Pink Lake, Western Australia

Lake Hillier, Middle Island, Esperance, WA. © Ockert le Roux

Pink Lake, Western Australia

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.

From above the lake appears a solid bubble gum pink. The lake is about 600 meters long, and is surrounded by a rim of sand and dense woodland of paperbark and eucalyptus trees. A narrow strip of sand dunes covered by vegetation separates it from the blue Southern Ocean.

No-one fully knows why the lake is pink. Scientists speculate that the colour comes from a dye created by bacteria that lives in the salt crusts.

Middle Island's pink lake dates back to the journals of explorer Matthew Flinders in 1802. Flinders had climbed Middle Island's highest peak (now known as Flinders Peak) to survey the surrounding waters when he came across the remarkable lake. Middle Island and its pink lake are located in a pristine wilderness. The only way to view this lake is from the air. You can also explore the islands and abundant wildlife of the Recherche Archipelago on a cruise from Esperance.

Pink Lake near Esperance is another pink lake set against a backdrop of some of Australia’s most stunning coastal scenery, seven kilometres from the town of Esperance.

In the right weather conditions, the lake turns a soft shade of pink due to the high concentration of algae in the water. For the best views and excellent take a walk to Pink Lake lookout.

The lake has been identified by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area (IBA) because it supports significant numbers of native and migratory birds.

There’s plenty to see and do around Esperance including horse riding, walking and cycling, fishing, scuba diving, whale-watching (May to October), windsurfing, abseiling, kayaking and 4WD drive tours.

The Esperance Museum displays material about the local history, including pioneer memorabilia, shipwreck items, pieces of the US Sky Lab, which fell to earth in the Esperance region in 1980, Aboriginal artefacts and antiques. There is an artificial reef just off the end of the town jetty which is a good spot for fishing or a stroll.

Drive from Esperance west along Twilight Beach Road past West Beach, Chapman's Point, Blue Haven Beach, Salmon Beach, Fourth Beach and Twilight Beach. Walk along the soft, white sands, granite cliffs, and watch the ocean change colour from aquamarine near the shore to a deep blue out near the islands of the Recherche Archipelago.

The sand dunes, pushed to great heights by the wind called the 'Esperance Doctor', rise more than 50 metres high. Head to Rotary Lookout for panoramic views of Esperance, Esperance Bay, Pink Lake and the islands off the coast.

Esperance is also a gateway to Cape Le Grand National Park; Stokes National Park and Cape Arid National Park.

Esperance is approximately 720 kilometres south-east of Perth on Western Australia's southern coastline. It is an eight hour drive or two hour flight from Perth.

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