aerial view of the bright pink lake taken from scenic flight from geraldton

Pink Lakes Perth Western Australia: A Guide to the Best Ones to Visit 2024

Australia is renowned for its stunning natural landscapes, but few are as captivating as the Pink Lakes in Western Australia. These lakes are a natural wonder, mesmerising visitors with stunning shades of pink, from soft blush to vibrant fuchsia.

These lakes are a fascinating scientific phenomenon caused by the presence of specific algae and bacteria that thrive in the salty water. Beyond their mesmerizing beauty, the Pink Lakes are important to the region’s ecology and cultural heritage.

Being a WA resident, I’ve been lucky enough to visit some of these stunning Pink Lakes.

In this blog post, I share the science behind the pink hue, provide a guide to the top Pink Lakes to visit, tips for photographing the lakes, and highlight conservation efforts to preserve these natural wonders for future generations.

Top 5 Pink Lakes to Visit in Western Australia

1. Lake Hillier

Lake Hillier is perhaps the most famous Pink Lake in Western Australia, and for a good reason. This striking pink lake is located on Middle Island, off the coast of Esperance. The lake’s colour is caused by a specific type of algae that thrives in the salt water of the lake. Visitors can take a scenic flight over the island for a bird’s eye view of the lake or┬átravel by boat.

Best Time To Visit – all year

Accessibility – hard

aerial view of one of the pink lakes western australia surrounded by green grass and blue ocean
Lake Hillier, Middle Island, by Tourism Western Australia

2. Hutt Lagoon

Located in the small town of Port Gregory, Hutt Lagoon is another popular Pink Lake in Western Australia. This lake features a vibrant pink hue caused by the presence of a type of algae known as Dunaliella salina. Visitors can take a scenic drive along the lake’s edge and enjoy views of the water and surrounding landscape.

Hutt Lagoon is a five and a half hour drive from Perth between Geraldton and Kalbarri. Pink Lake Lookout on Port Gregory Road is the best point to view the lake or take a scenic flight from Kalbarri.

Best Time to Visit – On a clear day around midday

Access To The Lake – Medium

pink lake dried up with pink crsytals
Hutt Lagoon

3. Pink Lake, Esperance / Kepa Kurl

This lake is close to town, but unfortunately, Pink Lake is no longer pink due to a few factors. After the construction of the railway and roads, the surrounding lakes no longer flow into Pink Lake after heavy rain. The waters from the lakes contain a high salt level, which the algae Dunaliella salina thrive in – over mining the salt from the lake further reduced the amount present.

The pink lake in esperance that is now hard and white
Pink Lake Esperance

However, Lake Warden, close by sometimes, has a pinkness to it.

aerial view of a lake with orange and pink coloured water
Lake Warden by Tourism Western Australia

4. Pink Lake Rottnest Island / Wadjimup

Rottnest Island is a popular tourist destination just off the Perth coast. The island is home to stunning beaches, diverse wildlife, and a Pink Lake. Located in the island’s centre, the lake can be reached by walking or cycling.

The easiest way to reach Pink Lake is by bike from the Settlement to Oliver Hill and then onto Defense Road towards Little Parakeet Bay.

Don’t expect a bright pink lake, though, as this one has more of a pink tinge.

Book a ferry to Rottnest Island here.

Best Time To Visit – hot and dry summer months when the lake is dry.

Access To The Lake – Easy

aerial view of the bright pink lake on rottnest island western australia
Pink Lake Rottnest Island by Tourism Western Australia

5. Quairading Pink Lake

The easiest way to get to Quairading is by car. The distance between Perth and Quairading is approximately 160 km, and the drive takes around 2 hours.

The lake’s pink hue is most vibrant during the summer when the sun is high.

Visitors to Quairading Pink Lake can take a leisurely walk along the lake’s edge, taking in the stunning views of the water and surrounding landscape. The lake is also a popular spot for birdwatching, with a variety of local bird species calling the lake home.

Best Time To Visit – The best time to visit is just after the first rainfalls in autumn. The salt deposits are built up from low water levels, and when the water rises again, the lake turns pink.

Access To The Lake – Medium

aerial view of Quairading Pink Lake with a road running through the middle
Quairading Pink Lake by Tourism Western Australia

The Science Behind Pink Lakes: Explaining the Phenomenon

The Pink Lakes in Western Australia are a natural wonder and are known for their vibrant pink colour, caused by the presence of a type of algae called Dunaliella salina.

Dunaliella salina is a microalga commonly found in hypersaline environments, which are bodies of water with a high salt concentration. These algae contain red and orange carotenoid pigments that are responsible for their colouration. When the algae are exposed to sunlight, they produce large amounts of these pigments, giving the lakes their distinctive pink hue.

