reef

10-Day Itinerary to explore the best of the West

Have you marvelled at the beauty of Western Australia but just aren’t sure where to start with your trip here? Western Australia is a huge state, bigger than many countries, and to boot, it’s incredibly diverse. This can sometimes make planning a trip here a little overwhelming.

Enter Walk Into Luxury. This luxury tour operator started by creating bespoke walking holidays in the South of our state, around the Margaret River Region. The business has now expanded and they are now putting together amazing itineraries across the state.

One of which, their 10-day West Coast High Flyer also includes a stay right here at Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef.

This once in a lifetime itinerary takes you to some of the most rugged and beautiful places in our state, as well as getting to enjoy a touch of luxury at some of the most unique accommodation options too.  

So if you love food, wine and breathtaking scenery, this experience is for you!  The itinerary highlights include:

  • Discover Perth’s new nightlife and enjoy a stay at the sublime COMO Treasury and funky Alex Hotel
  • Head down to the South West to enjoy the beautiful coastline of Margaret River and surrounds. Enjoy 4 days hiking along the Cape to Cape Track and indulge in the finest locally sourced food and wine from the nearby wineries. Relax at your picturesque accommodation, Injidup Spa Retreat
  • Take to the skies as you chopper over to Rottnest Island off the coast of Western Australia to see the world famous turquoise bays and perhaps the even more famous Quokkas!
  • Move north to our little slice of paradise, the Ningaloo Reef. We provide a range of guided activities including gorge walks and snorkelling trips, or simply relax in our eco-luxe camp on the shores of the Indian Ocean. The icing on the cake is a snorkelling experience with the whale sharks or humpback whales depending on the season.

We are proud to be apart of such an amazing package, and love having Walk Into Luxury guests staying with us at camp. To find out more about the full itinerary, dates, bookings and pricing, visit Walk Into Luxury.

When is the best time to visit Sal Salis?

We officially open our camp for the 2019 season in less than 6 weeks. If you want to make this the year you finally come to Sal Salis, you might be wondering when’s the best time to stay. Every month is different and has its own special charm. Finding the right time of year for you is really down to the things you most want to see and experience, as so many of our attractions are nature based. We’ve compiled an overview to help you decide when might be the right time for you!

March 

Our opening month offers hot days and occasional rainfall (usually associated with cyclonic conditions off-shore). The average maximum temperature is 36.3 degrees. The weather is warmer, so March is a great time to visit if you love hot days and want to spend heaps of time in the ocean. This is generally when the last turtle hatchings of the season are making their way to the ocean. So, if you’re lucky, you may see these gorgeous babies making their way into the morning waves.

Turtle hatchlings at Sal Salis

April to June

Mornings and evenings are cooler and we expect offshore breezes and warm days. If swimming with whale sharks is the main reason for coming to Sal Salis, this is the time to come. The season officially starts in April and runs until July. We can help organise your trip with our preferred supplier, Live Ningaloo, so you can adventure out onto the reef for the day and swim with these gentle giants. This is a once in a lifetime adventure and an experience you’ll never forget.

July to September

Nights will be cool – so bring warm clothing as you’ll be eating alfresco at our group camp and no doubt relaxing in your hammock under a sky full of stars. Days will be warm, just lovely for swimming and relaxing in the warm sun. Humpback whales are often seen behind the reef and from around July, and from August until the end of October, you can now swim with the humpback whales. Live Ningaloo offer amazing day tours out to the reef where you can see these majestic creatures up close, from the water. We can organise your tour when you book your stay with us.

October

Temperatures are high throughout the day, but a cool sea breeze may bring respite in the afternoon. The humpback whales continue to swim south, so you will still be able to take a tour if you want to, or simply spot from the beach here at camp. This is also when turtles begin their nesting, so you may see more of them when snorkelling in the waters off our beach or coming up onto the shore to rest in the early evening.

 

Stargazing at Sal Salis

We may be biased, but we think our location is pretty unbeatable. We’re nestled in the dunes of the Cape Range National Park, on the shores of the Ningaloo Reef Marine Park and in a designated Dark Sky area. What does that trifecta mean for you? Well, you can access unspoilt, rugged ranges and gorges, swim in crystal clear water teeming with marine life, and see a sky full of stars.

Whilst many of our guests are aware of the national parks, the Dark Sky Area is something a little more unexpected. According to some scientists, we will struggle to see the stars in some parts of the world by 2025. The effects of light pollution are getting so bad that UNESCO now wants to include the sky at night as part of our human heritage because it is such a wonderful sight to behold.

