Magenta veins criss-cross South Australia’s landscape, leading to spectacular pink lakes. See them yourself with this bucket list.
No, your eyes do not deceive you. And no, it's not Photoshop. South Australia is home to some of the world’s most vibrant pink lakes.
Of course, there’s a logical explanation behind nature’s strawberry milkshakes. It’s the lakes’ high salinity levels, combined with the presence of salt-loving algae and pink bacteria known as halobacteria, that turn them bright pink. The less water in the lake, the more concentrated the salt and the brighter the colour.
Set against the contrasting greens, blues and reds of the region, these pastel beauties are a photographer's dream. From the Eyre Peninsula to the outback, here are some of South Australia's most stunning pink lakes.
Lake Macdonnell, Eyre Peninsula
Mother Nature’s full palette is on show at the Eyre Peninsula’s Lake MacDonnell with a super-high salt concentration resulting in some seriously intense colours. At the end of this road lies Eyre Peninsula’s beautiful Cactus Beach: an oceanic wonderland, drawing surfers from across the world to its powerful breaks and Southern Ocean swells.
Lake MacDonnell is a 1.5 hour flight then a 45 minute drive from Adelaide.
Lake Bumbunga, Clare Valley
Less than two hours’ drive from Adelaide, Lake Bumbunga’s bubble gum shores draw an eclectic crowd from casual photographers to high-end fashion brands. Located in Lochiel, the lake is known to change colour from pink, to white, to blue, depending on the salinity of the water throughout the year. Head north-east from Lake Bumbunga and you’ll find yourself in the famed Clare Valley wine region where you can quench your thirst with colour-coordinated rosé from Mr Mick, Kilikanoon or Jim Barry.
Lake Bumbunga is a 1 hour and 40 minute drive from Adelaide.
Lake Eyre, Outback South Australia
The pale pinks, oranges and yellows of Lake Eyre epitomise Outback South Australia. Usually a giant salt pan, Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre occasionally fills with water thanks to summer rainfall further north, creating a desert oasis which can truly be appreciated when seen from the air on a scenic Wrightsair flight.
Lake Eyre is a 6 hour drive (or a 1 hour and 30 minute flight) to Roxby Downs from Adelaide.
Lake Hart, Outback South Australia
As spectacular by night as it is by day, Woomera’s Lake Hart is a must-visit while trekking across the outback on the Explorer’s Way road trip. Once one of Australia’s most prized salt deposits, Lake Hart was at the centre of a thriving industry in the 1930s. Today, it draws visitors for its isolation and natural beauty and can be spotted from the comfort of Great Southern Rail’s Indian Pacific as it snakes its way between Perth and Adelaide.
Lake Hart is a 5 hour and 30 minute drive from Adelaide.