11 Pink Lakes In Australia You Didn’t Know Existed

by Meri Gasem

No, it’s not another Photoshop prank or April Fools, pink lakes exist, and they are mesmerising. This unique lake colour is due to the salt-loving algae living in the waters. With temperature and saltine levels changing, the algae are less or more active, and the shades of pink change. Pick the right time for your visit to find sensational once in a lifetime view!

Most of the lakes are not suitable for swimming, but you can admire them from the shore. Charge your camera and get on the road. Here are the most striking pink lakes in Australia you shouldn’t miss!

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1. Hillier Lake, Western Australia

Located on the edge of Middle Island in the Esperance Region, Hiller lake is a saline lake. In the 20th century, salt was mined from the lake; today, it’s only a tourist attraction. It won’t amuse you with a rich marine life or the size – it’s only 600 metres long and 250 metres wide.

The dazzling pink colour is still a topic of research. One reason could be the salt-loving Dunaliella salina microalgae that give off a red colour from its carotenoid compounds. The other is the reaction between sodium bicarbonate and salt, both found in the water. The water is safe for swimming; it’s saltier than the Dead Sea, so you’ll be chilling without a chance of drowning. But sadly, the lake is no longer available for visits.

How To Reach: Book a boat tour with Esperance Island Cruises or a scenic flight with Fly Esperance. The bookings are taken way in advance, so reserve a place early.
Best Time To Visit: October to April, the lake is the pinkiest in late summer.
Where To Stay: Kennedy’s Beach West free camp, or Thomas Fishery paid camping.



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2. Hutt Lagoon, Western Australia

Hutt Lagoon is located 2 kilometres from the mouth of Hutt River in the Coral Coast and stretches parallel with the highway. It’s sheltered from the Indian Ocean via a dune system. It covers over 70 square kilometres and parts of it are below sea level. Hutt Lagoon is also known as the Pink Lake at Port Gregory, a popular fishing village.

The lake gets its colour the same way as Hillier due to the Dunaliella salina algae. The lake’s colour can vary from bubblegum pink to lilac, depending on the season and time of the day. During high summer, the lake dries in most parts, and only salt crystals can be seen. Through spring, the lake fills up from the seawater. It’s generally safe for swimming, but you won’t see many people entering the lake. Wear reef shoes if you plan on swimming, as salt crystals at the bottom can cut your feet.

How To Reach: Drive 100km from Geraldton for access from the ground; take a scenic flight from Geraldton or Kalbarri for a fantastic view.
Best Time To Visit: Any clear, sunny day in winter or spring, preferably before noon.
Where To Stay: John Batten Community Hall free campground or Port Gregory Caravan Park paid camp.



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3. Eyre Lake, South Australia

Lake Eyre or also known as Kati Thanda in the local Aboriginal dialect is the lowest point on the Australian continent. It’s a rare view to see it full. Due to the constant evaporation, there is mud and thick salt crust around the sides and bottom, and it could be a painful struggle to enter and swim in the lake.

1.5 metre flooding happens every 3 years, while a 4 metre fill up happens every decade. A full fill up happens only a few times in a century. When the lake fills up, there’s a number of diverse fishes, but as the salt crust dissolves in the water, they die out.

How To Reach: You can drive to the lake (700km from Adelaide) and explore on foot or schedule a scenic flight from Marree.
Best Time To Visit: Usually after winter and heavy rains, but always check in advance if there’s enough water in the lake.
Where To Stay: Beresford Ruins free campground or Halligan Bay paid camping.



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4. Bumbunga Lake, South Australia

Bumbunga lake is located in the famous wine region in Clare Valley and is known for changing its colour from pink to white or blue depending on its salinity level. It’s less than 14 square kilometres and made of three salt pans. Salt mining has been going on for over 30 years.

The name in the local Aboriginal dialect means rainwater lake, which tells us when the lake is actually whole and visible. You can enter the lake but be careful of the sharp salt crystals underneath. It’s a popular destination for fashion photographers, influencers, and advertisers to shoot campaigns, so you might find it crowded.

How To Reach: Less than 2-hours drive from Adelaide.
Best Time To Visit: Beginning of summer, there’s still water and it’s bright pink.
Where To Stay: Lake Lochiel Rest Area free camp or Snowtown Caravan Park paid camp.