If you have been fortunate enough to see the stars on a bright summer’s night, you will find it hard to believe that this amazing spectacle will no longer be there for future generations to see. And yet that’s exactly what will happen if too much artificial light prevents us from seeing the stars at night.

Sal Salis is located in a designated Dark Sky area, where uninterrupted views of the milky way will astound you. Seriously, the stars here are something that our guests say will stay with them forever.

Stargazing ignites a child-like curiosity and wonder in adults. It encourages us to think bigger and look at the world around us. It’s something that can be almost meditative and can be enjoyed alone, or as part of a group.

Our biggest hope for our guests is that they can reconnect with nature and switch off from the modern world when they stay with us. From the lack of wifi, to our compostable toilets and dinners by candle-light, this is a place to disconnect and reconnect. The starry night sky is the cherry on top when it comes to reflecting and relaxing.

If you’re planning ahead, in April 2023, Sal Salis is in the path of a total solar eclipse.  A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the earth and the sun, totally or partly obscuring the sun from our vision.  A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon’s apparent diameter is larger than the sun’s and all direct sunlight is blocked, turning day into darkness. This is sure to be an amazing sight for any keen astronomers.

2018 Sal Salis season highlights

It always amazes us how quickly our seasons seem to pass by here at Sal Salis.

The first guests of the season arrived at our luxury camp on the shore of Western Australia’s Ningaloo Reef in mid-March, just as whale sharks started to appear in the Ningaloo Marine Park. We said goodbye to our last guests of the season just as humpback whales continued their migration south in late October.

The fact that seven and a half months flashed by in what seemed like the blink of an eye is undoubtedly a reflection of how much we love it here, as well as the fun we have hosting our guests, and the fact that we are such a tight knit team.

Yes, we work hard to ensure our guests have an amazing time here, but we enjoy it so much that it hardly feels like we’re putting in long days. Now that our safari tents have been safely packed away, we’ve had a chance to reflect on the memorable season that has just finished.

We were fortunate to welcome back many past team members this season, including our camp managers, Paul and Candice, as well as Nush, Taylor and Simmo. New team members like Mel, Brad, Sarah, Reuben, Dom, Livvy, Calvin, Luke and Louise quickly became part of the family too.

At the beginning of the season we had the pleasure of hosting a crew from Channel 7’s Sunrise, who visited our slice of paradise to cover the fact that Sal Salis was named one of the best places in the world to stay by travel giant, Lonely Planet. An accolade we were delighted to receive.

We enjoyed another fabulous whale shark season here at Ningaloo Reef, with an excellent success rate in guests swimming with the world’s largest fish on tours with Live Ningaloo, Ningaloo Discovery and Three Islands Whale Shark Dive.

 

 

While our season started on a high with the commencement of whale shark tours, the middle of the season was a wonderful time too. Just as people in the southern parts of Australia started visiting Western Australia’s Coral Coast in late June to escape the winter chill, Ningaloo Reef’s humpback highway was in full swing, which meant our guests had the opportunity to see Ningaloo’s big three marine species: whale sharks, humpback whales and manta rays at the same time! We really enjoyed hearing about these magic encounters with Ningaloo’s famed gentle giants during sunset drinks and intimate dinners in our lodge.

As whale sharks began to move on from the region in late July, the weather started to warm up a little more and our guests started signing up to swim with humpback whales in the Ningaloo Marine Park; the only place in Australia you can do this. Swimming with humpback whales has only been offered at Ningaloo Reef for the past two seasons, and it has fast become a massive hit with our visitors. It’s given many of our past guests a reason to return to Sal Salis, and we are delighted that the trial will continue next year so that more people will have the opportunity to tick this amazing experience off their bucket lists.

 

Llive Ningaloo and Chris Jansen Images shot of humpback whales

 

As we began to pack away our tents, turtle tracks started to appear along Ningaloo’s pristine beaches. The Ningaloo Coast is considered one of the world’s most important breeding grounds for endangered green and loggerhead turtles. Although most of the hatchings emerge during our closure, some of our guests were treated to an unseasonably late hatching at the start of our 2018 season. We really enjoyed seeing videos and photos of the tiny turtle hatchlings scurry from their nest on our private beach to the relative safety of the Indian Ocean. Perhaps our early guests of the 2019 season will get to see this as well? Fingers crossed!

