Exploring Australia’s Pink Lake And Its History

By Josh •  Updated: 05/05/21 •  8 min read

If you are making a bucket list of visiting the most bizarre places in the world, you must have the Pink Lakes of Australia on that list. There are few other counties where you can see pink-colored lakes. Now, if you’ve never been to Australia, you might wonder, can you swim in pink lake Australia?

You have the ability to swim in multiple pink lakes in Australia. The saline water of the lakes is safe but can be harmful to you if overexposed. Spending too much time in the lake because salt water is bad for your skin, and you can have health issues if you somehow swallow too much saltwater. 

In this article, I will tell you about the unique and beautiful pink lakes of Australia, where you can find them and how you can get there. I will also discuss why is the water pink in Australia is the first place, just in case you were curious.

Aerial shot of sunset over pink lake in Australia

Australia’s Pink Lakes

There are multiple pink lakes all over Australia. Here are some of the most popular ones that you must visit if you want to swim in the pink waters.

Lake Hillier

A lot of people call Lake Hillier the Pink Lake for its vivid pink color like a flamingo. It is the most popular pink lake as it is pink throughout the year. Other lakes are not so pink all year round. The water of the lake retains the pink color even if you put it in a glass. 

Lake Hiller is situated on the Middle Island, Esperance of Western Australia. Matthew Flinders, a navigator, and an apt cartographer discovered this lake in 1802.

He actually wrote about the lake in his journal and since then, the lake has become a thing of interest for people around the globe. 

There is nothing unique about the size of the lake. In fact, it is only 600 meters in length and 250 meters in width. You will see paperback trees and eucalyptus trees around the lake.

It does not take much time to reach the seashore from there. You will be greeted by the blue seawater. The scene looks breathtakingly beautiful from a bird’s eye view if you see from the sky.

Lake Spencer (The Pink Lake)

Another lake, Lake Spencer has been originally known as the Pink Lake. It is situated 3 kilometers west of Goldfields-Esperance of Western Australia.


The Lake is 4 km in length and 2 km in width. In 1848, the explorer named the lake “Lake Spencer” in honor of Magistrate Sir Richard Spencer. 

Unfortunately, the Lake has lost its pink hue for a long time now. The water lost the balance of salt and the microalgae that gave the pink hue. The salt mining and construction of modern infrastructure near the lake has affected the Pink Lake 

However, tourists can still see a pinkish color if they visit on a day when the sky is overcast with the cloud without too much natural sunlight. So, you can also visit the lake before twilight to catch the pink glow.

More Pink Lakes in Australia  

Other lakes that are worth mentionable for pink water are Lake Warden and Hutt lagoon. Both are also located in Western Australia. There are also Kati Thanda, Lake Macdonnell, Lake Hart, and other Pink Lakes in South Australia. 

There is also Westgate Lake of Melbourne that suddenly turned into bubblegum pink overnight in 2017. Although the watercolor changed in winter, it still changes to a blush pink color depending on the conditions.  

Why Is the Water Pink in Australia?

So, why is the water pink of so many lakes in Australia? In the past, people did not know how to explain the phenomenon. It has always been a mystery to everyone.

Fortunately, modern science has become advanced enough to find out the reason. Scientists tested the water of the lakes and came up with a decent answer.

There can be several reasons behind the color of the lakes. Several DNA tests found the presence of different bacteria that thrive in saltwater. There is also the microalgae named Dunaliella salina.

This micro algae species has carotenoids in its body. The carotenoids have pink or reddish pigment that blooms in saltwater.  

Scientists also found Halophilic bacteria, and the bacteria Salinibacter ruber also thrive in salted water.

Many scientists believe that the reaction of the microbes, bacteria and salt is the reason why the lake water in Australia is pink. Based on the balance and amount of the organisms and salinity, the Lakes can be red, pink, lilac, and magenta.


So, the Pink Lake of Australia has lost its pink for the imbalance of the salt, microbes, and bacteria. The lack of these there means not red or pink pigments in the water. Therefore, the water changed to white, grey, or lilac.       

Can You Swim in The Pink Lakes?

Now, you are probably excited to learn about the pink lakes of Australia, and you want to experience swimming in one of these pink lakes. The good news is you can swim in the pink water. The water of the pink Lakes is not toxic, and the salinity is safe for swimming.

Many people used to think that the water of the lakes of Australia turned pink due to pollution, but this has been proven false over time as science became involved.

As you have known, the water is natural as the blue water of the sea or any other lake. The only difference is the pink color of the lakes which is also natural.  

Swimming in the pink lakes is actually quite fun. The water is so dense with salt that you will float which helps to remove the chance of drowning accidentally.

Tourists who visit the lakes love to take pictures when visiting the lakes. But tourists have to take permission before swimming in the lakes as some of them do not allow bathing or swimming in the water. 

However, locals around the lakes do not encourage tourists to swim on the lakes. The government of Australia has a strict policy of keeping nature safe from any harm.

Thus, they are able to keep most of the pink lakes safe. Besides, visiting the pink lakes is not that easy for the locations. 

The tourists who want to swim in the lakes are also instructed not to swim in the lakes for more than 10 to 12 minutes as the salt can cause skin irritation to some people.

You have to be sure about the pH level of the water if you have a dry skin problem. Besides, accidentally swallowing the water can also result in physical discomfort.

How Can You Go to Pink Lakes?

The pink lakes are located in different locations in Australia, depending on where their location some of them are easy to visit while some others are not as easy.

To have a bird’s eye-view experience of Lake Hillier, Lake Spencer, and Lake Warden, you can take air services like the Goldenfields Air Services. You can also have a road trip to the lakes and hire boats to see them.

To visit Hutt Lagoon is easier. It is near Port Gregory, West Australia. You can travel by car on George Grey Drive. Kalbarri Scenic Flights and Shine Aviation air services are also available if you want to see the lack from the sky. 

You will see Australia’s one of the most beautiful roads when you take a road trip to Lake MacDonnell. On one side of the road, there is a pink expense of water and the other side is blue water. The lake is located in the Eyre Peninsula. 

You have to take the road to Penong Town. Take the Highway and get out of Ceduna. Keep going, and you will reach Penong. You will eventually see the sign of Point Sinclair. Then turn left and you will see the pink and blue strip of Lake MacDonnell. 

Final Thoughts

If you have a thirst for traveling the pink lakes of Australia are a must to have in your checklist. For anyone wondering, whether or not can you swim in pink Lake Australia, you now know the answer. I hope this article was informative enough to help you plan out your visit.

Thanks for reading and have a safe trip.


Josh is a loving dad and husband, writer, business owner, and someone who loves to explore the world. He last travelled to Australia to visit Sydney, Brisbane, and Cairns and am looking to head back soon to see more! He is a huge fan of hiking, drawing, and so much more!

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