Tag Archives: ningaloo reef

Foodie Heaven on the Ningaloo Reef

Not only do we offer a remote location nestled in the dunes of Cape Range National Park, with private beaches along the magical Ningaloo Reef, but we also treat our guests to amazing cuisine and locally sourced produce.

The Lodge is the heart of Sal Salis. It’s where you’ll first meet the team upon arrival and it’s the place you’ll enjoy your breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as toasting the sunset and dining by candle light.

At breakfast and lunch you’ll be able to choose from a selection of delicious meals, all prepared from scratch here at camp. They will include locally sourced products and only the freshest, in-season ingredients.

 

When you wake up and make your way to the Lodge in the mornings, you’ll find an epic continental selection complete with great coffee, and you can then order something hot from the menu. Lunch is kept light, and we often recommend 3 sharing plates between two so you can give everything a try!

At sunset, canapes are served with a drink or two. Grab a seat at the bar and watch the sun go down (and in season, watch the humpback whales frolic and breach). This is the perfect way to wind down after your activity-packed day and share your favourite moments with the other guests.

We are all about supporting local, so you’ll notice plenty of Western Australian wines and beers in our self-serve bar.

Dinner is a three-course meal, served by candlelight to truly immerse you in the natural surroundings and to minimise light pollution. Prepare for the stars to mesmerise you as you finish your drinks and walk back to your tents.

 

All images were taken by Scott Slawinski of Base Imagery.

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

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!

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.

SPECIAL OCTOBER OFFER – STAY 3, PAY FOR 2

The end of our season is approaching, and we want to welcome as many new faces to the camp as possible before we let the sun set on 2018.

So we’ve come up with a super special offer for those of your looking to tick the Ningaloo Reef off your bucket list this year. If you stay at Sal Salis between 8 and 23 October 2018, and you can Stay for 3, Pay for just 2!

If this discount wasn’t enough to tempt you, we will also include a FREE 4-hour eco-cruise with Live Ningaloo for all paying guests*. The weather is beautiful, the reef is incredible and the humpbacks are still swimming through our waters.

We’ve seen whales migrating in the waters from our camp, making it a pretty special sundowner. But if you want to get closer, you can still enjoy swims with these gentle giants until the end of October. We promise you will leave us feeling relaxed and truly connected to nature. It’s time to swap your screens for the stars. 🌠

This special offer is only available for new bookings, made before 7 October, for travel between 8 and 23 October. Come and stay, experience Sal Salis for yourself and share our little slice of paradise. 💙

Call 08 9949 1766 or email info@salsalis.com.au for more information or to book. We’ll save you a spot at camp!

*Please note if there are adverse weather conditions the boat trip will not go ahead. We will try to replace with another activity such as a guided hike or snorkel, but there will be no remuneration if the tour does not go ahead due to unforeseen circumstances.

Here’s another BIG reason to visit Sal Salis outside of the whale shark season!

Whale sharks may be moving on from Ningaloo Reef, but there is still a BIG reason to visit Sal Salis over the next few months.

HUMPBACK WHALES have arrived in our pristine waters, and Western Australia’s Ningaloo Marine Park is one of the few places on Earth that you can actually take a dip with them!

Our preferred operator, Live Ningaloo, has reported some amazing interactions with humpback whales so far this season, which commenced on 1 August.

Passengers aboard Live Ningaloo’s luxury vessel, Wave Rider, have enjoyed up to five swims per tour with humpback whales, and some have been treated to very special interactions with mothers and their young whales.

Llive Ningaloo and Chris Jansen Images shot of humpback whales
Chris Jansen Images, on board Live Ningaloo

Recently a Live Ningaloo group were swimming with a mother humpback whale and her yearling. The mother initially concealed her yearling from sight until she’d had eyeballed the group for a little while. Upon judging they weren’t a threat she lowered her guard and allowed the group to have a peek.

Live Ningaloo’s Sonia Beckwith said humpback whales were constantly communicating through passive and non-passive behaviours.

She said: “Whether it’s singing, doing a belly turn or a mother showing us her yearling – that’s them communicating amongst themselves and sometimes with us. It’s a magical feeling when there is an exchange because it’s intentional with humpbacks.