 

It’s been a sensational season and we couldn’t have done it without our wonderful team, so we’d like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank each team member for their efforts.

We’d also like to thank our guests who have visited us from near and far. We thoroughly enjoyed hosting you and hope to welcome you back to Sal Salis again in the future.

Finally, we’d like to wish our much-loved camp mum (Candice) and camp dad (Paul) all the very best for their wedding this month. We look forward to welcoming you back to Sal Salis as husband and wife in March 2019!

 

 

Switch off at Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef for a rejuvenating digital detox

Hidden away in the dunes of the pristine Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area, Sal Salis is a secluded, luxury beachside safari camp tucked away on the North West Cape of Western Australia’s Coral Coast.

We don’t have Wi-Fi or mobile phone coverage here at our camp, which we believe gives us the edge in offering our guests a restorative digital detox experience like no other. No one complains about not having access to the Internet or not being able to get a cell phone signal. We tell them it’s not available in advance and the majority of our guests actually embrace it as a welcome escape from the everyday demands of modern life.

Set between the ruggedly beautiful Cape Range National Park and the sparkling blue waters of the Ningaloo Coast, the stunning landscape surrounding our camp deserves your undivided attention, as does your travel companion. No Wi-Fi means you are able to unwind and fully enjoy each sunrise, sunset, wildlife encounter, delicious meals, interactions with others and even a spot of star gazing without feeling compelled to check your emails or social media accounts.

Sometimes we just need a break to recharge our minds, reset our boundaries and re-establish healthier habits.

Runner up image from @bonbonbonbonbonbon

Mental health studies have shown that there are many good reasons to switch off for a while. The following points were mentioned in a Beyond Blue article about the health benefits of a digital detox:

  1. Reduced stress levels: People who take a break from technology often report feeling more calm and present in the moment to enjoy things happening around them. SWAP SOCIAL MEDIA FOR SUNSETS. A visit to Sal Salis offers a complete break from technology. Spend your days exploring the Cape Range National Park, or discover Ningaloo Reef’s myriad of marine life. After immersing yourself in your beautiful surroundings during the day, spend your evening watching the sun set over the Indian Ocean as you sip a freshly prepared drink, followed by a chef-prepared meal in our cosy lodge.
  2. Increased productivity: Less time spent scrolling through your social media feeds allows more time to do other things such as getting out and about, exercising and connecting with loved ones. SWAP WHAT’S APP FOR WHALESHARKS. Why not tick a few things off your bucket list during your stay at Sal Salis? Swim with whale sharks or humpback whales, or take a sunrise hike in the Cape Range National Park.
  3. Better relationships: According to Beyond Blue, more than 40 per cent of Australians believe their partner uses their phone too much and 70 per cent admit to using their phones during meal times. Less time on your phone allows more time for meaningful interactions and conversations. SWAP FACEBOOK FOR FREINDSHIPS. Sal Salis not only offers the opportunity to reconnect with your partner during your stay, you will also meet a range of other likeminded people here. Many lifelong friendships have been made in our lodge at meal times, as guests regale each other with their stories of exploring the region and the amazing things they’ve experienced here.
  4. Improved health: Sitting down looking at a screen for long periods of time can result in bad posture and reduced physical activity, which can cause us health problems. SWAP SITTING FOR SNORKELLING. We offer our guests a range of activities from hiking in nearby gorges to spot black-footed rock wallabies, to kayaking in Yardie Creek, and snorkelling in the coral gardens of our private beach. However, we can’t blame you for taking an afternoon siesta in your hammock, or relaxing on the beach – we encourage it! Relaxation is important, too!
  5. More sleep: Screen time before bed inhibits the release of a chemical called melatonin, which helps our bodies relax and prepare for sleep. SWAP MEMOS FOR THE MILKY WAY. No fear of that here! After dinner, why not enjoy a spot of star gazing? We keep artificial lights to an absolute minimum here so the stars shine brightly. What better way to end a perfect day than by admiring the magnificent Milky Way?

We believe our slice of paradise is the perfect spot for a digital detox, but you don’t have to take our word for it. Earlier this year, we were delighted to be included on Fathom Travel’s list of the top ten places in the world for an off-the-grid escape!

Are you always ‘on’? Perhaps switching off at Sal Salis is just what the doctor ordered. We are set to re-open in mid-March 2019. Contact us now to book a digital detox and give yourself something to look forward to after the busy festive season!

