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Australia’s most vibrant pink lakes and where to find them

Showcasing the brightest pink lakes in Australia.

Australia’s most vibrant pink lakes and where to find them

Showcasing the brightest pink lakes in Australia.
Bright pink lake contrast against aquamarine water with a strip of lush green beach shrubs

While Australia is filled with mind-blowing aquamarine coastlines, few compare to the pink hues of the pink lakes around Australia. From coastal Western Australia to inner city Melbourne, the pink lakes are an unmissable attraction. 

What makes the lakes so pink?

These bubblegum-coloured basins will make you wonder just how they get this glorious hue. 

The reason the lakes turn so pink is the algae that grow in them, the most common algae being Dunaliella salina and Halobacterium cutirbrum. With salinity almost as high as the ocean and the bright Australian sun shining down, the algae take on a pink pigment called beta-carotene. 

How many pink lakes are there in Australia? 

The bright pink hues of some of Australia's best pink lakes
The bright pink hues of some of Australia’s best pink lakes |  @hobopeeba

We’re fortunate enough to have more than ten pink lakes spread through Western Australia, South Australia, and Victoria, although, not all of them have remained pink. Over time, some of the lakes have lost their colour completely. To make your holiday planning easier and to avoid any disappointment, we’ve collated the six pinkest lakes. 

Western Australia 

Lake Hillier 

Lake Hillier
Lake Hillier | Shutterstock

Separated by a thin strip of lush greenery, the lake’s bright pinks are contrasted with the deep blue of the Southern Ocean that surrounds Middle Island. The best way to see Lake Hillier is from the skies — book a flight from Esperance and keep your eyes peeled for the spectacular lake. 

If flying isn’t your favourite activity, you can also visit the island by boat where you can then explore on foot. Allow enough time on the island to see the camp ruins of Australia’s only Pirate, Black Jack Anderson. For conservation reasons, you won’t be able to swim or get too close to the lake.

Lake Hillier also has Pink Lake as a neighbour. Both lakes were discovered in the early 1800s and over time, the vibrancy of their colours change. 

Hutt Lagoon

Hutt Lagoon
Hutt Lagoon | @rockmyworld_luli.rocko

Hutt Lagoon is one of Australia’s most famous and photographed pink lakes. Located between Geraldton and Kalbarri, Hutt Lagoon is only six hours from Perth and a road trip well worth prioritising. 

The waters are an extraordinary sight ranging from bright pink to an occasional deep red. Its vibrancy changes from season to season as well as the time of day you visit. To see it at its most colourful, visit on a clear day, either mid-morning or at sunset. 

As you travel down Port Gregory Road, you’ll have many chances to pull over and see this natural phenomenon. If you’re in Geraldton and want an exclusive experience, try a scenic flight over the lake, where you’ll see the contrast of the red, arid desert, pink water, and the azure Indian Ocean.

Rottnest / Wadjemup Pink Lake

The pink lakes in the heart of Wadjemup / Rottnest island
The pink lakes in the heart of Wadjemup / Rottnest island | @jarradseng

While the previously mentioned lakes will be quite vibrant on most days, the Rottnest / Wadjemup Pink Lake isn’t quite as bright. However, it does offer a different kind of dazzling beauty, especially as the sun rises and sets over the horizon. 

With a more lilac tinge and the ability to get up close and personal, it’s the perfect spot to get a quick picture. Take it from the walkway and it’ll look like you’re floating over the lake. 

South Australia 

Lake Bumbunga 

The green rolling hills contrast with the bubble gum pink of Lake Bumbunga
The green rolling hills contrast with the bubble gum pink of Lake Bumbunga | @southaustralia

Hidden behind the rolling hills of the vineyards of the Clare Valley, you’ll find Lake Bumbunga. The ever-changing lake will move from bright pink to white and then to a clear blue, depending on the salinity of the water. 

Lake Bumbunga has become an iconic spot for photographers taking pictures for high-end fashion brands — the beauty of the lake adds an element of artistic elegance to the photos. It’s also the perfect spot to take a break and take that perfect picture for your Instagram feed. While you may not be a famous fashion photographer, the lake as a backdrop does most of the work and a couple of snaps later, you’ll feel like you’re about to grace the cover of Vogue Magazine.  

After exploring the lake, head into Clare Valley and visit some of the award-winning wineries, spending the rest of the day sipping on some of the finest wines and food the state produces. 

Lake Macdonnell 

Lake Macdonnell
Lake Macdonnell | Shutterstock

Salmon pink waters separated by dirt roads, contrasted against a murky green lake, are why Lake Macdonnell is such a sight to see. Like most pink lakes, Lake Macdonnell is best seen on clear days to get that strong contrast from one side of the causeway to the other. 

Known for being one of the most intense of all the pink lakes you can find in Australia, visiting Lake Macdonnell is a must when in South Australia


Westgate Lake 

Westgate Lake 
Westgate Lake | Shutterstock

Tucked under the Westgate Bridge in the heart of industrial Melbourne, a candy-coloured lake emerges. Westgate Lake is at its peak colour once a year when the dry season of December and January comes. The water level drops and the salinity level rises, activating the algae to put its pink coat on. After the winter rains, the water is diluted back down, and the algae stop producing the colourful carotenoids. 

The park is a great spot for picnics and to see the mouth of the Yarra River. To see the lake at its brightest, head to Melbourne during the warmer months.

Follow along with So Where Next for more Australian travel.

Feature Image: @saltywings 

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