Category Archives: Tours

Top tips for stargazing in 2020

Did you know Sal Salis has some of the darkest night skies around?

We are nestled into the Cape Range National Park, miles from any other light sources. We keep lighting to a minimum, dining by candlelight and giving guests a lantern to find their way back to their tents; so you can really experience the stars and the Milky Way in all their glory.

A woman stand under a starry sky with a headtorch

If you’ve never seen a truly dark sky and witnessed the Milky Way, the nights at Sal Salis are going to blow you away. You don’t need to be an astronomer to enjoy these amazing sky shows, they’re just as impressive viewed from the deck of your tent with a glass of wine in hand.

We do have a telescope here in the Lodge, so if you’re keen to know more, just ask one of our camp guides and they’ll happily point out some of the main constellations and planets for you.

Here are some of our top stargazing tips:

  • Stargazing is best done before the full moon, so if you’re super-keen to see the best starry night skies, check the phase of the moon before you plan your trip!
  • If you want to try your hand at some astrophotography, make sure you bring your DSL camera, your kit zoom lenses and a tripod. The tripod allows for a stable platform so you can shoot at a really long exposure. Use manual mode, a fast aperture of F/2.8-F/4 and set the ISO to the highest level you can. Change the shutter speed to slow and exposure length to 15-30 seconds.
  • There are some great in-depth tips for astrophotography here.

AstroTourism has also shared with us their top tips for stargazing events in 2020:

January and February

It’s a great time of the year to see two galaxies in the southern night sky and you don’t even need binoculars or a telescope! The Magellanic Clouds can be seen with the naked eye. Kick back on the beach and enjoy. When’s the best time to see the Magellanic Clouds?

March

Turn your attention towards the outback landscape in the east. Watching a Supermoon rising is getting more and more popular each year. Choose a favourite location where you can see clearly to the eastern highway and you’re all set for a great evening out. What is a Supermoon and when does it rise?

April and May

This is Western Australia’s most iconic constellation. It’s on the flag and in our hearts! Did you know it can only be seen from the Southern Hemisphere? Starting this month, you can track it over time as it graces the southern skies. How do you find the Southern Cross?

June

Milky Way Season has just begun! If you’ve never seen the Milky Way on a moonless night in country WA, June and the months either side are the perfect time to experience it. Sometimes this thick band of stars look so close, you could almost reach out and touch them. The Milky Way is simply stunning…

July

The Southern delta-Aquarids Meteor Shower occurs at a good time to try and spot some meteors (or “shooting stars”). There’s no moonlight at the time of the meteor shower’s peak which makes it easier to see more meteors as they burn up in Earth’s atmosphere. How many can you count?

August

Most of us know about the saucepan in the sky. That’s part of the constellation of Orion. Did you know there’s also the shape of teapot in the sky? See if you can find the teapot in Sagittarius…

September

Did you know that Mercury is visible with the naked eye? It is easy to see it this month in the early evening sky! There’s a great time this month to spot the closest planet to the Sun.

October

It’s definitely a treat at Halloween this year! In WA, there are two full Moons in October. They are both what’s popularly known as Micromoons! We’re in for a Micro Blue Moon on Halloween! What is a Micromoon and when does it rise?

November

To see the Andromeda Galaxy you need a very dark night sky. Sal Salis is the perfect location! Andromeda is 2.5 million light years away and they say it is the most distant object visible to the human eye! Will you be able to see Andromeda?

December

A spot of summer night stargazing is a great way to relax and unwind at the end of the year. Get ready for the busy Christmas Day by spending a lovely time out under the stars. On Christmas Eve you’ll spot three of the brightest planets in the evening sky. Where will Mars appear?

2023

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.

Are you tempted to see the beauty of a Ningaloo Reef sky? Book your escape with us today and make it a reality.

 

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. 

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.