Intimate, beautiful and unique weddings at Sal Salis on the Ningaloo Reef

Not everyone wants a big, elaborate wedding. There is something so romantic about slipping away and having that special day for just the two of you. When it comes to eloping, we know you want a venue that reflects who you are and what you love. If you’re looking for somewhere, beautiful, nestled amongst nature, with a view of the most exquisite ocean, then Sal Salis is the perfect spot to say I do.

couple get married on the beach

Our eco-luxe tents and camp are set among the dunes at the northern tip of Western Australia’s Coral Coast. Here you’ll find the perfect mix of style and elegance, but with a low key and unique vibe.  Think sandy feet, pristine ocean and a nights’ sky filled with thousands of stars.

You may well consider us biased, but you don’t have to take our word for it. Bespoke wedding planner, Elope to Ningaloo certainly agree that there’s no better place to host your intimate beachside wedding.

woman getting ready for her wedding at Sal Salis

So, we’ve teamed up with them to offer a fully inclusive wedding package which includes a stylish ceremony at our private beach conducted by the finest of celebrants, memories of which will last a lifetime with the help of the professional photographers engaged to provide a suite of images of your special day here.

We know one of the most important parts of a wedding, apart from the vows of course, is the food! You will be truly wowed by our talented chefs. Featuring fresh, locally caught seafood and other regionally sourced ingredients, our mouth-watering menu impresses even the most discerning of foodies.

Our open bar offers a range of premium Western Australian wine, beer and spirits, as well as imported favourites to ensure everyone’s tipple of choice is available. There’s also a range of non-alcoholic beverages including locally sourced juices and mixers.

One of the best things about getting married here, is that there’s no need to organise a honeymoon! You can book our honeymoon tent and start married life in this ruggedly beautiful part of the world, devoid of digital distractions. In the absence of camp Wi-Fi, you can focus all of your attention on each other and the exquisite slice of paradise you’ve chosen to exchange the most important of vows. What could be a more romantic than that?

Newly weds relax at Sal Salis

You can choose to spend your honeymoon relaxing and enjoying our amenities, tours and hospitality, or more adventurous couples may opt to spend their days swimming with whale sharks or humpback whales in the Ningaloo Marine Park.

Our team sure know how to spoil guests celebrating special occasions, and we love treating newlyweds with romantic offerings such as sunset canapes served privately or breakfast for two on the beach.

So, what are you waiting for? Sal Salis awaits… Contact Elope  to Ningaloo to plan your wedding in paradise!

Turtle tracks herald the start of Ningaloo’s turtle nesting season

As we say goodbye to our staff and guests at the end of our 2018 season, mature female turtles are starting their gruelling journey from the sea to the beaches along the Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area to lay clutches of eggs.

Located just metres from our front doorstep, spanning 300 kilometres in length, Western Australia’s Ningaloo Coast is considered one of the world’s most important breeding grounds for endangered green and loggerhead turtles. Hawksbill turtles also nest on this spectacular coastline.

Ningaloo’s turtle nesting season occurs between late October and March each year. Approximately six weeks after nesting, tiny turtle hatchlings emerge from their nests and scurry to the deep blue sea of the Ningaloo Marine Park at the northern tip of Australia’s Coral Coast.

Although most of the hatching takes place during the Sal Salis closure between January and March, some of our guests were lucky enough to witness the hatching of turtles at our private beach in April this year.

 

Turtle hatchlings at Sal Salis

 

It’s no secret that many of our guests visit Sal Salis to swim alongside Ningaloo Reef’s famed big three: whale sharks, humpback whales and manta rays. And with good reason; swimming with these majestic gentle giants is nothing short of AWE-INSPIRING, however, guests are often just as excited about encountering our resident turtles on a snorkelling tour with us in the coral gardens of our private beach.

We love our turtles and we know where to find them. There’s a special location in the ocean near our luxury camp ground where we take our guests to spot turtles. Swimming with them is a truly amazing and it’s always a buzz, even for our guides who are lucky enough to do it often.

 

Guests snorkel with turtles at Sal Salis

 

Accommodation at Sal Salis is fully inclusive, and a number of activities and tours are offered to guests daily. Our knowledgeable guides tailor tours each day to best suit the weather conditions at the time. We have plenty of equipment for guests to use, so just remember to pack your bathers and we’ll supply the rest of the gear for a snorkelling tour that you are sure to remember for the rest of your days.