Hotel Highlights

  • A super-remote, coastal bush setting
  • A world-class coral reef just offshore
  • Beachfront luxury tents

Overview

RUNNER-UP: THE GREATEST OUTDOORS – SMITH HOTEL AWARDS 2013

Fringed by coruscating coral and lapped by the lusciously warm waters of the Indian Ocean, Sal Salis is a remote, beachside bush camp nestled snugly in the dunes of the Cape Range National Park near Ningaloo Reef. Sleep under canvas, dine under the stars and spend long, wonder-filled days underwater mingling with the manta rays, whale sharks and sparkling shoals of fish that also call this remarkable place home.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Sal Salis with us:

A private beach dinner for two

Special offers

Exclusive rates, packages and special offers at Sal Salis

'Ningaloo chill out' '4-night whale shark' '3-night whale shark '

Facilities

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Sal Salis Hotel – Ningaloo Reef – Australia

Need To Know

Rooms

Nine tents, including one family tent.

Check–out

11am, but flexible. Check-in, 2pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $1266.54 (AU$1,364), excluding tax at 10 per cent.

More details

Rates include all meals, a selection of drinks, snorkelling equipment and guided activities (snorkelling, kayaking and gorge walks in the Cape Range National Park). There’s an AU$150 night supplement for family tent 5 when occupied only by two.

Also

Swim, snorkel or kayak out to Ningaloo Reef, a teeming rainbow of fish, dolphins, turtles and spawning corals just metres from shore. It’s the best place in the world to swim with whale sharks, huge but hippie-peaceful beasts that migrate past from April to July (the hotel can hook you up with local boat trips to see them, at extra cost). You can also swim with manta rays and spot humpback whales (July to September). On shore, stroll the pure white beaches or opt for a guided walk in the Cape Range National Park, a wild hinterland of rock, gorges and desert.

At the hotel

Library, snorkelling gear. In rooms: 500-threadcount organic cotton bedlinen, hand-made native-herb soap, eco-friendly toiletries, ensuite with Nature Loo (composting toilet) and hand-pumped shower, fan, hammock. All power is solar-generated and there is no WiFi access or mobile phone reception.

Our favourite rooms

Set in the dunes about 30 metres from the sea, the nine spacious tents are all perched on individual wooden platforms with ensuites at the back and a private deck out front (jostle with visiting kangaroos for the shade). Tents 1 to 3 are at the same level as the main camp, with 4, 5 and 6 higher on the dunes – giving a better view of the sea but slightly further away. Our top tips are 1 or 5 for maximum privacy as they only have one neighbour. The family tent (number 5) comes with a semi-enclosed extended deck, ideal for either families (it can fit two swag beds for kids) or honeymooners who fancy a larger lounge. Although comfortable, this is ‘wild bush luxury’, so don’t expect all mod cons.

Poolside

There's no pool at Sal Salis except the pristine marine wonderland on your doorstep.

Packing tips

Designer board shorts, your favourite Crocs and a fish-spotter's manual.

Also

There’s a minimum two-night stay. If you’re planning an intimate beach wedding, hire out the whole camp and throw a romantic reception on the deck of the main lodge, lit by lanterns with ocean views.

Children

Sal Salis welcomes kids aged four and over and can provide extra beds for AU$365 a child a night, when sharing.

Eco‐friendly

It's not every hotel that has composting toilets or relies exclusively on solar power. Sal Salis also manages water tightly and does not allow any waste to enter into the neighbouring Park's fragile ecosystem.

Weddings

This property is suitable for weddings

More details

Food & Drink

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Sal Salis Hotel – Ningaloo Reef – Australia

Hotel Restaurant

Guests dine together, hosted by staff, in the intimate main lodge, decked out with driftwood and shells. But just because you’re camping doesn’t mean you have to eat beans on toast; in fact, you’re more likely to be feasting on teriyaki emu rice paper rolls, baked Exmouth ruby snapper with wild lime beurre blanc or grilled lamb with blackberry sauce. Chefs whip up bush-influenced fare using local ingredients whenever possible.