“Humpback whales are active above and below the surface. Spotting them in action while you’re on a boat, in the water with them, or from the Sal Salis lodge deck is an awe-inspiring experience.

“This is only the second year the swimming with humpback tours have been allowed, and it is reassessed each year. As such, we never know if these swims with humpback whales at Ningaloo Reef will continue in future seasons. So, if you really want to tick this amazing experience off your bucket list, we recommend doing it soon!”

Live Ningaloo will continue to offer tours to swim with humpback whales until 31 October. For more information, contact them directly via their website.

Epic encounters with creatures of the deep at Ningaloo Reef

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to swim with the whale sharks? Our social media manager, Jodie, took a trip to Ningaloo last week and went out with our preferred tour operator, Live Ningaloo. Here’s her take on the big bucket list item many people come to Sal Salis to tick!

“I’d been whale sharking before, but it didn’t even come close to the experience I had with Live Ningaloo last week.  As Sal Salis’s social media manager, I’d been working closely with Live Ningaloo for a while. I knew their unique selling points and had high expectations of having a memorable day of swimming alongside whale sharks at Western Australia’s Ningaloo Reef.

I’m delighted to say my high expectations were blown out of the water! The tour was INCREDIBLE from start to finish and memorable for so many reasons.

We started the day with some snorkelling and spent some time swimming alongside a beautiful green turtle. and even saw some rays! I have a particular fondness for turtles, so the tour started on a high.

Conditions were optimal – minimal wind, warm temperature, calm water, excellent visibility and not a cloud in the sky. Welcome to ‘winter’ in the Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area!

It wasn’t long before Live Ningaloo’s spotter plane located a whale shark for us to swim with. One of the main benefits of choosing Live Ningaloo is that they only take ten passengers per tour, which means you get to spend the maximum amount of time swimming with whale sharks. Other vessels take more passengers, but only ten can swim with the whale shark at a time so you take turns with other passengers.

We had received an entertaining and informative brief from Katie (the onboard marine ecologist) and Doug (our attentive deckhand) and were eagerly awaiting the signal to gently enter the water.

There it is! Onboard photographer, Chris Jansen, has spotted the whale shark and Katie is lining us up so that we can form a V around it and follow its path. Masks below the surface, we are all so excited to see the whale shark appear in front of us and we swim as fast as our fins will carry us to keep up with this deceptively fast enormous fish! We must’ve spent about ten minutes swimming with the whale shark, who at approximately four-metres long was a juvenile, but certainly no less impressive than swimming with a larger one.

We jumped back onto the boat, all buzzing from the experience. While were waiting for our next drop, we saw a yellow sea snake float past the boat, which was a first for me. What a beautiful creature.

We were lucky enough to have another three long swims with the same whale shark. One of the great things about the day was that we were all able to see the whale shark from different angles – alongside it near the dorsal fins and also behind its massive tail as it swayed mesmerisingly from side to side.

It was on the last drop that we were in for the biggest surprise… Having swam with the whale shark a few times, we had now worked out what we were supposed to do, so had all found positions alongside it and were swimming along happily when all of a sudden, it disappeared.

I looked up to find Katie to get instructions on where to go when suddenly I saw a humpback whale gently emerge just a few metres away and check us out! No sooner than the whale had appeared, it had disappeared back into the depths. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I turned around to see if the others had seen it too. I made eye contact with a fellow Sal Salis guest, Barry. Barry’s eyes were like saucers! Barry is an experienced diver and has had some amazing marine experiences under his belt and he was like a kid in a candy store. Chris Jansen, the onboard photographer has also spent a lot of time in the ocean and even he was excited.

We couldn’t stop talking about it. The whale didn’t display any aggressive behaviour, it was just curious, so it popped up to see what was going on and it was AMAZING!

After that, the spotter plan wasn’t able to find our friendly whale shark again, but it was more than fine with us. We finished whale sharking on a high and had time to see other marine creatures.

Our captain, Murray, took us to see some more humpback whales and even found a pod of dolphins who danced around the boat to our delight. We finished the day with a spot of snorkelling over some massive coral bombies and saw many different species of colourful coral and fish.

