Swim in the pink lake

Western Australia is home to a number of extraordinary pink lakes. Lake Hillier is a pink-coloured lake on Middle Island, the largest of the islands that make up the Recherche Archipelago off the coast of Esperance. We learn from geography classes that water bodies are marked with blue on the map. But nature likes to mess with us and creates oddities just like this one. With its mere 600 meters in length, pink Lake Hillier is not one that will impress you by its size. Nor it will  impress you by its diverse fishes that inhabit it.


Lake Hillier delights your eye with its pink colour. Moreover, it lies just next to the Pacific Ocean, this if you watch it from above, the contrast between the mellow pink of the lake and the blue of the ocean is striking. The reason of its unique colour is still a topic that is not fully understood by scientists, although most suspect it has to do with the presence of the Dunaliella salina microalgae. The Dunaliella produces carotenoids, a pigment found in carrots as well. But the presence of halophilic bacteria in the salt crusts could be another explanation. A reaction between the salt and the sodium bicarbonate that is found in the water may cause it as well.


Its pink color is less accentuated when viewed from the surface but it is very prominent from above. However, unlike others around the world, this pink lake has water that is still distinctively pink even when it is in a glass.  For a few years they used to extract salt from the lake but nowadays it is only used for tourism purposes. The water of the lake is otherwise clear and it causes no harm to the human skin and the Dunaliella salina alga is completely harmless as well. In fact, swimming in the lake’s water is safe and fun but impossible to do for normal tourists as the lake can’t be visited.

pink lake

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