(Barossa Valley, World Heritage Area of Ningaloo Coast)
As you float patiently in the open ocean, a submerged cage is all that protects you from the sea’s fiercest predator.
The anticipation builds as you await your date with danger in the murky depths off South Australia’s remote Neptune Islands. Soon you sense the shadows shift beneath your cage, and then it happens. A flash of grey, the glint of razor-sharp teeth, and you’re face-to-fin with a great white shark. You’ll spend four nights aboard a private charter of the world’s premier great white shark diving vessel as you discover these dangerous but majestic creatures in their natural environment. The adrenalin of that experience will be matched only by the unbridled joy you’ll feel at Western Australia’s Ningaloo Reef as you continue your aquatic adventure swimming unprotected with whale sharks. Unlike the great whites, you can get up close to these gentle giants of the sea and feel all the power and grace of nature at your fingertips.
While this trip packs plenty of once-in-a-lifetime adventure, it doesn’t skimp on the finer things in life. You’ll also take a culinary journey of Australia’s premier wine region – the Barossa Valley – while staying in luxurious vineyard accommodation and enjoying a private tasting tour of the valley’s finest cellar doors. You’ll also marvel at the vast white sand dunes and brilliant night sky of Western Australia’s Cape Range National Park from the comfort of a luxury safari camp.
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Relax on your flight between Adelaide and Port Lincoln today. Flight time is approx. 50 minutes and there are typically various departures throughout the day.
Upon your arrival and after picking up your luggage at Port Lincoln airport, you will be transferred by private vehicle to the Lincoln Cove Marina.
There are two prime seasons for viewing great white sharks at the Neptune Islands in South Australia. The first of these is the Australian Summer season where thousands of fur seals congregate for their annual pupping and breeding season. Spring/Summer shark activity starts in November and usually lasts until the end of February. March to early May is usually the most unreliable time for shark activity, despite often having great weather. We are usually cautious about recommending this time, however some years do seem to produce great action and 2011/12 have had great shark action throughout. Advantages of doing this activity at this time include enjoying longer "summery" days, and warmer water up to 20 C. The generally milder weather of this Summer season also allows more opportunities for island shore parties where one can explore the wonder of these remote islands on our expedition tender boat. On many Summery dates bronze whaler and mako sharks also can be seen in addition to the great whites.
The main viewing season however, is in the Austrailian Winter period (from May through to October). This is a time when the growing seal pups that were born in the Summer start to venture out further from the safety of the shore and hunt for themselves. This provides a natural food source for the sharks to target and as a result this time of year more natural predation events can be witnessed. This is the only time of year that we see the very large (and impressive!) bull seals. In the winter, the pups are learning to swim, this is the main season (over 40 years) but recent Summers have equaled if not surpassed on shark activity.
From mid May to late July/early August gives the best chance of the super sized female white sharks. Most shark numbers of all are often recorded in July and August, however September and October do often match July and August and can have clearer water and milder weather and longer daylight hours than earlier months in this season.
The potential downside of the "Winter season" is that there is more of a chance of experiencing blustery winter weather. However with the multi-day itinerary, and from sheltered anchorages and large stable and warm vessel, one can view the generally bigger and more active sharks in comfort at this time. Also note that in the offshore Winter waters around the Neptune Islands, a warm water current does tend to keep the temperature above 15-16 Celsius.
In summary, although there are strong annual trends in both shark reliability, activity and weather conditions, great white sharks can actually be found at the Neptune islands in any given month, and great variations and exceptions to rules can occur in any given season with both the weather and sharks.
The sea surface temperature around the islands ranges from 14-22°C (57-72°F) and the water visibility of over 20m can be experienced in the surface cage and ocean floor diving.
Meet at the Marina Hotel at 7.45PM this evening for the short 15 minute transfer to the Marina where you will board your vessel. Meet the crew and be privy to a boat safety brief before you settle into your quaters for your first overnight onboard.
Detailed specifications of the Princess II vessel are as follows:• 23 m (75ft) length • 3.5m draught • 6.2 m (20.5ft )beam Gross Tonnage 169 • Surveyed to operate 200nm from Australian Coastline. • 1.5 tonne deck crane, for lifting/lowering diving and research equipment • 1 x 80 & 1 x 32Kw generators, power outlets 110/240V 50Hz • Commercial galley for catering to every culinary need. • All meals are provided, served in large air- conditioned saloon with bar • 5500 litre per day water maker 20 days endurance 4000 nautical mile range. • State of the art sea bed mapping technology • Latest satellite Furuno navigation systems • Twin/double en-suite cabins • Individually air-conditioned cabins • Two onboard air compressors for scuba tanks & Hookah set up • Large water level dive platform. • Deck tables and dry camera table • Large camera rinse tanks • Warm freshwater deck shower • Large upper sundeck with lazy boys • Satellite communication systems • Dive tender Naiad 5.8m • Washing machine and clothes dryer is available onboard for your needs.
