Everything You Need To Know About Pink Lakes (WA)

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Along with the Great Barrier Reef, the Baxter Cliffs, Uluru and the Twelve Apostles, the Pink Lakes of Western Australia are places you simply must add to your Australia bucket list. As natural wonders go, it is hard to beat a pink lake, which is both extraordinary in its creation and breathtaking in appearance. Luckily there are four destinations you can head to in Western Australia to take in this incredible sight at first hand – as well as a few others in Australia. Just to be clear, when I say pink lakes, I am talking about vast bodies of water that do not comprise various shades of blue or green as you would expect. But rather vibrant hues of pink that will put a lump in your throat.
If this is something that has piqued your interest, then keep on reading. In this article, I’ll give you the low down on the phenomenon of what makes a lake pink and also tell you the best times and places to see one in Western Australia – as well as the country as a whole.

Pink Lakes In WA

What makes these lakes pink?

While nobody knows for sure exactly how lakes come to be pink, most scientists agree that they need to be saltwater in order to do so.

It’s all down to algae. As these lakes all reside near the ocean, their high salinity content, along with the extreme brightness of the sun creates a pigment called beta-carotene (also found in carrots), which turns the water a stunning pink colour.

Most of these lakes don’t stay pink forever and their colour tends to flit between bubblegum pink to a darker shade of lilac at various points of the day and year.

Can I swim in the Pink Lakes?

In theory you can swim in a pink lake, although some local residents and legislation might discourage you from doing so in order to protect them.

Should you find the opportunity to swim, make sure you don’t have any open cuts on your skin.


Salt and open wounds aren’t a great combination, so you’ll want to wear reef shoes and a diving suit to keep them under wraps.

You’d float much like you would on the Dead Sea around Jordan and Israel, given the high concentration of salt within this water.

The Most Beautiful Pink Lakes in Western Australia

If you are interested in seeing the pink lakes in Western Australia, here are the five spots you can head to.

1- Lake Hillier

Beach At Pink Lake Next To Gregory
Lake Hillier is one of the top pink lakes in WA.

On Middle Island in WA, Lake Hillier is one of the most famous of all pink lakes in Australia.

What sets it apart from other lakes in the country is that it remains the same vivid bubblegum colour all year round, which means it doesn’t really matter when you go there.

Unfortunately, it is not a straightforward place to get to on foot as it’s about 120 km from Esperance on a protected island close to Cape Arid National Park, within the Recherche Archipelago.

The best way to see it is by helicopter, and you can book a tour that will provide you with a spectacular aerial view of the unique pink lake which is encircled by the stunning contrast of the lush bushland and deep blue waters of the Indian ocean.

If you don’t fancy flying, you could take a boat trip to Middle Island via Esperance Cruises.

Its best to check the schedule and book well in advance of your visit.

However, if you can secure a boat trip there, you’ll be able to check out the camp ruins of one Jack Anderson, who was Australia’s only ever pirate, dating back to the 1830’s.

2- Hutt Lagoon (Port Gregory Pink Lake)

Beach With Drift Wood Of The Pink Lake Next To Gregory
Hutt Lagoon (Port Gregory Pink Lake) is another of the pink salt lakes WA.

Stretching for more than 70km, Hutton Lagoon is somewhere you may instantly recognise as it has featured in TV adverts, shows and movies including the Myer fashion shoot headlined by Jennifer Hawkins.

Gary Pepper Girl was also famously photographed wearing a beautiful red dress here in collaboration with Lancôme.

Hutt Lagoon is in Port Gregory, near Geraldton, around five and a half hours north of Perth.

It changes throughout the year depending on the sun, clouds and other elements.

In the summer it dries out to form a huge salt lake, which results in it being a very pale pink.

At this time, you can walk on the lake and snap some Insta-worthy pics.

By contrast, during the winter, or after huge storms, the lake tends to fill up again, making it perfect for swimming.

Though again you’ll need to be careful of the small salt crystals that lay at the bottom of the lake, as they can be sharp on your feet.

Throughout the year, you’ll find places of places to relax and enjoy a picnic, though you should remember to dispose of your rubbish responsibly – packing in and packing out is recommended.

If you have the time and your budget allows, you can also book a buggy tour around the lagoon which is a great way to see it from different perspectives and learn about its history and formation.

Interestingly, Hutt Lagoon isn’t just a beautiful nature spot to visit.

It is also used to harvest brine shrimp, which is then provided as a feed for prawns and other fish.

Additionally, the lake is farmed to make cosmetic and other supplements.

It is also used as a natural food dye.

3- Pink Lake (Rottnest Island)

The Pink Lake
The Pink Lake, Rottnest Island pink lakes WA.

Pink Lake is the best known of several salt lakes on Rottnest Island.

At 63-hectares in size, the lake is a picturesque spot on the west side of the island which is surrounded by small shrubs and low dunes.

The best way to see it is via a walking trail that takes you around its eastern perimeter.

Doing this enables you to take in the splendid colour variations of the salt content near the centre of the water as it increases.

The trail is particularly worth tackling at sunset when the lake glows with brilliant orange and pink hues that create fantastic photo opportunities.

