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.
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.
Our location here in the Cape Range National Park may be remote, but that doesn’t mean it’s hard to get here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Are you looking for a great excuse to visit Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef? We are happy to oblige with a whopping big reason! Our whale shark swim partner, Live Ningaloo, now offers the unique opportunity to swim with humpback whales on Western Australia’s Ningaloo Reef!
Humpback whales are known for their intelligence, size and distinctive body shape, which they spectacularly flaunt with some pretty impressive acrobatic displays!
Following a highly successful first season of conducting the Humpback Whale Swim and Adventure Day in 2016, Live Ningaloo is thrilled to offer this bucket list experience again from 1 August until 31 October 2017.
Live Ningaloo’s Sonia Beckwith said that swimming with humpback whales was incredibly exciting because the whale determines the interaction.
“Once the spotter planes have located whales and they’ve been observed for a while, we line the boat up 400-600 metres in front of them and then the guests slip into the water. The boat moves away and then cuts the engines. The small group enters the water, adjust their masks and dip their faces in the water, but leave their ears out so they can hear updates on where the whale is from the skipper, who counts down for them,” Ms Beckwith said.
“Before you know it, he’s saying: ‘They’re coming!’ the whale comes into view and you see a whale’s eye focusing on you.” “They’re checking you out!”
“It’s a brief, magical encounter which is calming and surreal.”
“People holler and hoot when they get back on the boat and we’re often told that swimming with humpback whales has been a life-long dream.”
Sounds pretty good, right? Here’s an overview of how your Whale Swim Adventure will unfold.
After waking up in your eco luxe safari tent and enjoying a delicious gourmet breakfast at Sal Salis, you’ll transfer to Tantabiddi Boat Ramp and will be issued with all the gear you’ll need for your epic aquatic adventure.
Passengers are offered a light morning tea while we cruise out on the Indian Ocean in search of humpback whales. It won’t take long – these enormous migratory mammals are easy to spot! You’re sure to be amazed to see them breach, lunge and slap the water!
Before long, a group of up to five people will enter the water with these massive gentle giants of the sea. Imagine that – you’re in the water with a whale up to 16 metres long! INCREDIBLE! You may even get to swim with more than one whale over the course of the tour.
You will also get the opportunity to see a great many other marine species while you’re out on Ningaloo Reef. You could encounter whale sharks, manta rays, turtles, dolphins and dugongs!
After all the excitement, you’ve earned the mouth-watering lunch offered on deck.
You’ll arrive back at Sal Salis by mid-afternoon with enduring memories of this once in a lifetime experience. Enjoy a well-deserved afternoon siesta in your hammock, then regale fellow guests about your Whale Swim Adventure over evening drinks and canapes.