Hotel Bar

Help yourself to soft drinks, wine, beer and spirits from the informal bar in the main lounge.

Last orders

Breakfast is served from 6.30am to 10.30am; lunch from noon to 3pm and dinner from 6.30pm till late.

Room service

There’s no room service, but the main lodge dining area is just a short walk away.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Bush basics not bling – pack Steve Irwin-style shorts and fleeces, rather than fancy threads.

Top table

Swapping stories round the communal table is all part of the fun here, but if you fancy romantic dining à deux, ask to eat out at the little lantern-lit table atop a nearby dune under the stars.

Local Guide

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Sal Salis Hotel – Ningaloo Reef – Australia
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Local restaurants

It’s seriously remote here, so unless you plan to start hunting and gathering your own bush tucker, your only option is to eat in. The nearest town, Exmouth, is an hour’s drive to the north. In Exmouth, fine-dining enthusiasts should head to Mantaray’s Restaurant (Novotel Ningaloo Reef, Madaffari Drive, +61 (0)8 9949 0000) for Modern Australian fare, including just-landed Exmouth barramundi with kipfler potatoes, and Shark Bay Scallops with cauliflower puree. Ningaloo Heath Foods (3A Kennedy Street, +61 (0)8 9949 1400) is home to wholesome breakfasts, healthy lunch options and luscious fresh-squeezed juices. Grace’s Tavern (829 Murat Road, +61 (0)8 9949 1000), the town’s local watering hole, offers pub meals with international flair, such as Asian curries and wood-fired pizzas. Experience relaxed alfresco dining at Whaler’s Restaurant (5 Kennedy Street, +61 (0)8 9949 2416), where regional produce is given the global treatment thanks to Mediterranean, Mexican and New Orleans influences. If authentic Italian flavours are what you’re craving, hightail it to Pinocchio Restaurant (1112 Murat Road, +61 (0)8 9949 4905), where Milan-born chef Salvatore Rampi turns out homemade pasta and pizzas.

+ Enlarge
Cape Range coastal dunes

Sal Salis

Yardie Creek Road, Cape Range National Park, Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia 6707, Australia

Sal Salis is set beside the beach at Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia's Cape Range National Park, an hour's drive south of Exmouth.

Planes

Skywest Airlines (www.skywest.com.au) flies daily between Perth and Exmouth (1 hour 45 minutes) and weekly from Broome. Exmouth’s Learmonth Airport is 37km south of the town; Sal Salis is 70km south of Exmouth (an hour’s drive).

Automobiles

Driving the 1,270km from Perth to Exmouth will take about 16 hours, so most folk fly in. If you want independence, hire a car at Learmonth Airport from Budget (www.budget.com.au) or Europcar (www.europcar.com.au), or in Exmouth from Avis (www.avis.com.au). The hotel offers a discount with Avis – simply ask you travel consultant about it when booking.

Reviews

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Sal Salis Hotel – Ningaloo Reef – Australia

Anonymous review

by David Grant , Events guru

This review of Sal Salis in Ningaloo Reef is taken from our guidebook Mr & Mrs Smith Hotel Collection Australia/New Zealand.
 
You know that scene in the movie The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert where the three drag queens are wheeling their designer luggag...
Read more

Sal Salis

Anonymous review by David Grant , Events guru

This review of Sal Salis in Ningaloo Reef is taken from our guidebook Mr & Mrs Smith Hotel Collection Australia/New Zealand.
 
You know that scene in the movie The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert where the three drag queens are wheeling their designer luggage down a dirt trail in the middle of nowhere? That was us arriving at Sal Salis, Ningaloo Reef. Mercifully, our guide Mike appeared over the hill in a golf buggy and drove our bags down the long track to the campsite. We, however, opted to stroll, and a good choice too. The walk was perfect foreplay: the heavy breathing of the ocean breaking on the distant reef, the sexy panting of the kangaroos and emus that padded across our path, the teasing salty sea spray off the beach. Then, as we rounded the last dune, it was love at first sight, as flawless sand met wild bush.
 