The high salt concentration of the Pink Lakes is due to the evaporation of water over time, leaving behind a concentrated brine. The Pink Lakes in Western Australia are some of the saltiest bodies of water in the world, with salt concentrations that can be up to 10 times higher than seawater.

The unique combination of hypersalinity, intense sunlight, and specific algae species makes Western Australia’s Pink Lakes a unique natural phenomenon. The pink hue of the lakes can vary in intensity and change depending on factors such as the time of day, cloud cover, and the sun’s angle.

aerial view of the bright pink lake hutton next to a road
Hutt Lagoon, near Port Gregory by Tourism Western Australia

Tips for Photographing the Pink Lakes: Capturing their Beauty

If you’re planning to visit one of Western Australia’s stunning Pink Lakes and want to capture some stunning photographs, here are some tips to help you get the best shots.

1. Time your visit

The colour of the Pink Lakes can vary depending on the time of day, weather conditions, and season. The best time to photograph the lakes is during the middle of the day when the sun is high in the sky, and the light is bright and clear.

2. Choose the right equipment

A high-quality camera with a wide-angle lens is ideal for capturing the vastness and beauty of the Pink Lakes. A polarizing filter can help to enhance the colours and reduce glare, while a tripod can help you to stabilize your camera and capture sharp, detailed images.

3. Experiment with composition:

Try to experiment with different angles and perspectives to create visually interesting compositions. Use the surrounding landscape, trees, or rocks to frame your shots and add depth to your images.

4. Look for reflections

The still waters of the Pink Lakes can provide stunning reflections of the surrounding landscape. Look for interesting patterns and textures in the water to create unique and captivating photographs.

By following these tips and being patient and creative, you can capture stunning photographs of Western Australia’s Pink Lakes that will be a beautiful reminder of your visit.

Conserving Western Australia’s Pink Lakes: Environmental Challenges and Preservation Efforts

While the Pink Lakes in Western Australia are a stunning sight to behold, it’s important to remember that they are fragile ecosystems that must be protected. Visitors should follow Leave No Trace principles and avoid disturbing the delicate balance of the lake’s ecosystem.

Quick Pink Lake Western Australia Facts

Here are some interesting facts about the Pink Lakes in Western Australia:

  1. Western Australia has several Pink Lakes, including Lake Hillier and Hutt Lagoon.
  2. The Pink Lakes get their vibrant pink colour from the presence of a type of algae called Dunaliella salina, which produces red and orange pigments in response to the high salt concentration in the water.
  3. The Pink Lakes in Western Australia are some of the saltiest bodies of water in the world, with salt concentrations that can be up to 10 times higher than seawater.
  4. The colour of the Pink Lakes can vary depending on the time of day, season, and weather conditions. The most vibrant pink hues are typically seen during the middle of the day when the sun is high in the sky.
  5. Despite their high salt concentration, the Pink Lakes are home to various unique plant and animal species, including several species of birds and salt-tolerant vegetation.
  6. The Pink Lakes have cultural significance to the local Indigenous communities, who have used the salt from the lakes for thousands of years for food preservation and trading.
  7. Swimming in the Pink Lakes is generally not permitted, as the high salt concentration harm to swimmers.
  8. The Pink Lakes are popular tourist destinations and often photographed for their stunning natural beauty.

Pink Lake Western Australia FAQ

How many pink lakes are in Western Australia?

There are several Pink Lakes in Western Australia, the most well-known being Lake Hillier and Hutt Lagoon. However, the exact number of Pink Lakes in Western Australia is unclear, as some smaller lakes and ponds may also exhibit a pink hue at certain times of the year.

Can you swim in the Pink Lakes Western Australia?

Swimming in the Pink Lakes in Western Australia is generally not permitted, as the high salt concentration can be harmful to swimmers. The high salt concentration of the Pink Lakes can cause irritation and discomfort to the skin and eyes.
Therefore, it’s important to follow any signage or instructions provided at the Pink Lakes and avoid swimming in these fragile ecosystems to protect their unique natural balance.

Can you drink the water from Pink Lakes?

Drinking water from the Pink Lakes is not recommended due to the high salt concentration.

Are there any animals that live in the Pink Lakes?

Despite their high salt concentration, the Pink Lakes are home to a variety of unique plant and animal species, including several species of birds and salt-tolerant vegetation.

From the striking pink hue of the water to the diverse plant and animal life that call the lakes home, these stunning bodies of water are truly something special.

Whether you choose to take a scenic flight, enjoy a leisurely stroll, or simply sit and soak in the beauty of the lakes, make sure to follow the guidelines and be mindful of your impact on the environment.

aerial view of the bright pink lake taken from scenic flight from geraldton
Lake Hutton by Air Gero scenic flight