Lake MacDonnell is pink in colour: Australia's best-kept secret

The lake is pink: Australia's best-kept secret
Lake MacDonnell

At first sight, it seems like the world’s prettiest pink lake. That’s Lake MacDonnell, an ephemeral lake that straddles the border between Western Australia and the Northern Territory. It lies south of Lake Mackay, and south-west of Kintore, Northern Territory. It is the largest freshwater lake in the hinterland and can be described in one word as stunning. Bordering Cooroy, Lake MacDonnell enjoys the benefits of its beautiful township.

It's also one of the wonders of nature- with pink on one side, blue on the other and road in the middle. It’s incredible to ride through this landscape, savouring the mixed hues around you. Did you know there are more than 10 pink lakes in Australia? Australia is home to so many incredible natural wonders, and the extraordinary pink lakes happen to be one of them!

And MacDonnell’s tops that list. It comes in variants like pink, blue and green. MacDonnell’s which is situated at South Australia Ire Peninsula is a lake that comes in the deepest pink.

Earlier the lake was a salt mine and now it’s a Gipson mine in the Northern hemisphere. It gets its colour from the pink and red algae and also from other tiny water creatures. Most pink lakes don’t stay pink permanently, they change colour all the time mostly from a lilac to a bright bubblegum pink colour throughout the day and at certain times of the year. If you’re wondering whether you can swim in a pink lake, there’s no reason why you can’t but most pink lakes in Australia are off-limits as the locals are trying to protect them. If you find a pink lake you can swim in, make sure you don’t have any open wounds as they’ll be seeing a lot of salt in them once you take a dip. Apart from these pink lakes, it's also home to powder white sand deserts and other surfing sports of the country. It’s also a favourite tourist destination.

Social media is already in love with these pink lakes. The cactus beach near the lake is also well known. Since swimming is not an option in these lakes most people head to the cactus beach for a dip.

Beautiful lakes in Australia

Lake McKenzie, Queensland: Located on Fraser Island, Lake McKenzie is one of the most unique lakes in Australia. Because the lake formed solely by collecting rainwater on a silica basin, it is completely transparent with no natural flow of water. The deep cobalt colour looks striking against the white shoreline, and families love swimming in its calm waters. Because the water is so pure, it is unsuitable for most plant life. Only a few species of fish and turtles reside in the lake itself. If you want to sleep near the shore, there are basic campsite facilities at Lake McKenzie.

Fern Pool, Western Australia: Waterfalls that could double as bridal veils flow into Fern Pool, a turquoise rock pool hidden in Karijini National Park. The Park itself is a haven for wild swimmers who love to tuck into secluded watering holes, but Fern Pool is an outlier thanks to its beauty. Fern Pool hosts the park’s only permanent falls and earned its name from the curling ferns growing on its banks. To keep the one-with-nature spirit of the trip, stay at Karijini Eco Retreat. The safari tents add an air of romance and are perfect for falling asleep under the stars.

Lake Hillier in WA: Starting with the most famous pink lake is Lake Hillier in Australia, located on Middle Island in WA. Unlike other pink lakes, Lake Hillier stays the same vibrant bubblegum pink all year round. It’s not that easy to get to the 6km island, you can only view the pink Lake Hillier by a scenic flight or by boat. If you’re going via a boat tour, you’ll be dropped off on the island to explore the camp ruins of Australia’s only ever pirate called Jack Anderson from the 1830s. Although it’s totally safe to swim in, swimming is actually off bounds to protect this natural phenomenon. We’d imagine you’d be floating as much as you would in the Dead Sea due to this amount of salt in this water

Hutt Lagoon, Western Australia: 5.5hrs north of Perth lies Hutt Lagoon, a pink lake that stretches over a massive 70KM. Hutt Lagoon is also a favourite set location for fashion brands like Lancôme and Myer. As mentioned, Gary Pepper Girl made headlines with the beautiful red dress she wore on this lake as well as Aussie model Jennifer Hawkins shot a fashion shoot for a Myer campaign here as well. Depending on the weather, Hutt Lagoon’s colour can vary from lilac to bright pink and can even turn silver, it just depends on the cloud cover and the time of the day. Hutt Lagoon isn’t just a fashion set, it’s actually farmed to make cosmetics and supplements as well as used as a natural food dye. If you’re wondering how, Hutt Lagoon’s pink colour lake is formed due to the algae in the water that produces beta-carotene. You might know beta-carotene is also found in vegetables like carrots and is used to farm these products. Although the water might dry out during Summer and will lose its intense pink colour, don’t try and drive or walk over it as it’s very salty and soft meaning it can be quite slimy as essentially it is still a salt bed.

Pink Lakes, Victoria: Located in the far Northwest of Victoria, 50km south of Mildura, lies four pink lakes in the Murray-Sunset National Park called; Lake Crosbie, Lake Becking, Lake Kenyon and Lake Hardy. Although they aren’t as well-known as some of the famous pink lakes in Western Australia and South Australia, Victoria still has some awesome pink lakes worth mentioning. The colours range from mauve to the classic bubblegum pink after rainfall and get whiter throughout the day. There are walking tracks between the four lakes and you can camp at either Lake Crosbie or Lake Becking.  

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