Western Australia is home to many beguiling natural attractions, but its extraordinary pink lakes have got to be seen to be believed.
By Kris Madden
Western Australia’s bubblegum pink lakes are a sight to behold. The lakes are close to Esperance in the state’s Golden Outback region: Pink Lake, a short distance from the town, and the spectacular Lake Hillier offshore on Middle Island, part of the Recherche Archipelago.
How to get there
Visit Esperance to see Pink Lake. The Recherche Archipelago, where you will find Middle Island and its amazing Lake Hillier, can be visited on a boat tour or scenic flight. Esperance is approximately 720 kilometres (447 miles) southeast of Perth. It's an eight hour drive or a two hour flight from Perth. There are also many guided tours available from Perth.
- Visit the Pink Lake near Esperance
- See spectacular Lake Hillier from the air
- Snorkel or dive the Recherche Archipelago
Pink Lake highlights
Top things to do around the Pink Lakes
Pink Lake is around three kilometres (1.9 miles) 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 excellent views and photo opportunities, there is a lookout along Eleven Mile Beach Road, 10 minutes drive from Esperance Visitors Centre.
Lake Hillier is another incredible pink lake on Middle Island, the largest of the islands that make up the Recherche Archipelago, around 130 kilometres (70 miles) from Esperance. One of the best ways to take in the spectacle is from the air on a scenic helicopter flight. Check with Esperance Visitors Centre for available flights. Esperance Island Cruises have full-day boat cruises to Middle Island allowing you to view the lake up close. Cruises leave early in the morning and return at dusk.
Snorkel or dive the Recherche Archipelago
Consisting of more than 100 islands, the Recherche Archipelago offers top class diving and snorkelling. Esperance Diving & Fishing can arrange offshore diving or shore diving from the Esperance jetty.
The Aboriginal name for the Esperance area is Kepa Kurl, the place where the water lies down like a boomerang. There's plenty to see and do around Esperance including horse riding, walking, cycling, fishing, scuba diving, whale-watching (May to October), windsurfing, abseiling, kayaking and 4WD tours. The Esperance Museum is a must-visit with displays about local history, Aboriginal artefacts and pieces of the US Sky Lab, which fell to earth in the Esperance region in 1980.
Visit nearby national parks
Esperance is also a gateway to Cape Le Grand National Park, Stokes National Park and Cape Arid National Park. Each park has its own unique attributes but all boast beautiful coastal scenery, extraordinary native plants and animals, peaceful bushwalks and well-maintained campgrounds.
Hit the beach
Pack a picnic and follow the Great Ocean Drive Tourist Loop to a string of beautiful white-sand beaches. Swim or snorkel in the calm, clear waters of Blue Haven Beach and Twilight Cove, just a short drive from town. Or hit the surf at West Beach, Fourth Beach or Observatory Beach. Lucky Bay in Cape Le Grand National Park is one of Australia's whitest beaches, where kangaroos sunbathe on the sand.
Immerse yourself in nature
Woody Island is an island in the Recherche Archipelago and there you will find Woody Lake Nature Reserve, an official Ramsar Wetland teeming with precious bird life. Wander along one of the island walks and enjoy close encounters with curious birds and lazy lizards or take the plunge into the clear water of Shearwater Bay and explore marine life via a snorkelling trail. Woody Island Eco Tours will take you there.
Wander among wildflowers
Between June and September, the Esperance wildflower season explodes in a carpet of colour. The larger blooms includes native orchids and banksias. See coastal wildflowers dotting the granite peaks and heathlands of Cape Le Grand National Park or check out an indoor display of more than 400 wildflower species at the Esperance Wildflower Festival in September.
Stay in luxury accommodation
There are plenty of places to stay in Esperance, from serviced apartments to caravan parks by the sea. But for a touch of luxury try Esperance Island View Apartments with its stunning views of the Recherche Archipelago; or Tranquil Retreat which sits on the fringe of Woody Lake Nature Reserve.
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