We went back to Sal Salis that night and couldn’t stop talking about our epic unexpected encounter with not one, but two gentle giants of the deep at Ningaloo Reef.

It was a taste of what is yet to come. Live Ningaloo will run their last whale shark tour of the season on 31 July, and will commence offering humpback whale swims from 1 August. As if we needed another reason to visit! Count us in! Our humpback whale encounter was way to short. We’re not ticking it off the bucket list yet. Care to join us?

 

Substitute your screen for sensory soul food at Sal Salis

With the progress of modern technology, many of us are finding it increasingly difficult to switch off. We are given work phones and laptops and are expected to be available around the clock. The result is that we are always ‘on’, which has a high cost to our wellbeing.

Our social media manager is always harping on about Sal Salis being the ideal location for a digital detox on our social channels (due to our camp being out of range), so we recently invited her back to our slice of paradise so she could take some of her own advice and so we’d get a break from her emails!

Here’s what Jodie had to say about her stay at Sal Salis:

As a person who works from a home office with competing demands of family obligations, work and fitness goals, I found it so liberating to have a break from it all and forget about my phone for a few days. The positive effect it had on our holiday was profound. I wasn’t compelled to check social channels or email accounts constantly, and without digital distractions, I was able to fully appreciate the remarkable environment around me and spend quality time with the number one man in my life.

Sal Salis tent

Here’s why Sal Salis is a treat for the senses:

Sight: Located in Western Australia’s Cape Range National Park, the landscape at Sal Salis is truly breathtaking. Its beauty is a sight to behold in images, but you really have to experience it firsthand to fully appreciate it. The imposing red limestone ridge in the background beautifully contrasts with green coastal vegetation and the many shades of blue along the Ningaloo coastline, which is just a short stroll from the camp. It was wonderful to see how the colours of the sky changed throughout the day – the glorious golden glow of sunrise, followed by brilliant blue skies during the day, followed by the most magnificent panorama of colours at sunset, culminating in an inky night sky positively popping with stars. Knowledgeable Sal Salis guides look at the weather forecast each day and plan activities best suited to conditions. There’s some amazing marine life to be discovered close to camp on snorkelling and kayaking tours, and some equally scenic spots in the gorges of the Cape Range National Park. We spotted some super cute black-footed rock wallabies in nearby Pilgonoman Gorge and swam with an array of colourful marine life during a snorkel drift tour along Sal Salis’ private beach.

wallaby

Sound: Sitting on the beach without another soul in sight and tuning into the Indian Ocean lapping the shore was truly mesmerising… Then I’d switch frequencies to tune into the sounds of the waves crashing out to sea, which had a soothing effect on me. Take a walk along the beach and you’ll hear the squeaky clean, coarse white sand crunching underfoot. Around camp you can hear the happy melody of native birds singing or the laughter of guests entertaining each other with stories of their day of exploring the area.

Sal Salis beach

Smell: Fresh air! A gentle breeze floats through the camp carrying the aroma of the surrounding native bushland and the briny scent of the sea, mingled with some appetising smells from the kitchen.

Sal Salis sunset

Taste: Believe me when I say the food at Sal Salis is every bit as good as some of the finest restaurants in capital cities around Australia. Showcasing as much local produce as possible, the food is fresh and simply irresistible. The chef and his team are very talented indeed. From delectable breakfasts and fresh lunches, to yummy sundowner canapés and delicious dinners – they’re all designed with your taste buds in mind!

food

Touch: I can’t describe the happiness I felt feeling the warm rays of the sun on my skin and immersing myself in the Indian Ocean for a swim during Australian winter! Ningaloo Reef really is home to an endless Summer.

The verdict: I’ve practiced what I preach, and it turns out the digital detox was definitely what I needed. My Sal Salis winter escape restored balance in my life. I am no longer a slave to my phone and have returned full of energy and creative ideas. The break has also been great for family life. I was able to spend quality time with my husband without any competing demands, and missed my children so much that I have been giving them a lot more quality time.  

So, what are you waiting for? Take a hiatus from the digital devices and swap your screen for some soul food at Sal Salis. Please just remember to take your camera and share your photos with us!