Nin­ga­loo re­sort in world’s best

Pilbara News - - Front Page - Ali­cia Perera

Hid­den lo­cal trea­sure Sal Salis Nin­ga­loo has been thrust into the lime­light after Lonely Planet named it the fourth-best place to stay in the world for 2017.

The 16-tent eco-re­sort in Cape Range Na­tional Park near Ex­mouth was the only Aus­tralian ac­com­mo­da­tion to make the best places to stay top 10 in the global travel com­pany’s an­nual Best in Travel list.

South Aus­tralia was the only other na­tional en­try, com­ing in fifth on the list of best des­ti­na­tions.

Sal Salis com­mer­cial man­ager Amanda Fisher said the rank­ing gave staff a big shot of con­fi­dence in the ser­vice they were pro­vid­ing.

“It is so com­pletely thrilling — you al­most pinch your­self,” she said.

“I get to travel a lot, I stay in a lot of beau­ti­ful places and I know how many ex­cel­lent places there are in the world.

“It re­ally just reaf­firms to us that we’re do­ing the right thing, we are pro­vid­ing an ex­pe­ri­ence that is ex­tra­or­di­nary and that’s re­ally what it’s all about.”

Sal Salis centres on ex­pe­ri­en­tial tourism that gives an au­then­tic sense of place, with in­clu­sive ac­tiv­i­ties such as guided walks, snorkelling and com­mu­nally shared bush-in­spired meals.

Its ac­com­mo­da­tion is de­signed for com­fort while also hav­ing a fo­cus on en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity, with fea­tures such as sim­ple can­vas tents, self-com­post­ing toi­lets and no wi-fi.

Ear­lier this year, it also be­came one of the first oper­a­tors in WA to of­fer tourists the chance to swim with hump­back whales, in ad­di­tion to whale-shark swims.

Ms Fisher said the camp was in­spired by South African sa­faristyle lodges, ap­plied to the “pris­tine” coastal en­vi­ron­ment of Ex­mouth, and es­pe­cially the na­tional park.

“We are blessed to have both an amaz­ing marine en­vi­ron­ment on our doorstep and also an amaz­ing terrestrial en­vi­ron­ment at our backs,” she said.

“That means we can of­fer marine and land-based as­pects, and we also have the na­ture, which both of those of­fer, plus the land­scape is spec­tac­u­lar.”

“To me, it’s an in­cred­i­bly frag­ile ecosys­tem and I think that by hav­ing a sim­ple tented camp, and we are sim­ple ... it ac­tu­ally re­flects the beau­ti­ful fragility of that lo­ca­tion.”

The Lonely Planet guide praised the re­sort as pro­vid­ing a high­qual­ity but clas­sic Aus­tralian ex­pe­ri­ence.

“Sleep­ing in wilder­ness tents built on in­di­vid­ual wooden plat­forms nes­tled among sand dunes, me­tres from pris­tine Nin­ga­loo Reef in West­ern Aus­tralia, is about as quintessen­tially Oz as it gets,” it said.

Ms Fisher said the past sea­son had been “won­der­ful” for the re­sort, which would fo­cus on con­sol­i­dat­ing re­cent changes over the next year.

Pic­ture: Tom Zaun­mayr

A Sal Salis tent un­der a starry sky.

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