A cotton candy pink lake? Australia? That’s right! Australia’s pink lakes stretch from the outback of South Australia to the coast of Western Australia. The pink lakes are a must-see for lake lubbers of the world. Pink lakes attract millions of visitors, but they are high salinity and not ideal for swimming. Some pink lakes are protected with no tourists allowed.
Lake Hillier, on the coast of Western Australia’s Middle Island in the Recherche Archipelago and a small lake, has a distinctly pink hue year-round and remains pink when you remove its water to a container. Other Australian pink lakes change hues and colors, according to seasons and temperatures.
Why Does the Lake Turn Pink in Australia?
For years, limnologists and scientists found it a mystery that some lakes are colored pink. In 2023, they are not for sure, but they have pretty good theories with some evidence as to why lakes are pink. Scientist have tagged a microalgae that can tolerate high saline concentrations in their waters that could be the cause of the pink hues.
According to Interesting Engineering, “Most scientists do agree it has probably something to do with the presence of a specific species of microalgae, Dunaliella Salina (d. salina). These salt-loving photosynthetic microorganisms generate energy by using other parts of the visible light spectrum except in orange/red frequencies.”
D. salina thrive in salt water. D. salina secretes carotenoid red pigments (like the beta-carotene in carrots), plus halophilic bacteria (halobacteri) are responsible for the pink lakes’ unique and amazing colors. Halobacteri and archaea imbedded in the salt crusts of the lake could also be part of the cause for the pink lake’s unique appearance.
What Happened to the Pink Lake in Australia?
Pink Lake, the one bubble gum-colored pink lake in Australia actually named Pink Lake has gone through some geological changes, which began in 2007. Formally, Pink Lake was officially named Spencer Lake. Pink Lake had a distinct rose pink hue that attracted tourists.
Pink Lake faded from its pink color in 2007. The pink color depends on the specific algae that thrives in high salinity lakes. The new South Coast Highway and a rail line disturbed the natural flow of salt deposits into the lake’s ecosystem. With decreased salt deposits, the algae did not bloom, and the lake lost its pink hue.
Is it Safe To Swim in Pink Lake Australia?
There are several pink lakes in Australia, a group of them are called Pink Lakes, and there is one pink lake named Pink Lake, which was formerly Spencer Lake in Western Australia. The Pink Lakes group is located in Murray-Sunset National Park in Victoria and its lakes are named Lake Becking, Lake Crosbie, Lake Hardy, and Lake Kenyon.
It is safe to swim in Pink Lake in the Goldfields-Esperance region, Western Australia. It also is considered safe to swim in most of the pink lakes in Australia, but it is not a common practice. People typically appreciate Australia’s pink lake’s stark colors that contrast with the surrounding landscapes and take only photos.
What Is the History of the Pink Lake in Australia?
When Pink Lake lost its pink hue, it created a problem and an identity crisis for the town of Esperance right near Pink Lake on the southern coast of Western Australia on Esperance bay. The town of Esperance wants to change the name back to Spencer Lake, so tourists will not be confused.
In 1848, John Septimus Roe, an explorer, named Pink Lake, Lake Spencer, in honor of Sir Richard Spencer, a resident magistrate in Albany who played a key role in settling the colony in Western Australia. It became a popular tourist destination and most establishments in Esperance are named Pink Lake this or that.
As of 2017, ten years after Pink Lake faded to blue, tourists were showing up and asking the locals, “What happened?” The locals felt bad because it is an overnight trip in a caravan from Perth to see the lake. In 2019, pictures of Pink Lake flooded social media platforms and created another wave of tourists arriving only to find out Pink Lake is blue.
Is the Water in the Pink Lake Safe to Drink?
No, you should not drink the water in the pink lakes, even though they look like a strawberry milkshake. Their water tastes awful, and you will not like it. Their water is highly salty, and drinking salt water will make you sick.
Pink Lake Gin
Junipalooza is Sydney, Australia’s premier gin festival. In 2023, Junipalooza is August 26th and 27th. This year, craft distilleries are introducing new and seasonal releases and have distilled limited-edition gins for Junipalooza exclusively for sale at the gin fest. Patient Wolf Gin Distilling Co. released its latest, Pink Lake Gin, exclusively to its subscribers in June 2023.
Patient Wolf Gin, from Southbank, an inner city suburb of Victoria, distills its gin editions with native and exotic botanicals, citrus, and pure Australian water. Pink Lake Gin is filtered through Mount Zero Pink Lake Salt to represent Australia’s pink lakes. Mount Zero is an olive and olive oil company in Melbourne. Mount Zero Pink Lake Salt is one of the key botanicals in Pink Lake Gin.
Mount Zero produces pink salt from the pink lakes. Each year, one of the pink lakes in Victoria dries up in the summer, and people hand harvest the salmon-colored salt. Patient Wolf Gin reports on its Pink Lakes Gin, “This complexity of minerals, provides a complex, well-rounded flavour – dissimilar to many sharp tasting refined salts…to create a savoury flavour profile with a hint of salt, and pink hue in colour, representative of the pink lakes.”
The Pink Lakes of Australia
- Lake Hillier, Middle Island, Esperance, Western Australia
- Hutt Lagoon, near Port Gregory, Western Australia
- Kati Thanda, Lake Eyre National Park, South Australia
- Lake Bumbunga, five miles south of Snowtown, South Australia
- Lake Macdonnell, Eyre Peninsula, South Australia
- Lake Hart, Outback 282 miles (454 km) north of Adelaide, South Australia
- Pink Lake (Spencer Lake), Esperance, Western Australia
- The Pink Lakes, Becking, Crosbie, Hardy, and Kenyon, Murray-Sunset National Park, Victoria