Now, I’m no camper, but Mrs Smith is. I think camping is seat 2B on the plane, and had considered eco to be bleako. Until Sal Salis, that is. The rustic romance of our very large, airy tent re-educated me. Polished timber floors, soft rugs, a Depression-era set of cane drawers, an old tree trunk hung with plush bathrobes, and what turned out to be one of the best beds we’d ever slept in... anywhere. Best of all, there was a bathroom, with a lantern-lit mirror, a solar-heated shower and a luxurious, eco-friendly composting loo.
 
Soon Mrs Smith was decked out in her new cossie, I’d slipped on the budgie-smugglers and we were in the warm lagoon, be-snorkelled and drifting with the tide across corals of every colour as turtles, fish, stingrays and reef sharks whizzed by. Unfortunately, we’d just missed whale shark season – those massive gentle giants only migrate through here between April and July.
 
The landscape at Sal Salis is a striking convergence of environments, where the rugged ancient limestone ridge of Cape Range, red earth and white desert dunes meet the beach, with a reef that starts just five metres off the shore. It’s the only place in the world where coral meets mainland like this, which means you can just swim out or kayak short distances to experience more diverse marine action than a spa party at the Playboy Mansion.
 
We escaped to our tent for a quick read and a dribbling nap in the two-person hammock on our veranda, followed by a hot shower and an audience with a kangaroo joey (strangely exciting for a Freudian who enjoyed Skippy as a child). Then it was time for canapés in the ‘glamping’ mothership, which looked like a shearing shed with its side blown off by Cyclone Tracey. This open-air living room is also the home of the camp kitchen, and has plenty of places to hide away for a snooze, browse through the library’s reference books, or challenge the unsuspecting to a hand of cards. That’s the great thing about Sal Salis – it’s all about space, peace, remoteness, you and what you feel like doing. You can be private one minute, social the next; sporty in the morning, comatose in the arvo.
 
Our chefs kept the canapés and cocktails coming. I had to remind the lobster-scoffi ng Mrs Smith that dinner was still to come as we enjoyed a glass of bubbly, barefoot, watching an Hawaiian shirt sunset over the water. We then walked the exhausting two metres to a table that twinkled with lanterns, coral, shells and wildflowers. There was nothing Outback about the food, with local delicacies turned into dishes that felt more gourmet restaurant than canvas café.
 
Mrs Smith and I took our nightcaps to the top of the highest sand dune. There, we were befriended by a kangaroo with a bit of sparkling mica sand stuck to his fur. ‘The only grey in the village,’ we mused. Soon, we were joined by a couple of other guests and our guide Mike, who whipped out some astronomy gizmo that humanised the million points of light above us. You simply flashed the glowing red box at any random star (well, it’s worked for Madonna for decades), the machine identified it and printed out everything there was to know about it, both the technical and the mythical. Does Uranus look big in this? Actually, it did.
 
The camp’s resident butcherbird woke us early the next morning for a sunrise walk through Mandu Mandu Gorge. The name means ‘many rocks’ in the local indigenous language (how do they come up with them?), and they weren’t bloody kidding. But it was well worth it – serene, crammed with petite wildfl owers and native mistletoe (perfect for a bush pash, I’ll miss that guide Carly!), black-footed rock wallabies and, atop the gorge, a rewarding view down over the beach and reef on one side and the desert on the other.
 
But we didn’t need the mistletoe to fall in love with Sal Salis. Apart from the obvious physical attraction, there was the staff who were just so friendly and genuinely passionate about eco-tourism, the area and its wildlife. Seriously, our guide almost cried when he narrowly missed a kamikaze emu heading for our four-wheel drive on the way back to camp. Me? I was thinking, ‘Could you get a belt AND a wallet out of that? Or do we need to run over two of them?’
 

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