Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef
Take a two-hour flight from Perth to Exmouth. Then hop in a car and spend two more hours cruising along a lonely coastal road, watching your phone gradually lose contact with the mobile network.
Sal Salis takes a bit of patience to reach, but it’s a destination worth waiting for. The 15-tent glamping resort is in Cape Range National Park, where the outback’s characteristic ochre soil meets the white sand and lucid blue water of the Indian Ocean. More importantly, the camp is just steps from the 260-kilometre-long Ningaloo Reef, home to 250 types of coral and 500 species of fish.
Naturally, snorkelling equipment is included with your stay. But if you’ve made it this far, you may as well pony up for a boat ride and swim with the groups of whale sharks that migrate through Ningaloo each year. Orcas, dolphins, turtles, dugongs, manta rays and humpback whales also frequent the area.
At dusk, spend time reading in the hammock slung across your deck, or get to know the other guests at the self-service bar. Camp dinners are held on a long communal table, lit by the unfiltered brilliance of the Milky Way.
Some good news: this experience can be had with minimal environmental impact. Sure, you’ll burn plenty of petrol getting there, but Sal Salis is built on a series of raised platforms and boardwalks to limit erosion and protect the goannas, wallaroos, rock wallabies and echidnas that inhabit the area. “Almost 100 per cent” of the camp’s energy comes from solar panels, eco-friendly soaps and shampoos are provided, and waste is sent back to Exmouth for treatment and disposal. The business also donates five per cent of its turnover to WA’s Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.
Despite all this, Sal Salis feels more luxurious than some inner-city hotels. Beds are king-size; linens beautiful unbleached cotton. Each tent has an en-suite bathroom and ocean views. And perhaps best of all – there’s no internet.