The Princess II vessel is a gerat boat for a small group charter as it provides unmatched comfort, space and facilities to operate safely in the clear, blue, offshore waters of the Neptune Islands. The vessel has been outfitted to be the world's premier great white shark diving vessel. Whilst regular cage diving in surface floating cages for non-certified divers are catered to, Princess II also has the unique facilities to lower certified divers safely down to the ocean floor in a special submersible shark cage. This is a world exclusive feature available only onboard this vessel and the best Great White observation experience is possible. This also gives photographers and cameramen the opportunity to capture the most spectacular and unique great white shark images available anywhere in the world.
All 6 cabins give the privacy of single, twin share, or double bed cabins, each with a private bathroom. There is also a spacious lounge room like saloon for relaxation and special talks. Other features include a separate single person cage and a warm water deck shower. There is also a large tender boat for fascinating island explorations of the offshore islands wildlife and scenery.
This World exclusive ocean floor great white shark cage diving operation caters specifically for qualified divers. If you have your open water diver cert or above then you can experience the great white shark like very few have, down on the ocean floor and face to face in his domain. A special cage is slowly lowered to the ocean floor where a host of Southern Ocean sealife awaits you. Giant smooth rays (the world's largest stingrays) will surround you, eagle rays will glide by and wrasse, leatherjackets and the beautiful South Australian blue groper are never too far away. This of course, is just the beginning as out of the blue a huge shape appears, you take a sudden intake of breath as a great white shark appears from nowhere and majestically and effortlessly swims by. You will be spellbound by its grace and power with an image ingrained in your memory that will last a lifetime. For the photographer, this experience gives you truly unparalleled and otherwise unobtainable photo opportunities. Each ocean floor dive has a dive master in the cage to safely escort you and your cage dive buddies.
The depths that the ocean floor cage dive in can vary depending on where the vessel is anchored but average around 18m, so to take part in this world exclusive experience a basic PADI open water certificate or equivalent is all that is needed. (No dive certificate is needed for the surface cage diving).
SCUBA Diver certification is not necessary! Non-certified divers can still have a full experience in the "regular" floating surface cages. Cage diving generally requires no fins to be worn, and BCD’s and snorkels are optional. For surface cage diving, there is the option of a "hookah" air hose supply for convenience, and also to save the weight of carrying a SCUBA tank on your back. It is a safe easy, and physically undemanding diving situation.
If you do not wish to dive, there is much to offer “Non Divers”, who participate on most trips and often include full time specialist topside photographers, and non-diving partners accompanying divers on board, or those just wishing to be topside observers and happily remain topside. Much of the enjoyment of this adventure is provided from the spectacular topside viewing of great whites and the other unique wildlife action on and around the surrounding islands.Enjoy relaxing on board, and take in the spectacular coastal scenery, island excursions, beautiful sunsets, and on clear nights, unsurpassed clear starry views of the Milky Way Galaxy. There are also special guest speakers and prominent filmmakers and photographers as extra story telling hosts on some tours throughout the year.
This morning will entail an early departure for the chance to have a seal swim at Hopkins Island (weather permitting) or the captain will head straight to Neptune Islands for some shark viewing and diving.
Where the anchor is dropped each day is dependent on the weather but usually in Winter this is nicely tucked up in 'The Main Bay' of North Neptunes West and in Summer it is usually north of North Neptunes East and in 'Action Bay'.
Learn more about the great white shark this evening as you are given a research & biology talk.
Enjoy a full day at Neptune Islands for shark viewing and diving.
The main year round inhabitants of the islands are the New Zealand fur seals. In fact, the islands are home to Australia's largest fur seal breeding colony and they share the islands with a collection of other beautiful and rare creatures such as storm petrels, lizards, sea eagles, snakes, and birds - and of course, great white sharks. The sharks do not however live there year round, but merely pass through to provision themselves ready for their long migrations around Australia.
Also present at the islands in Winter are a large variety of albatross, these beautiful birds make their way north from Antartica in the winter months we often see them mingling with each other and the giant petrels who also frequent the islands.The Australian Sea Lion is Australia's only endemic sea lion species. There are only about 14,000 of these animals left in the wild, which makes it one of the rarest sea lion species in the world. After years of hunting forced them to the brink of extinction, they are now given special protection by Australian State and Commonwealth Government legislation and are listed as rare by the IUCN (World Conservation Union). There is a small breeding colony at the Neptune Islands, and the islands are also used as a haul out site. The Neptunes are also home to a number of other marine and land species.