If you don’t fancy stretching your legs, you can easily float in the lake if you want to.

Alternatively, you can take up a position at one of the many rest areas or picnic tables that encircle the lake.

Unfortunately, due to its high salinity, this lake is not conducive for aquatic life but it does attract plenty of sea and migratory birds.

The most convenient way to reach Rottnest Island is by ferry, which you can take from either Perth, Hillarys Boat Harbour or Fremantle.

They operate on a regular basis throughout the day, with crossings taking about half and hour.

Once you arrive at the island, Pink Lake is easy to get to via bus or car.

4- Quairading Pink Lake (Western Australia)

Breathtaking Aerial View Of Unusual Pink Lake
Quairading Pink Lake (Western Australia).

Covering an area of 140 hectares, Quairading Pink Lake enjoys a breathtaking setting, framed by eucalyptus trees and native shrubs, which provide a gorgeous backdrop to marvel at its pink waters.

Just a couple of hours drive from Perth, the most unique aspect of this lake is that it has a road running directly through it.

This separation is the reason it has two different shades of pink at any given time.

For most people, their first sight of the pink water comes from the aptly named Lake View Road, which presents a stunning introduction to the notable geological feature not long after you turn off from the Quairading-Corrigin road.

When you reach the lake, you will be able to get up close views of it from a walking trail that skirts its perimeter.

As compelling as the water might be, don’t forget to look up in the sky every now and then.

You’ll see plenty of abundant birdlife on the look out for brine shrimp to feed on within the lake.

Best Time To Visit The Pink Lakes In Western Australia

For those wanting to check out the Pink Lakes in Western Australia, the best time to do so is probably during the dry and hot months of December and February, when the lake’s colours are at their most vivid.

During this period, algae and salt concentration growth are at levels that create the most vivacious pink hues across the water, as compared to other times of the year.

Overall, you might want to avoid going to any of the lakes between May and September, as heavy rain can cause them to emit a more muted colour.

Other Pink Lakes In Australia

Can’t make it to Western Australia? Here are some other places you can see a pink lake in Australia.

5- Pink Lakes, Vic

Over in the far north western reaches of Victoria, roughly 50 km to the south of Mildura, lies not one, but four pink lakes within the Murray-Sunset National Park: Lake Hardy, Lake Becking, Lake Crosbie and Lake Kenyon.

Their colours span all pantones from classic bubblegum pink to mauve, depending on the time of day.

It is actually quicker to get to Murray-Sunset National Park, from Adelaide as it is Melbourne.

But while you are there, you can explore walking tracks that will take you between all four lakes.

For those who are into camping, you can do this at either Lake Becking or Lake Crosbie.

As an extra bonus, you will be able to enjoy terrific views of the stars at night.

6- Westgate Lake Melbourne, Vic

You might remember Westgate Lake in Melbourne hitting the headlines a few years back when it literally changed its appearance overnight to a gorgeous shade of bubblegum pink.

At the time there were varying theories as to why the lake, which sits close to the Westgate Bridge, changed colour.

But now most experts believe it was due to the weather getting warmer.

For this reason, you’ll have to come to this spot – about 20 minutes drive from the CBD – in the summer months.

In the winter, the lake turns back to its original blue colour.

7- Lake Bumbunga, Clare Valley, SA

Not far from the world class wine region of Clare Valley, about an hour and 40 minute north western drive from Adelaide, is Lake Bumbunga.

Given that it is relatively easy to get to and that the water is quite shallow, it is a popular destination for photographers and artists who want to capture its essence on film or canvas.

8- Lake Eyre, SA

You will need a bit of assistance from the weather gods if you want to see Lake Eyre at its pinkest.

Due to its climate, it only tends to see water every 3 to 10 years.

However, when it has had a bit of rain, this beautiful lake is a tremendous site – particularly when the wildlife return.

You will have to complete an 8 hour drive north from Adelaide to see it though.

9- Lake MacDonnell, SA

Lake MacDonnell is arguably one of the most popular and beautiful pink lakes in the whole of Australia.

Despite residing about a 9-hour drive to the west of Adelaide, it has become a noted spot among Instagram influencers.

Once a salt mine, it is now the Southern Hemispheres biggest gypsum mine, producing over one million tonnes of it annually.

10- Lake Albert, Fleurieu Peninsula, SA

Named after Prince Albert, this stunning lake is regarded as the gateway to the Coorong National park.

It will take you about 100 minutes to drive there non-stop from Adelaide.

But once you are there you will be able to explore this stunning pink waterway.

You can also check out its fascinating network of sand dunes, salt pans, wetlands and pristine beaches that stretch for more than 150 km.

For more WA experiences, read:

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Spencer Samaroo
Spencer is a freelance travel writer with over 20 years experience producing written content for tourism-related businesses. A thalassophile who was afflicted with wanderlust from a young age, he has visited over 40 countries in the world. An ex-pat Brit who now lives on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, he cites Miami Beach in the USA and Palm Cove in Australia as his favourite travel destinations. Specialising in writing about beach destinations around the world, he would probably bleed sand if you cut his arm open