Ningaloo resort in world’s best
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.
A Sal Salis tent under a starry sky.