Tag Archives: ningaloo reef

Get to know the Cape Range National Park

If you’re a fan of rugged landscapes, unspoilt beaches and abundant wildlife, the Cape Range National Park may well be your new favourite destination. The north tip of Cape Range National Park is just 40km from Exmouth, on the Coral Coast of Western Australia is the place we call home.

The Park covers more than 50,000 hectares and has been recognised as a World Heritage Site with “outstanding universal value.”

Located adjacent to the famous Ningaloo Marine Park, Cape Range National Park boasts spectacular rocky gorges carved by ancient rivers that adjoin one of the most pristine and beautiful coastlines in the world. We take our guests out on a number of guided experiences through the Park, including snorkelling trips along the coast and hikes at nearby gorges. You can also make your own way to these attractions before, after or during your Sal Salis stay if you have your own vehicle.

Becah and ocean

Wildlife

Wildlife is abundant in the Cape Ranges, with more than 100 species of land birds and marsupials found in the Park. When driving through the epic landscapes, you will spot a variety of birds, emus euros and kangaroos. If you take a hike at one of the gorges or creeks, keep your eyes peeled for black-footed rock wallabies, echidnas and lizards.

There is a bird hide at Mangrove Bay where you can settle in and get a close-up view of the amazing variety of seabirds and waders including mangrove fantails, mangrove whistlers and yellow white eyes. In October, you will see tracks in the sandy beaches where sea turtles have laid their eggs, and in January, you may even be lucky enough to see the baby hatchings make their dash back to the ocean.

This area is probably most famous for its aquatic wildlife, as the Ningaloo Reef is one of the most accessible spots to swim with whale sharks and humpback whales in the world. Whale shark season runs from April to July and the humpback season begins in August and ends in October. You can also swim with the majestic manta rays here from May to November.  Year-round you can expect to see rays, dugongs, turtles and countless species of fish enjoying the pristine reef and abundant coral – just steps from our camp!

Hiking

The National Park is the perfect place to lace up your walking boots and head out to one of the amazing hiking trails. We take our guests on guided walks through Mandu Gorge and Yardie Creek. We take our kayaks and SUP boards to Yardie creek so you can enjoy a tranquil paddle and soak up the amazing scenery.

Snorkelling

Sal Salis is located on the shores of the Ningaloo Reef Marine Park, so you’re literally steps away from some of the best snorkelling in Australia. Don your mask and snorkel, step into the crystal-clear Indian Ocean and discover a myriad of marine life just metres from the shore. Immerse yourself in this unspoilt underwater wonderland of coral, turtles, rays and fish.

Our favourite snorkel spots are right outside our camp, as well as Oyster Stacks, Turquoise Bay and Lakeside. We often take our guests up to these spots for a snorkel trip and our guides will point out the amazing fish, coral and other marine creatures as you swim by.

Swimming

There’s 50km of coastline in the Cape Range National Park, so you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to swimming spots. Turquoise Bay is probably the most famous beach in the Park, and rightly so. It was voted Western Australia’s top beach by Trip Advisor Travellers’ Choice. It boasts crystal-clear waters and a long, white, sandy beach.

Jurabi Coastal Reserve is also a great stretch of coastline for swimming. A bonus is that in-season you can also view nesting turtles right here on the beach as the sun sets. On a low tide, check out the rock pools as you’ll find heaps of hidden delights including sea urchins, anemones, starfish and octopus!

The private beach at Sal Salis is an oasis of calm. The pretty pink stones, washed up from nearby Yardie Creek make sunsets here pastel perfection. We have SUP boards and kayaks if you want to go for a little paddle, or you can just relax in our comfy chairs and watch the waves roll in.

 

 

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.

 

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.