The same in both cases. The same pearly warm water. The same tropical reef with thousands of colourful fish playing in the crystal blue shallows that nudge the same brilliant white beach sands.
So the question is: Which option would you prefer for the same experience – paying $10 per week or $685 for a single night?
In a rare miracle for the Aussie battler, ordinary families and pensioners have been paying just $10 a week to pitch their tents and camp alongside the magnificent Ningaloo Reef coastline. For more than 20 years, these cheerful migrants have been travelling from all over the southern states of Australia to escape the chill of winter. The first ones arriving in May and the last few leaving by September, which is when the relentless winds and scorching heat return. The kids swimming and snorkeling in the warm, protected waters. They and their friends from last year playing in the pristine rock pools and exploring the unblemished sand dunes alongside. Retirees warming their bones in the sun whilst casting their rods during the day and savouring a drink or two from their camping chairs during regular afternoon beer o’clock. They have been completely self-sufficient, bringing their own food, water and even their own container toilets. Yes, they have been coming with everything they need and $10 per week is all they have been paying under the Pastoral Leasehold system.
The WA government is changing all that. Right now. They are taking the coastline from the pastoral leaseholders and opening it for development. See website for more details on what they are doing. Oh, they talk about environmental protection, low impact development and eco-tents. But their real goal is for them and their obsequious developer friends to make money, lots and lots of money. This pristine coastline – currently more than 100km of wilderness camping without any man-made structures to spoil the view – will be transformed into sealed roads, telecommunications towers, sewerage treatment works, buildings, water tanks, drainage systems, electricity and all the other infrastructure required to support rich fly-in/fly-out tourists. This rich elite are not at all self-sufficient, they expect everything to be laid out for them.
So how much does it cost to camp under the new regime? A cool $685 per night, per person. That’s for a tent as pictured above including double bed, deck, shower, basin and stainless steel kitchen. There is also a camp chef and bar. See SMH newspaper article for more on this dollar gouging obscenity called Sal Salis.
The WA government gets their development fees, so they’re happy. The developer and operator both rejoice in raking in such obscene amounts of money. The rich tourists fly in and out, presumably not knowing that exactly the same Ningaloo Reef camping experience used to be available to the ordinary Aussie battler for just $10 per week, with far less impact to the environment since they required no facilities at all except for the warm tropical waters and bright white sands provided by Nature herself.