At some stage during your adventure, you will be brought on a tour (weather dependent) around the coasts and crevasses of the Neptune Islands to see the fur seal colonies onboard the tender boat to get a better look at the amazing array of species that live there. (Access on to the islands is not permitted).
Spend another day at Neptune Islands enjoying some shark viewing and diving.
An evening shore party along a remote coastline will be arranged for your enjoyment on one of the evenings while you are onboard.
After a full day at sea, your captain will steer you towards Port Lincoln. Approximate arrival time is 10pm.
Enjoy your last night onboard.
After your continental breakfast this morning, bid farewell to your captain and crew and disembark (9am).
Relax on your short flight between Port Lincoln and Adelaide today. Flight time is approx. 50 minutes and there are typically various departures throughout the day.
A 75 minute transfer from the domestic airport in Adelaide to The Louise is provided.
Appellation restaurant at The Louise in the Barossa Valley is recognized as a world class destination for dining in South Australia, with food that unashamedly reflects the local growing seasons. The restaurant has been awarded three chefs hats and named as top restaurant in South Australia by the Australian Good Food and Wine Guide. The Executive Chef and his team are passionate advocates for freshness, seasonality and regionalism. Indeed, 85% of Appellation's menu comes from the Barossa Valley and South Australia. An inspiring selection of iconic Barossa wines are showcased, representing established masters, emerging talent and boutique artisans. Consider dining at the Hotel this evening. Please let us know if you would like us to make you a reservation in advance.
The Louise (4.5*) is a relaxing, spacious, comfortable lodge full of pure opulence and sophisticated contemporary design surrounded by acres of quaint, natural Barossa Valley vineyard landscapes. It is ideally situated in the heart of the legendary Barossa wine country just one hour from Adelaide. The Louise offers amazing food, wine and fifteen inspired designed ensuite accommodations with private terraces and breathtaking views of the vineyard. Onsite is the Appellation Restaurant which is highly regarded as one of Australia’s finest dining destinations; where fresh, local ingredients, informed service and an award-winning extensive collection of wines ensure a truly memorable dining experience. The sports and recreational facilities include an outdoor pool and spa.
Today you will on a private escorted early-morning drive to a nearby conservation park. Go on an easy walk before enjoying a gourmet breakfast in the park, surrounded by families of kangaroos. Dusk and early mornings are the best time to observe the park's wildlife. Watch out for kangaroos feeding on the open grasslands in the early morning or late afternoon, while the occasional echidna or possum may be seen foraging for food at dusk. Abundant native flora and birdlife can also be enjoyed.
Explore the vineyards of the Barossa Valley today - Australia’s biggest quality-wine district, on a private guided tour. The Barossa Valley is known as the power house of wine in Australia, where the traditional methods of the old are so well combined with new technology. Names such as Penfolds, Orlando, Seppelt, Wolf Blass, Yalumba, and Peter Lehmann all have their headquarters here in the Barossa. The rich European heritage with the wonderful buildings and vineyards wait to greet you.
Highlights on your tour include an informative private tasting at Peter Lehmann Wines to taste the wines that made them International Winemaker of the Year and Australian Wine Producer of the Year at the 2003 International Wine and Spirit Competition. In London, enjoy a stop at Maggie Beers Farmshop to taste the range of seasonal treats of the region in a beautiful setting, perched on the side of a huge dam surrounded by vines and olives founded by Maggie Beer, cook, writer and owner of Maggie Beer products. Enjoy lunch in a winery setting where you can savour the region’s distinctive cuisine before taking a visit to Charles Melton Wines or Rockford – a small winery that offers warmth and hospitality in restored 1850s buildings; and a visit to Yalumba or Seppeltsfield to see the awe inspiring heritage buildings and sample the wines of these two “big” names in the industry.
At day's end, you'll be returned to your Hotel. (Includes lunch with a glass of wine, entrances, tastings and refreshments).
Consider enjoying the Chef's Tasting Menu at The Louise Hotel's restaurant this evening. Varying daily, this five course set menu is a nightly collaboration between Appellation’s Chef and Sommelier. The focus of the ingredients is taken from what is in season - it is all about sourcing the the very fresh, outstanding and special produce from the property's garden, friends and producers every day. It is also about the winemaking stars of the Barossa and on any given night this menu could feature classic vintage selections from iconic Barossa producers, exquisitely crafted and highly sought after wines from tiny artisan producers or exciting new releases not yet available to the public. Please let your Sales Advisor know if you would like a reservation for the Chef's Tasting Menu to be made for you in advance.
