Updated: Dec 8, 2021
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 generally don't go pink until the salt concentration is over 20%. That's over 5 times that of sea water! Spring and summer are generally the best times of year to see pink lakes 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 spectacular colours in the warmer months of the year. It is also the largest salt lake in the state, providing over 200 square kilometers for you to see this spectacular phenomenon!
Click here to see a list of more great pink lakes to visit!