Australia is full of remarkable pink lakes. And luckily for us, some of them are located right here in Victoria. And while the colours might make you think of sweet things, like fairy floss, these surreal landscapes are actually full of salt. Inside the lakes, you’ll find single-celled algae, known as Dunaliella salina, which gives the lakes their rosy hue. Under certain conditions, when the salt level increases and the water reduces, the algae produce pink or red pigments that transform the colours of the lake. Here’s where you can find some of the perfectly pretty pink lakes around Victoria.
1. Westgate Park, Port Melbourne
When was the last time you drove over the Westgate Bridge, and saw a flash of vivid pink? This park in Port Melbourne features plenty of greenery and birds, as well as a picturesque salt lake. The lake turns pink during the warmer months, when enough water evaporates and the salt levels increase.
The conditions need to be right for the lake to turn pink. It usually happens after a dry spell, when there is increased sunlight, high temperatures, high salt levels and lack of rainfall. Once the weather cools, the lake returns to its normal colour.
📍4 Wharf Rd, Port Melbourne VIC 3207
2. Lake Tyrrell, Sea Lake
This gorgeous salt lake is over five hours away from Melbourne, and seven kilometres north of Sea Lake. Located in the heart of the Mallee region, this ancient site is Victoria’s largest inland salt lake, covering over 20,000 hectares. The 120,000 year old lake draws its name from the Boorong word, ‘Tyrille’, meaning ‘sky’ or ‘space’. And when you see it, you’ll know why. This vast lake is a breathtaking mirror to the cosmos, making it the perfect place for stargazing. It’s also stunning at sunrise or sunset, when the vibrant hues of the sky streaks in colourful swirls across the water.
The lake turns pink when the water is shallow during the hotter months, exposing the pink salt crust. This usually happens between December and February. The lake has a lovely viewing platform and boardwalk, so you can admire the landscape in comfort.
Meanwhile, if you visit during the colder months, particularly from June to August, the lake will be filled with water, allowing for perfect stargazing conditions.
📍Lake Tyrrell Road, Sea Lake VIC 3533
3. Pink Lakes, Murray Sunset National Park
Murray-Sunset National Park in the north of Victoria is home to not one, but four pink lakes. The Crosbie, Becking, Kenyon and Hardy lakes are known collectively, and quite simply, as the Pink Lakes. Ranging in hue from white to deep pink, these lakes feature a number of walking tracks, so you can stretch your legs and explore the landscape.
The Pink Lakes get their colour during late summer, when the crystal clear water evaporates, leaving concentrated salt crusts, and revealing the red pigment secreted from algae. The best time to see it would be early or late in the day, or when the sky is cloudy.
However, even when they’re not pink, the lakes are beautiful to see almost all year round. While you’re exploring the landscape, look out for native wildlife, like kangaroos, emus, echidnas and birds.
📍Pink Lakes Rd, Murray-Sunset VIC 3509
4. Pink Lake, Dimboola
When you’re driving along the Western Highway, four hours away from Melbourne, be sure to take a break and rest at this pretty pink lake. Situated north of Dimboola and Little Desert National Park, this lake is located right next to the highway, so you don’t have to make a detour.
The intensity of the pink colour depends on a lot of factors, including the season, temperature, cloud cover and water level. The colour is most striking after rainfall, which brings in fresh nutrients and triggers the growth of algae. Colours can range from a pale salmon to a bright bubble-gum pink. When the lake is dry, more light reflects off the salt crystals, causing the lake to appear more white than pink.
The car park features picnic tables, toilets and shelter, so you can relax comfortably and admire the view. You can also walk down a path to the lake’s edge. Dotted around the lake, you’ll see yellow gumtrees and salt paperbarks, adding to the beauty of the picturesque landscape.
📍Western Highway, Dimboola, Victoria, 3414