This is a premium degustation offering that showcases our passion for matching food to wine, the dishes on this menu always start their creation with the wine in mind. We believe that good food and wine matches genuinely elevate the sum of the parts into a truly memorable and enjoyable dining experience. The menu is available without wine for non-drinkers or should you prefer to select a bottle from our cellar or indeed bring in a special bottle to enjoy (a wine service charge may apply), this menu offers great flexibility.
Relax on your private transfer from the Barossa Valley to Adealide airport for your onward flight. The transfer shoudl take approximately 75 minutes.
Relax on your flight between Adelaide and Perth and connect onto a flight to Exmouth today. Flight time from Adelaide to Perth is approximately 2 hour and the flight time from Perth to Exmouth is approximately 2 hours 20 minutes.
Relax on the drive between Exmouth and the World Heritage area of Ningaloo Coast. The chauffeur driven drive should take just under two hours.
The coral reef is literally on your doorstep and the guides of Sal Salis are passionate and knowledgeable people who love nothing more than showing off their back yard - over 500 species of fish, 250 coral species and 600 species of mollusc. Ningaloo is known as one of the best places on earth to see and swim with Whale Sharks and Manta Rays. It is also a major breeding area for Hawksbill, Green and Loggerhead Turtles, which are seen daily in front of the camp. There is a wide range of activities that are available including: Sea Kayaking, Snorkelling, Wildlife Viewing, Guided Gorge Walks, Fishing (additional cost),Whale Shark charters (additional cost), and Marine Wildlife cruises (additional cost).
The extraordinarily pristine beaches and lagoons of the World Heritage Ningaloo Coast area provide visitors with a number of private tours and activities to choose from. Set sail accompanied by a local expert fishermen on a half or full-day fishing trip, where you will be given direction on how to catch "the Big-one." Head out on a full-day snorkelling excursion that explores the coastal areas that surround the picturesque Murion Islands. Learn all about the local wildlife and their flora and fauna enriched habitats during a half or full-day Wilderness and Wildlife cruise. Please speak to your Sales Advisor if you would like to have any of these private optional tours added to your itinerary.
This location offers an amazing oppotunity to star gaze. Lie back on the beach and gaze at the Milky Way stretching from one horizon to the other.
Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef is an exclusive safari camp hidden in the white sand dunes of Western Australia’s Cape Range National Park. Nine spacious wilderness tents are just metres from the water’s edge and the world’s greatest fringing coastal coral reef. Sal Salis accommodation and hosting style exudes ‘Wild Bush Luxury’ and guides deliver an extraordinary insight to one of Australia’s best kept natural secrets – Ningaloo Reef.
Your accommodation is designed to expose you to the sights and sounds outside your tent ... a Red Kangaroo grazing amongst the dunes, the beautiful song of a Butcherbird or a Humpback Whale breaching just beyond the reef. While not comparable to a 5* city hotel, there are certain aspects that are present including a supremely comfortable bed, 100% cotton linen (500 threadcount), a choice of pillows, soft bathtowels, an en suite bathroom, delicious food and great hosting.The main camp building is raised above the sand and coastal scrub with views out to the reef and breakers beyond. Dinner is hosted against a back-drop of rich orange sunsets over the Indian Ocean and in the cool of the evening kangaroos and wallaroos appear from the bush for their evening graze. A bar and open lounge area with a small reference library provides a great spot to sit out the heat of day or enjoy a quiet sundowner. The chef provides contemporary Australian cuisine with hints of bush food and native produce, guests may help themselves to the self-service bar at any time.All power is solar generated, each en suite bathroom has a natureloo, and water usage is very carefully managed and no waste material escapes into the surrounding ecosystem. Guests are allocated 20L of water is allocated per person per day for showering. Native herb soaps and ecologically sound shampoos are provided. The tents are spacious and naturally comfortable – they are not intended to be 5 star hotel rooms in the bush so do not offer TVs, telephones, minibars or other modern appliances.
April to July is the season to swim with the Whale Sharks as they migrate through these waters. Enjoy a full day excursion out on the water as you go in seach of whale sharks on a privately chartered cruise. In order to get as much time as possible with the whale sharks, a Spotter aircraft is used to locate the Whale Shark and the information is transmitted from the pilot to the captain. As you can imagine, the Whale Shark is continually moving in the water so swimming is required the entire time during your interaction. With this in mind, all participants should be confident swimmers, be able to swim the freestyle swimming stroke and be comfortable with snorkeling. The whale sharks are located in the open ocean so you may be required to swim in current and swell. You will be free to take the day at your own pace and do not need to take to the water each time there is a whale shark, and in the case of anyone in your party not being comfortable doing the swim, they can of course participate as an ‘observer’ and enjoy the onboard experience.
