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Pink Lakes of Australia

Updated: Dec 9, 2023

Pink lakes are a spectacular phenomenon that can be seen right across Australia. Such lakes have their unique colour thanks to microorganisms that thrive in extremely salty conditions.

Photo Credit: Joel Bramley

Salt lakes typically don't go pink until the salt concentration is over 20%. That's over 5 times that of sea water! Spring and summer are normally the best times of year to see that gorgeous pink colour as water evaporates during the warmer months leading to an increase in salt concentrations.

Photo credit: Anne Morley

As salt concentrations increase, halophilic (salt loving) bacteria and algae such as Halococcus and Dunaliella salina produce red pigments that help protect them from the harsh sunlight common to such areas, giving both the saline water and the salt itself a pink hue. These organisms also thrive in the heat with some having optimum temperatures of 40 to 50 degrees Celsius.

Photo credit: James Smart

One great example of a pink lake here in Victoria is Lake Tyrrell. It's a shallow lake in the semi-arid Mallee region that produces perfect conditions for these salt loving species leading to some stunning colours in the warmer months of the year. It is also the largest salt lake in the state, providing over 200 square kilometers across which you can see the colour change!

Click here to see a list of more great pink lakes to visit!

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