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5. Macdonnell Lake, South Australia

The most Instagram-famous pink lake is located almost 9 hours drive from Adelaide on the Eyre Peninsula near the Nullarbor Plain. It’s probably the best dazzling pink shade on the list. Formerly a salt mine, today, this 27 square kilometre lake is the largest gypsum mine in the southern hemisphere.

Plan your visit carefully so you won’t end up at a dried-out lake, taking a walk on salt plains. The Nullabor Plain is also a struggle to drive through in summer, so cooler seasons such as spring and autumn would be perfect. Entering the lake and swimming in it is not recommended.

How To Reach: Drive
Best Time To Visit: Spring, there’s still water in the lake, and it’s bright pink.
Where To Stay: Cohens Old School Site free camp or Point Sinclair paid camp.



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6. The Pink Lakes, Victoria

Four pink lakes are lying in the northwest of Victoria: Lake Crosbie, Lake Becking, Lake Kenyon and Lake Hardy. They aren’t as famous as the other pink lakes but are still a fantastic sighting. There are walking tracks around the lakes you can use to visit all of them and camp for free at the shores of two of them.

Their colour changes throughout the day from bubblegum pink to white and are the best pink after a rainfall. Due to their size and shallowness, it’s not recommended to enter and swim.

How To Reach: Less than a 2-hour drive from Adelaide and 50km from Mildura. Best to be explored on foot.
Best Time To Visit: Spring.
Where To Stay: Lake Crosbie Free Campground or Underbool Recreation Reserve paid camp.



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7. Pink Lake & Lake Warden, Western Australia

Pink Lake and Lake Warden are neighbouring lakes in the Goldfields-Esperance region of Western Australia. Pink Lake lost the rosy colour in 2007 with the drastic decrease of salt in the lake due to human activity, but it can go back to pink as the conditions improve in the following years.

Long ago, the Pink Lake was the terminal lake in the Lake Warden system where water from several lakes would flow into the Pink Lake. With the construction of a railway line and the South Coast Highway, the lakes lost their connection. Lake Warden has maintained its pinkish colour and you can even take a boat ride on it!

How To Reach: 7 hours drive from Perth, you can book a flight over the lakes with HeliSpirit.
Best Time To Visit: Late April to October.
Where To Stay: Creek Spor free camp or Bushland Holiday Village paid camp.

Read Next: 7 Incredible Australia’s Golden Outback Experiences To Have On Your Big Lap



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8. Quairading Pink Lake, Western Australia

Quairading Pink Lake is an excellent stop on your way to and from Perth. The road goes through the lake dividing it into two sections- a pink one and the other remains blue. During the dry season, salt catches up on the trees and the shore, and the lake loses its colour, but once it fills up, it regains the rosy hue.
It might not be as extraordinary to get on the road specifically for it, but it’s a worthy stopover.

How To Reach: 2-hour drive from Perth and explore on foot.
Best Time To Visit: Early spring after a rainfall.
Where To Stay: Toapin Weir free camp or Quairading RV Camp Area paid camping.



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9. Westgate Lake, Victoria

One of the recent year phenomena is the Westgate Lake in Melbourne that turned pink almost overnight! But there’s nothing magical about it – the warmer temperatures caused evaporation and higher salt concentration in this salt lake. During the cooler months, the lake is back to its regular colour. You don’t have to travel through the desert; this is a pink lake right in the urban jungle.



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10. Hart Lake, South Australia

On your way to the Outback of Australia, there’s the perfect pink lake – Lake Hart. It was once one of the most significant salt mines in the desert between Adelaide and Darwin.

How To Reach: 5-hour drive from Adelaide, and explorable on foot.
Best Time To Visit: Springtime.
Where To Stay: Lake Hart Rest Area free camp or Glendambo Outback Resort paid camping.



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11. Lake Albert, South Australia

Lake Albert is a freshwater lake also known as Yarli in Aboriginal, and is settled along the Mighty Murray River. It’s filled with water flowing in from the larger Lake Alexandrina. The algae give it a pale rosy hue which makes it an attractive tourist stop on the way to Coorong National Park. Swimming is not recommended, but there are other activities as fishing and birdwatching.

How To Reach: 2-hour drive from Adelaide.
Best Time To Visit: Whenever.
Where To Stay: Narrung Ferry free camp area or Jury Road Orchard paid camp.



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