Stretching for 280 kms along Australia’s west coast Ningaloo Reef is one of the world’s longest fringing coastal reefs. Isolated by distance and a rugged arid hinterland, the vibrancy of the marine life, as soon as you dip below the surface of the water, is exhilarating. Untouched by coastal degradation or pollution Ningaloo is arguably the best preserved reef complex in the world and it lies just a few metres offshore.
“Our motivation through the experiences we offer is to expose our guests to the beauty, complexity and fragility of the Ningaloo Reef and Cape Range ecosystems, fostering an understanding of our co-existence within the natural landscape, and the need for conservation.” Luke Walker, Chief Operating Officer, Journey Beyond.
Each year the marine spectacle is enhanced by the arrival of the world’s biggest fish, the Whale Shark, on its migration northwards and Ningaloo is recognised as the best place in Australia to swim with these gentle giants of the ocean. The sight of a Humpback Whale breaching the surface just beyond the breakers of the reef is another unforgettable spectacle from the comfort of the camp. From August each year, swimming with Humpback Whales is a highlight for guests at Sal Salis.
On shore the hinterland in the Cape Range National Park is dominated by a limestone spine that is dissected by deep rugged gorges that host a surprising variety and quantity of mammals. Euros (wallaroos), Red Kangaroos and emus are all regular sightings in camp.
The sun and tide set the pace at Sal Salis. At high tide take gentle stroll up the beach, dodging Soldier Crabs, before drift snorkelling back along the inner edge of the reef. Or kayak out to the Blue Lagoon, a 5 metre deep natural aquarium where huge schools of fish, reef sharks and turtles swim amongst the coral formations. Ningaloo is a major breeding ground for Hawksbill, Loggerhead and Green Turtles, which lay their eggs on the beach at night. Between April and June, the ultimate experience comes with swimming with the Whale Sharks on their northward migration.
At sunrise take a guided walk up Mandu Mandu gorge to spot an elusive Black-footed Rock Wallaby and learn of the region’s ancient geological and Aboriginal history. At sunset sit back on the dunes behind camp with a glass of chilled wine and watch the last rays of light disappear over the Indian Ocean.