Government regulations allow a maximum of 60 minutes swimming with one shark and the duration of each swim is completely determined by the whale shark. If the whale shark "dives" the spotter plane will go to search for another shark. A maximum of 10 people can be in the water at any one time with the whale shark.
Gourmet food is served all day including cheese platters, prawns, smoked salmon, Italian meals, chicken, ham, vegetarian dishes, fruit platters, tea, coffee and soft drinks and is included in the tour.
Use of snorkel equipment, wetsuit, mask & fins as well as transfers between Sal Salis and the boat are included. The boat charter takes a maximum of 20 passengers and at the end of the day you'll be presented with a gift of a complimentary DVD of your day in the ocean.
With the continental shelf being only a few kilometres offshore, Ningaloo Reef is a spectacular and diverse fishing destination. Game, reef and bone fishing can all be arranged from the camp. Enjoy a half day on a private fishing charter today. Target species include Giant Trevally, Mackerel, Tuna, Queenfish, Spangled Emperor and other reef species. Lunch and return transfers from Sal Salis are included as well as the use of professional fishing equipment.
If you feel like stretching your legs and availing of one of the complimentary guided walks, consider taking a guided walk through this spectacular multi-coloured gorge in search of Black-footed Rock Wallabies. Yardie is the only gorge in the area with permanent water and its mangrove areas provide roosting sites for many bird species while the sheltered waters are a sanctuary for marine animals.Alternatively, you may like to take a walk up Mandu Mandu gorge which is located two kilometres behind the camp and is a step back in geological history with fossil bearing limestone formations and spectacular views back to the coast. The history of 30,000 years of human habitation in this area is slowly unfolding from studies of artefacts, middens and rock shelters.
Discover some of the fascinating marine life on this corral reef. A drift snorkel just a few metres offshore reveals a wealth of life, with huge staghorn coral formations, anemones, Clownfish, rays and sponge gardens. All snorkelling gear is provided.
Leave the World Heritage area of Ningaloo Coast and make your way to Exmouth. The chauffeur driven drive should take just under two hours.
Fly from Exmouth to Perth today. The flight should take approximately 2.5hours.
VISA/PASSPORTAmerican and Canadian citizens are required to have a valid passport to enter Australia. Americans and Canadians must enter with an Australian visa or, if eligible, through Electronic Travel Authority (ETA). The ETA replaces a visa and allows a stay of up to three months. It may be obtained for a small service fee. Airlines and many travel agents in the United States are also able to apply for ETAs on behalf of travelers. Please note that American citizens who overstay their ETA or visa, even for short periods, may be subject to exclusion, detention, and removal.
Please note obtaining a visa is your responsibility. These requirements change often and therefore it is best that you check information about the ETA, other visas, and entry requirements with the Embassy of Australia HEALTHHealth insurance is recommended. Medical facilities are good quality. We recommend that you see a health-care provider who specializes in Travel Medicine. The doctor or health-care provider will determine what vaccinations and medication you will need, depending on factors such as your health and immunization history, areas of the country you will be visiting, and planned activities. For more information on travel requirements, visit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/australia.aspx COUNTRY INFOCapital: Canberra. Government: Constitutional Monarchy. Gained independence from the UK in 1901. Language: The official language is English. Many other languages are retained by minorities, including Italian, German, Greek, Vietnamese, Chinese dialects and Aboriginal languages. Religion: 27% Roman Catholic, 21% Protestant and smaller minorities of all other major religions. Time: Australia spans three time zones: GMT + 10 (GMT + 11 from October to March, except Queensland; starts a month earlier in Tasmania). GMT + 9.5 (GMT + 10.5 from October to March, except Northern Territory). GMT + 8 (GMT + 9 from October to March, three-year trial in Western Australia until 2009 followed by referendum). Some states operate daylight saving time during the Australian summer. Electricity: 220/240 volts AC, 50Hz. Three-pin plugs are in use, however sockets are different from those found in most countries and an adaptor socket may be needed. Outlets for 110 volts for small appliances are found in most hotels. Telephone: Country code: 61. Mobile Telephone: Roaming agreements exist with most international mobile phone companies. Coverage is good in and around populated areas; access in some of the more isolated, outback and rural areas is limited. US handsets are not compatible. Internet: Available throughout Australia. Internet cafes are prevalent in all capital cities and tourist towns, and individual hotels may also provide facilities. Wi-Fi access is increasing in cities and is mainly found in hotels, bars and cafes.
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