Eco re­sort pro­vides sheer lux­ury

Pilbara News - - Pilbara News - ■ Tom Zaun­mayr

Few places in Aus­tralia could get away with defin­ing them­selves as lux­ury de­spite hav­ing com­post­ing toi­lets, lim­ited show­ers and no air-con­di­tion­ing, but then again, few places in Aus­tralia are quite like this.

Sal Salis Nin­ga­loo eco re­treat is a small glamping-style re­sort hid­den away in the sand dunes be­tween Cape Range Na­tional Park and the Nin­ga­loo Reef.

Guests can be chap­er­oned from the air­port or call the lodge while in Ex­mouth to no­tify of their ar­rival ahead of time if driv­ing.

Upon ar­riv­ing in the carpark at Mandu South, you are still none-the-wiser as to where ex­actly this mys­tery re­sort is — there is noth­ing here ex­cept the beach, sand dunes and a creek bed.

It is only af­ter a so­lar-pow­ered golf buggy picks up your bags and you are guided along a short walk by one of the res­i­dent em­ploy­ees that you fi­nally see the hide­away. The re­sort is in­ti­mate. Con­sist­ing of only 16 tents, a large deck act­ing as the com­mu­nal area and a beach, Sal Salis’ charm is in its iso­la­tion and it has gone to great lengths to of­fer com­fort with­out tak­ing away from its set­ting.

Co-owner Ste­wart Cran­swick is no stranger to the con­cept, hav­ing opened many sa­fari-style ven­tures in his na­tive Africa be­fore mov­ing to WA.

“The dis­cern­ing mar­ket now is very con­scious of eco aspects and I think we’re do­ing that well,” he said.

“It’s about ser­vice of a high level, that’s crit­i­cal, then you have the givens — you have to have a com­fort­able bed and good food.

“It’s pretty new to a lot of peo­ple.

“The iso­la­tion re­ally takes a lot of peo­ple by storm — they love that.

“Aus­tralians want to see Aus­tralia in style, and this is a fan­tas­tic op­por­tu­nity where you feel a bit closer to na­ture in­stead of hav­ing chrome and glass and air­con.”

The bal­ance be­tween pro­vid­ing crea­ture com­forts with­out af­fect­ing the sur­round­ings is ev­i­dent ev­ery­where you look.

Raised board­walks make for ease of ac­cess across the dunes with­out hav­ing to clear a path through the scrub.

The min­i­mal light­ing is all so­lar pow­ered and pro­vides just enough light to find your way in the dark with­out spoil­ing the starry skies.

Even the tents have a low pro­file so as to blend in to their sur­round­ings.

One of the more in­ter­est­ing fea­tures of the re­sort is the in­clu- sive­ness in ev­ery­thing you do.

Rather than be­ing split apart to go about your own busi­ness, all guests sit to­gether at a long ta­ble for din­ner, and all are in­vited on the daily snorkelling and walk­ing tours.

The food is pre­pared by guest chefs, with seafood be­ing a main­stay given the lo­cal pro­duce right on the doorstep.

Be­ing in a na­tional park, the re­sort has struck up a part­ner­ship with the Depart­ment of Parks and Wildlife, some­thing Mr Cran­swick be­lieves is a per­fect ad­ver­tise­ment for both par­ties.

One of many ben­e­fits of Sal Salis’ iso­la­tion is the wild na­ture of the area.

Kan­ga­roos sit­ting in front of your tent are a reg­u­lar sight and the beach teems with marine life.

Fur­ther off­shore are whale sharks and humpack whales.

The beach in front of the re­sort is ideal for drift snorkelling, with reef just me­tres from the shore.

Per­haps the big­gest ben­e­fit, how­ever, is the lack of phone re­cep­tion, some­thing Mr Cran­swick said was “hugely im­por­tant”.

Putting the phone down is a near-im­pos­si­ble feat for many th­ese days, so it is re­fresh­ing to have no op­tion but to do so.

Af­ter a day with­out your phone in this truly iso­lated lo­ca­tion, you be­gin to re­mem­ber you don’t have to worry about the out­side world to lead a good life.

There are few places in Aus­tralia where the bal­ance be­tween lux­ury and the en­vi­ron­ment is so finely tuned, but then again, there are few places in Aus­tralia quite like Sal Salis.

Pic­tures: Tom Zaun­mayr

Sal Salis eco re­treat.

The view from in­side a tent at Sal Salis.

It would take a keen eye to see the re­sort from the top of Mandu Mandu Gorge.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.