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  • Where The Outback Meets the Reef: Tick This Hidden Aussie Gem Off Your Bucket List

Where The Outback Meets the Reef: Tick This Hidden Aussie Gem Off Your Bucket List

You don't need to travel far to discover paradise....

Sal Salis

When the wanderlust sets in and the time comes to plan a holiday, many of us find it hard to fight the lure of lands far, far away... Our geographical location alone often ignites a need to travel abroad to seek beauty, diversity and the adventure we crave.

However, we need not travel great distances — or even leave this vast continent we call home — in order to truly discover paradise. We merely need to head west, where a treasure trove of natural wonders is just waiting to be explored.

Sitchu recently ventured to Western Australia with Journey Beyond to experience Sal Salis, one of the country’s most exclusive and unique eco-lodges, located as close as one can possibly (and comfortably!) get to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef. From vibrant coral reefs to unparalleled natural beauty, luxury eco accommodation and of course, getting up close and personal with the ocean's most enchanting creatures, here's why a trip to Ningaloo is an experience like no other... 

Unwind & Connect with Nature at Sal Salis

Sal Salis

About an hour's drive from Exmouth on the Coral Coast of Western Australia, you'll find Sal Salis, sitting pretty in the heart of Western Australia's stunning Cape Range National Park. An unforgettable escape where guests can truly disconnect from the modern world (literally - there is no wifi or phone signal, a rarity in this modern age) and reconnect with nature in one of Australia's most pristine and remote coastal settings.

A stay at this luxe, eco-friendly resort is a true 'pinch-me' experience. From the moment you step off the buggy you're greeted with a refreshing libation to cut through that harsh WA heat, and the smiling team on hand to make your visit as special as possible. 

Sal Salis

Sal Salis' stylishly appointed wilderness tents offer breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean, but what really sets this place apart is its unparalleled access to the pristine Ningaloo Reef.

With each tent mere steps from the reef, you can easily dictate the pace of your day. Whether you're more of a go-getter and up for snorkelling and exploring, or if you'd rather kick back in your hammock and while away the hours spotting whales... it's the perfect destination for marine enthusiasts, nature lovers, and those looking for somewhere truly like nowhere else.

And the best bit? Because your stay is "off-grid", you'll be forced to switch off and absorb your surroundings, and lean right into relaxation mode. No scrolling and no outside distractions, so make sure you pack a few good books!

Sal Salis

While you'll be struck by Ningaloo's piercing blue hue by day, it's those famous WA sunsets that captivate you by night. Sit on the deck with a cocktail whilst the team bring around fresh oysters and canapes and watch the sky as it turns from warm and golden into fiery shades of orange, purple and red right before your eyes. 

Dine under the stars as head chef Paul Seymour and his team whip up a five-star feast nightly using the best local and seasonal produce. Think crispy pork belly and succulent lamb rump or crab tortellini followed by a zesty lemon tart.

Sit and chat with other guests about the adventures of the day, or steal away for a chilled nightcap under the stars on your personal deck.

Be Enchanted by The Ningaloo Reef

Unlike the somewhat more famous Great Barrier Reef, the Ningaloo Reef offers a year-round aquatic adventure for travellers. With breathtaking coral formations and marine diversity unlike anywhere else, making it a haven for snorkelling, scuba diving and exploring its many wonders. 

Crystal-clear water so blue you’ll think your eyes are playing tricks on you contrasted against the shades of ochre and sand of the Australian outback is a seriously stunning sight to behold. While you're there, it's worth having a dip in the crystal clear waters and take in the coral formations below, as well as sea turtles, dugongs, and an estimated 500 species of fish and if you're lucky some playful humpback whales might stop by and put on a show.

Live Ningaloo

If you're visiting from October to April, the Coral Coast transforms into a turtle breeding ground, with hundreds of turtles making use of the reef's warm waters to mate in a process that is one of nature's most jaw-dropping spectacles.

Ensuring you follow the strict protocols in place to protect these endangered creatures (read more about the Turtle code of conduct here), you can bear witness to the three stages of the turtle breeding cycle, starting with the mating period followed by the nesting cycle and lastly, the turtle hatching process. 

Tick Swimming with Whale Sharks Off Your Bucket List

Of course, no trip to Ningaloo is complete without swimming alongside the whale sharks. Every year from March to July (and often beyond), the majestic whale sharks migrate to the reef's warm waters. Getting to see these gentle giants up close and personal is an otherworldly experience and it's little wonder people come from all over the world to see these prehistoric creatures in their natural habitat. 

The best way to see them is with Live Ningaloo, which specialises in small-group, single-swim snorkelling interactions with a focus on educating visitors on the reef and promoting local conservation efforts - and of course, a delicious lunch and refreshments too. 

Live Ningaloo

From the second you step on board the Live Ningaloo boat you can feel the team's energy and passion. Their unwavering commitment to environmental sustainability and dedication to responsible tourism practices have earned them recognition in the form of two gold medals in Ecotourism from the Australian Tourism Awards in both 2022 and 2023, solidifying their status as leaders in the field of nature-based tourism on Ningaloo Reef.

Not only do you feel like you are in extremely safe hands (which is pretty important when you're about to jump into the great unknown, literally) but you get to experience the love for what they do - you won't feel silly when you squeal at the sight of a humpback or a pod of dolphins swimming beside the boat - because they are doing it too.

From the eyes in the sky spotting the whales (and one would assume keeping an eye out for any less than-friendly ones too) to the team swimming in the water with you, you feel like you are in safe hands at every point of your swim. They also have a photographer on hand to capture every incredible moment of your day.

Sal Salis

Visiting the Ningaloo Reef is an adventure like no other, a chance to explore a coastal paradise that remains refreshingly untouched and captivatingly wild. As you leave this world heritage-listed wonder behind and head back to the hustle and bustle of city life, the memories you take with you will be as vivid as the majestic playground beneath its waters.

Sal Salis is more than a resort; it's an invitation to explore, rejuvenate, and rediscover the wonders right here in our own backyardIf the thought of waking up in paradise sounds like something you want to experience, visit Sal Salis for more information and start planning your next adventure now. 

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